Music review: Lunch Money’s Spicy Kid (we got to meet the band!)

The following is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

This week, I imagine there are so many of you who are, like me, thinking about the start of school.  Either you recently have or are about to abandon your summer schedule for the routine of learning.  It’s a bittersweet time this changing of seasons.  There’s a little bit of childlike joy and carefree days that comes with the summer season.  At the same time there’s a lot of comfort and familiarity with the routine of fall and back to school days.

But today, I’m putting those thoughts aside for just a minute to relive one of my favorite memories from this past summer — a summer concert date with my five year old son (who will be starting kindergarten this week).

We spent a good part of our summer staying with grandparents in North Carolina while our family moved from California to Florida.  My two boys and I spent a lot of time “staycationing” in my childhood home city where I got to discover and rediscover so many of the fun kid things the city had to offer.

One of the places we frequented was the children’s library, where I had an awesome moment of serendipity:  Lunch Money, one of the guest bands on Recess Monkey’s recent album “In Tents” that I wanted to check out, was giving a free concert!

I couldn’t contain my excitement at the prospect of a) taking my kid to his first real concert, b) seeing my first kids concert as a kids music blogger and c) meeting the band!

I was not disappointed.

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Toy making: dyed playsilks

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Making toys for our children is a favorite hobby of my husband and I.  Over the years we”ve made quite a few of our children”s playthings and given some of our homemade toys away as gifts to other favorite young people in our lives.

It occurred to me that Toy Making might be a good fit as a regular column for Simple Kids.  Christopher and I would love to share with you tutorials for some of the toys that we make for our family. 

Some of the most played with and most versatile toys at our house are also the simplest:  playsilks.  Beautiful, open-ended, gender-neutral, and creativity nurturing, these toys are also very easy (and fun) to make yourself.

Over the weekend my ten year old daughter Jillian, four year old daughter Lucy, and I dyed up some playsilks for baby Amelia.

I took a few photos so that I could share with you how we did it in case some of you want to try your hand at dying your own playsilks, too.

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Weekend giveaway: Captain No Beard An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life

This weekend’s giveaway is from Simple Kids’ sponsor Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life.

This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you!

Written by Carol P. Roman, Captain No Beard is a fun, whimsical tale that will please the pirates in your house, be they boy or girl, young or old. We’re reading this book at our house (look for my review, coming soon) and my three big kids love it!  It has inspired lots of pirate play and imagination at our house (as well as quite a few giggles).

Captain No Beard and his pirate ship The Flying Dragon set sail for a voyage of the imagination with his fearless crew of four: First Mate Hallie, Mongo the Monkey, Linus the loudmouthed lion, and Fribbit the floppy frog. Normally a young boy named Alexander, his cousin Hallie, and three stuffed animals, once they board his bed their world is transformed into a magical vessel, sailing the seven seas on dangerous and exciting adventures!

“Roman charms with an imaginative, whimsical picture book that will entertain even the oldest pirates.” Kirkus Review

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Baking bread with children

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Last week I mentioned that our simple weekly rhythm includes a cooking and baking day.  Cooking together can happen at any time during the week, of course, but once a week I am intentional about it and set aside time specifically to bake with the children.

Our baking day is on Monday.  It is a pleasant way to start the week together and it gives us quality time in the kitchen (plus, there’s something yummy to enjoy for our labors).

Bread baking is one of our favorite things, but it isn’t a process you can speed through.  I think this makes baking bread a good tool for teaching patience.

I’ve discovered a few tips that help teach kids patience when baking and make it fun and creative for them, almost like acting out a story.  Who doesn’t love a little playtime in the kitchen?

So, let’s wash our hands, put on our aprons, and bake some bread together!

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Six tips for starting kindergarten

The following is by contributor Robin Zipporah of The Not-Ever-Still Life.

Are you and your precious baby about to embark on that journey known as formal education? Are you a little nervous? My sweet eldest starts 1st grade in two weeks, which means we’re kindergarten experts. She’s shy and anxious (and frankly I’m a little shy and anxious) and kindergarten is such a BIG change from everything that comes before it. But if we could do this, you can do this! Here’s my advice:

Practice

Envision the toughest parts: are they getting out of the car? Letting go of each other’s hands at the bus stop? Go stand on that corner of sidewalk and hold hands and let go a dozen times. Say fake-goodbyes. Role-play until you giggle.

Ask to visit your classroom. Walk the halls from the front door to class, and from class to the nearest bathroom. Take pictures when you’re there, and look at them from home. Imagine coloring at the blue table and sitting on the circle rug for morning meeting. Imagine what a school day looks like in that space.

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