SK Showcase and Survey

It’s Friday and that means it is Simple Kids Showcase day again! 

My oldest daughter’s first favorite book was Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I can remember her sitting in her car seat on road trips, slowly turning the sturdy pages, completely engrossed in the colorful illustrations and always delighted by the beautiful butterfly who appears at the end.  Caterpillars and butterflies are still her favorite creepy crawlies.

When I saw the caterpillar clips featured at Skip To My Lou this week, I knew it would be a project she would surely love.  It is truly a simple project and calls for supplies you probably already have tucked into your art supply cabinet:

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Just some glue, crafting poms, googly eyes, and clothespins!

(I will say the white school glue might not have been the best choice.  The poms don’t seem to take to it very well.  Next time I would use more of a crafting glue.)

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When we were finished, we set them amongst some flowers and leaves so they would have something to eat.

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Such simple fun for little ones.  This would also be a great group project if you are planning an activity for a playgroup or class of younger children.

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It’s been just over three weeks since we re-launched Simple Kids, and I was wondering if you might have a minute or two this weekend to share some feedback.  My heart’s desire as the writer and editor of Simple Kids is to serve as a facilitator for a community of parents and caregivers who are seeking simplicity in the art of raising children.  I would so appreciate your insight on how I can best serve you all as Simple Kids readers and community members.

Would you mind to take a minute to answer three questions?

1. What posting frequency would best meet your needs as a reader?  2-3 times a week, 3-4 times a week, or 4-5 times a week?

2. Would you prefer that the majority of the articles and posts be more informational (posts such as Separating Yourself From Your Children’s Stuff, Frugal Fun (with a potato), and Geology Rocks) or would you prefer more advice-driven material (such as Bathtime Meditations and Be Intentional With Touch)?  Or would you prefer an even blend of the two approaches? 

3. Is the Simple Kids Showcase something you would like to continue to see on a weekly basis, or should it be a once-a-month feature, or is your desire to see what other families are creating and doing already fulfilled in other ways (crafting/photography/family blogs, magazines, etc.)?

Feel free to be as brief or elaborate as you have time to be!

Thanks so much for your helpful response. 

Our Unsung Favorite: Carry Me

I have to confess to you all that when I asked for your favorite “unsung” children’s literature suggestions, I never could have anticipated such an overwhelming response!  You all showed up with more than ninety replies and oodles of book recommendations.  What an absolute delight!

It makes me feel a bit intimidated to share a favorite from our home library, knowing there are so many reading who have a depth of insight into children’s literature that far surpasses my own.  A promise is a promise, however, so I’ll take a moment to share.

carrymeYou and your children may already be familiar with Rosemary Wells, the author and illustrator of the Max and Ruby series.  Last spring, my oldest daughter went through a prolonged phase of choosing only Max and Ruby books at each library trip.  One day, we were browsing through the books by Ms. Wells and happened upon Carry Me.  It’s not a Max and Ruby book, but it does include a bunny family, so my skeptical daughter agreed to add it to our stack.  Both of us were absolutely enchanted by this short, sweet book of simple poetry and lush illustrations.

The first poem is called “Carry Me” and tells of all the ways Little Bunny wants his mommy and daddy to include him in their days.  “Carry me up the stairs and down, Hold me while you get dressed for town” and “Carry me over to hear the bees, stuff my pockets with early peas” are some of my favorite lines from this section. 

The next short poem is called “Talk To Me” and it lyrically illustrates the many ways we as parents can include our littlest ones in the conversation all day long.  “Green apple, sour.  Red apple, sweet.  How many shoes are on my feet?”  This section was the first that my daughter and I memorized and we still recite it together from time to time.

The final section is “Sing To Me” and Wells shares the simplest and sweetest poems for each season.  Each season has its own song and shimmery, silvery illustrations to lead little imaginations to think far beyond the text of each poem.

If you get the chance to check this one out from the library or to add it to your home library, I lovingly recommend it.  It truly embodies the philosophy of Simple Kids – utterly uncomplicated and completely charming. 

As promised, one of the commenters has been selected to receive a copy of Carry Me from my girls and I.  The randomly selected commenter is Sherri of Serene Journey!  Her recommended favorite is Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman which looks to be something my younger daughter would absolutely adore.

Now, friends of Simple Kids, I have a favor to ask.  Several of you have mentioned that the books suggested on that post could prove to be such a valuable resource for our community, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were organized by recommended reading age?  I wholeheartedly agree!  As I am acutely aware of my own limitations, this is a project that would be quite an undertaking on my own.  Are there a couple of you who might volunteer to partner with me in this task?  The more who volunteer, the less time it should take for us to organize the list.  If you are interested in helping, please let me know via comment on this post or through email (simplekidsblog at gmail dot com).

Happy reading!

Be Intentional with Touch

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When my husband’s keys turn in the lock, both of my girls stop whatever they are doing and fly to the front door.  As he walks through the door, he is bombarded with kisses and nearly knocked down with hugs.  Sometimes I join the girls, and for a few seconds we indulge in a great big “family hug” right there in the entryway.  You would think it had been weeks and weeks since they had last seen their daddy and not just the few short hours since he had been home at lunch.

There has been much research done on the healing, restorative, reconnecting power of touch.  You don’t have to be a developmental expert, however, to know that children – indeed, all humans – respond so positively to a timely, safe touch from another person.  As parents and caregivers, we have the opportunity to minister to the children we love and care for with loving touches many times throughout the day. 

Many little ones like to have some snuggle time upon waking in the morning; it seems to ease the transition from dreamland to play time.  We hold hands with our children as we cross the street pull them close to soothe a hurt.  Little babies might enjoy the calming touches of infant massage at the end of a busy day of engaging in the world around them, and older children can unwind and prepare for sleep as a trusted person in their life rubs their back while they doze off to sleep.

With so many interactions throughout the day that involve touch, it is easy for us as parents and caregivers to take for granted how important and meaningful this simple act can be.  How can we be more intentional?  As with all things mindful, the key is to slow down and appreciate.

* When you take a moment for morning snuggles, reflect internally and express outwardly how much you love the child you are snuggling and express your anticipation for the day ahead.

* When that little one runs to you seeking comfort from a hurt, take a minute to appreciate the days when a kiss where it hurts and a quick hug are enough to make the world right again.  There is fast approaching a day when the tender touch of a loved one won’t ease the hurts of life quite as easily as they do now.

* When you are gently buckling a child into his car seat or you reach down to take his hand to cross a busy parking lot or city street, allow your heart to offer a thought of humble gratitude for the responsibility that has been entrusted to you. 

* When the day is winding down and you are engaging in a time of massage with your infant or you are tucking  your older child into bed, reflect on the day’s adventures through your child’s eyes.  Consider the people, places, and things she encountered that day and whisper thankful thoughts for the treasure of another day that was gifted to each of you, child and adult, to share together.

These are just a few ideas – there are so many ways to connect mindfulness to the power of touch.  Again, the key is remembering to pause in the midst activity around you to be fully engaged in the moment, even if that moment is just five seconds.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  Don’t let the moments of snuggly warm bodies fresh from rest and sticky fingers holding tight to your hand and squirmy, tickly hugs at the end of the day pass you by!

More reading on the power of touch:

Photo by Ignacio Guerra