Being An Example: Helping Our Kids Get Organized By Modeling It For Them

I think we’d all agree that teaching our children to organize their belongings and the space around them is a valuable life skill. Unfortunately, it’s not a skill that always comes naturally for us, even as parents. As with any value or habit we want to pass on to our children, however, it’s important to not just teach our children the what, why and how of organizing but also to model it for them in our own lives.

As much as we’d like to teach them to “do as I say and not as I do,” children are much more likely to replicate the behaviors they see than the instructions we give them.

Today I’m sharing three behaviors we can model and teach our children to give them the tools they need to be organized:


For parents:

  • Make a conscious decision to declutter. While there is a wide gray area between minimalism and hoarding, being able to sort through our stuff and only keep those things that we truly need or truly love is an important part of getting organized. Even the most organized person will fall under the weight of too much stuff.
  • Clear out the storage. I’m not saying you have to get rid of all the sentimental or seasonal items you’re currently storing in your basement or attic, but it is important to ask yourself how much something really means to you if it’s hidden away in storage.

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At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Dandelion Flower Paintbrush Cards

If you want to add a little more nature and artistic flair into your child’s everyday life, try a craft project using freshly picked dandelions to serve as natural paint brushes. Even though Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day off from business as usual at home, it is still fun to work with your kids on a natural flower card project that can double as a Mother’s Day gift.

One of my favorite weed flowers, the bright yellow dandelion, shows up in the spring and lasts into summer. There is just simply nothing not to love about dandelions. They make charming flower bracelets, fanciful bouquets, and turn into soft white globes that can be blown, along with a wish, into the wind and across lawns and fields. They are magical, useful, and edible.

Dandelions also make great flower brushes for stamping and painting cards. Part of the fun of making Flower Paintbrush Cards is going on a walk outside to pick fresh flowers. The other joy (at least for kids) is the tactile thrill of twirling the flowers gently across a clean sheet of white paper to make a printed pattern.

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Congratulations to The Green Hour Book Giveaway Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered our Earth Day Green Hour book giveaway. The two winners, each of whom will be receiving a copy of Todd Christopher’s book The Green Hour:  A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier Smarter Kids, have been selected by Random.Org.

The Winners


“My little guy and I love taking daily walks, going hiking, gardening and just playing in the front and back yard.  We play with sticks, rocks, acorns, seeds and any and everything imaginable!  We love/need to play outside everyday.  We also play outside with the dog.”

Cara, The Picky Apple

“I think this book sounds amazing!  What a great giveaway!  My 2 1/2 year old can’t get enough of the outdoors!  He loves to play in the sandbox, go to the park, and just explore his surroundings.  I’m trying to get outside for a little while each and every day, which is sometimes a struggle for this homebody-mommy.  This week we discovered a new and amazing park nearby, planted a vegetable garden, and we’re going to the zoo tomorrow!”

Congratulations Alyson and Cara! I’ll be contacting you both via email.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Book Review: Truckery Rhymes

I have three reasons for my book selection this month.  One, April is National Poetry Month.  Two, Jon Scieszka is awesome.  And three, Truckery Rhymes is one of my 2-year-old son’s favorites books.

truck poems
We are big fans of Jon Scieszka’s other Trucktown picture books — Smash! Crash! and Melvin Might? — so when we found Truckery Rhymes in the library it was a MUST borrow.  And we borrowed it and borrowed it and borrowed it.  Thank goodness we finally have a brand-new copy to call our own.

Truckery Rhymes is a compilation of all your favorite nursery rhymes … with a truck-themed twist. The book jacket calls them “rowdy rhymes” and “honk-along songs” in “one big, noisy, high-octane collection.”  Each rhyme features a Trucktown friend and is more clever than the last.

Take this Trucktown rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” out for a spin and see what you think.

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Simple as That: Connect With Nature in an Hour a Day – A Green Hour Giveaway

If you could design the perfect learning environment for children, what would it be like?” asks Todd Christopher, co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s  Green Hour campaign and author of the new book The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids (Trumpeter – March 2010).

My vision of the perfect learning environment for my own kids is much like what Christopher goes on to describe:

“Certainly, it would need to be engaging – stoking the fires of fascination while at the same time extinguishing boredom.  It would invigorate not just the intellect but the whole child – mind, body, and spirit.  It would activate all of the senses and reward a child’s curiosity with discovery and wonder.  And it would instruct intimately while conveying lessons at a grand scale.”

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Such a place exists,” Christopher assures us, “and it can be found in a nearby park, on a local trail, or even in your own backyard.  The tuition is quite reasonable – even free.”

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