iVillage PBS Kids Summer Reading Community Challenge

The iVillage PBS Kids Summer Reading Community Challenge kicks off today for another adventure filled summer!  You and your kids can sign up for the free six week program here at the website.  My kids and I participated in this program last year and really enjoyed our Summer reading together.

We’re looking forward to this Summer’s literary adventures.

[Read more…]

Wild About Insects! The Care and Keeping of Junior Entomologists

The following is a guest post by NJ Renie, originally published August 2010.  NJ is an entomologist, beekeeper, and writer. He is also my brother.  I’m happy to be sharing his wisdom on insects and young entomologists with all of you.  ~ Kara

One area of the natural world which attracts almost universal interest is that of bugs. Whether we are afraid or amazed we can’t stop wondering how our tiny neighbors work, why they do what they do, and where they go.

Bugs are literally everywhere we go and come in virtually endless varieties.

If your child is out exploring the natural world, they may find insects fascinating –really, really fascinating. You might be a little unsure how to proceed in nurturing this interest.

It’s okay, I was that kid and now I’m here to help you with the care and keeping of your junior entomologist.

The Bare Minimum

A Field Guide

The first thing that your child will probably want to know is “what is that?” For this purpose a field guide is essential. If you do nothing else, get a field guide for your household. Choose one with a lot of color plates or illustrations so that your child will be able to compare the guide with the genuine article. [Read more…]

In Tents: Recess Monkey runs away with the circus

The following post is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

Recess Monkey, one of our favorite bands here at Simple Kids, has done it againIn Tents their latest upcoming release (it’s available this Saturday June 16, 2012) does not disappoint in their attempt to create children’s music that’s enjoyable for the entire family.

In Tents

In Tents, tells the musical tale of circus life highlighting everything from outrageous acts like the “Human Cannonball,” to filling your tummy with “Popcorn” & “Lemonade” and finally enjoying the ride on some of those classic carnival attractions like the “Carousel” and the tilt-a-whirl (“Sit and Spin”).

The background tale of how the band’s “manager” Mayor Monkey (a hilariously mischievous character you’ll recognize from previous albums) trades the band’s instruments for a broken down circus.  The story that develops through these cleverly penned hits is told in the beautifully graphic liner notes.  Take time to read it to your kids, because once you know the story behind the songs it makes them all that much more enjoyable.

I think you’ll also enjoy the photographic story and getting to know the band a little better.

[Read more…]

Cooking with kids: bite-sized is better and other lessons learned

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

A few weeks ago I made a fantastic discovery:  my four year old daughter Lucy will eat just about anything, even asparagus, if it is purple.  Talk about a kitchen miracle!  Even though the asparagus cooks up green, it began as purple and so to her it was wonderful enough to happily put on her plate and into her mouth, while my husband and I watched with jaw-dropped amazement.

For this month’s Cooking with Kids feature, I wanted to share a few more lessons that I have learned in the kitchen when cooking for, and with, my children.

Lesson learned: my kids will eat just about anything in muffin form

One of the best kitchen discoveries this month came in the form of a muffin.  Much to my delight, I found out that fruits the children don’t particularly care for on their own, like rhubarb or pears, and even some veggies, such as grated carrots, they WILL eat in the form of a muffin - sweet or savory.

Eureka!  This goes right up there with my discovery of smoothies for getting healthy foods into my children.

[Read more…]

Games we play: Spot It! (and a giveaway, too)

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

Today is Friday.  At our house that means tonight is our Friday Night Nest, a time when we gather up all of the pillows in the house, make a “nest” and spend some time together as a family.

Sometimes we watch movies, sometimes we do puzzles, create crafts together, and sometimes we play games.

Games we play: Spot It!

A game that has been in our Friday Night Nest rotation for a few months now, after I was given a copy from to review, is called Spot It!

[Read more…]