Playing with words: poetry projects for kids

The following is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let”s Explore.

Happy National Poetry Month! From rhyming lines to haiku to free verse, I love sharing poetry with my daughters. We think of poems as paintings made with words, and they are a wonderful way for kids to use their boundless imaginations.

While we love reading poetry, writing our own poems is one of our favorite ways to play and create with words. We try all different kinds of poetry forms, and for the most part, I take dictation at the computer while they compose their poetic masterpieces.

There is something satisfying about putting a few simple words together and creating an amazing poem. Have fun capturing a bit of your child”s creative thinking with two of our favorite poetry activities:

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Naturally Fun Parties for Kids: a review and a giveaway!

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

We are entering the time of year known at the Fleck house as birthday party season.  Over the next few months we”ll celebrate four birthdays in our family, as well as celebrating two holidays and a family reunion.

Normally this means I”m facing a bit of a conundrum:  how to create wonderful, fun parties for my children without giving into the consumerism, highly processed, commercial party element that seems so prevalent in kids” parties these days? If those parties could be kind to the planet and kind to my budget, even better.

In other words, the book I”m sharing with you today landed on my desk for review at just the right time!

This giveaway is now closed.

Naturally Fun Parties for Kids

Naturally Fun Parties for Kids was written by Anni Daulter with Heather Fontenot.

Anni Daulter, the author,  is a professional cook and an advocate for sustainable living.  Her previous books include Ice Pop Joy, The Organic Family Cookbook,  and Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers.  She is also the co-founder of Bamboo magazine for whole family living.

Heather Fontenot is one of the editors of and writes a beautiful blog at Shivaya Naturals.

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A day in the life

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

I thought you might be curious about what life is like at our house lately.  I know I’m interested in what life with children looks like at other people’s homes.  I loved when Tsh did this a few months ago and I’ve been meaning to share one of our days with you ever since.  I’ve actually been thinking that I should write one of these once a year, just to keep a record for the future for my family and I to look back on.

Please, keep in mind this isn’t necessarily a typical day as we are in the middle of  tax season, which at my house means long work days for my husband and a solo parenting gig for me.  I allow myself some shortcuts (hello, paper plates and no-cook meals), the housework becomes less of a priority, and the kids are given a little more screen time than usual.

It also is not normal for my children to sleep in as late as they did today, but our normal rhythm and schedule has been a bit off as I let them stay up later to see their Daddy each day. Also, just mentally insert “feed baby, change baby, rock baby” several times during the day, okay? I didn’t write it down every time that happened.

So, keeping those things in mind, today’s post is going to be a little bit different as I share with you a day in my life, specifically yesterday, April 5, 2012.

Rise and shine

Sometime around 3am, my three year old daughter wakes up from a nightmare.  She climbs into bed with my husband and I and goes back to sleep within a few minutes.  I lie awake for a bit longer and then, thankfully, drift back to sleep.

I’m awake again at 5:41 when the baby, who is eight months old, wakes up.  I nurse her back to sleep.  I can hear my husband downstairs in the kitchen getting ready for his work day.  In a few minutes, he comes upstairs and kisses me goodbye.  I lie in bed for a little bit longer before putting the baby into her crib, pulling the covers up on my three year old, and heading into the bathroom.

At 6:04 I’m dressed, my hair has been combed into a high pony tail, and I’ve washed my face.  I head down stairs, taking last night’s water and milk glasses with me as I go.  I let the dog out, load the dishwasher and run it, and make myself some coffee, grating in a little nutmeg.  Once the dog has come back inside, I feed him and then take my coffee and head back upstairs.

After a quick peek into the bedrooms of my other children, I sit down at my desk, open my Bible and spend some time in the quiet of the morning.

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Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: a collaboration of story and song from Maestro Classics

The following is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

Do you know Mike Mulligan? How about the Tortoise and the Hare or Casey at the Bat?  These classic children’s stories can now be part of your listening repertoire with the added benefit of introducing your children to classical music through a series called Maestro Classics that I recently had the opportunity to review.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

 We love to listen to stories both at home and in the car, so when we got the chance to check out “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” with its own original score to enhance the story it seemed like the perfect mix for my music and machine loving boys.

The narration is fantastic and engaging, but the music brings a deeper element to the story.  Our family really enjoyed listening to the story, but even more we enjoyed listening to the story a second time after hearing the About the Music track which gave insight about how certain sounds were created.  My (almost) 2 year old excitedly began imitating the sound of the steam (created with a scuba tank) when we learned about its origin.  It’s now his signature sound for requesting a replay.

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Mother Bear KAL check-in (and a pattern giveaway, too!)

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck. 

I“m knitting bears for the Mother Bear Project and a little while ago I asked Simple Kids readers to join in with me in knitting and crocheting bears for this charity.

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you!

If you aren”t familiar with Mother Bear, it is a charity that is dedicated to making a difference and bringing comfort to children impacted by AIDS/HIV in emerging nations by giving them a handmade bear.  The bears are knit or crocheted and then given to the children with a tag signed by the crafter who poured his or her love into the stitches.

Even if you aren”t a knitter, there are plenty of ways you can help out with The Mother Bear Project:

I would love it if those of you who knit, or crochet, would knit along with me on a Mother Bear KAL (knit-a-long).

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