What is a cloud?

The following is by contributor Catherine Way of Indirect Observations.
In my part of the world (subtropical Northern Australia) at the moment, the weather is changing from cool, sunny dry season weather to hot, sticky, rainy wet season weather.  We call this time of year the ‘build-up’  The humidity builds up making it hot and sticky.  The build-up will eventually be broken by the arrival of monsoon rains.

The build-up means that clouds have returned to our skies – everything from wispy, barely there, white streaks to tall, dramatic sculptures.  We have also had many foggy mornings – my children tell me  this is ‘the clouds touching the ground.’  We have even had the odd dark, ominous looking cloud that made us talk about the possibility of rain.

It seemed a good time to do some cloud and weather related investigations.  The variable weather of Autumn or Spring in more temperate parts of the world also brings variable weather, making this an excellent time to explore weather with your children.

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The art of travel with young children

The following post is by contributor Catherine Way of Indirect Observations and originally appeared in June of 2010.

The first time I took a big trip with my son, then two years old, I was looking forward to a break from the mundane, a chance to have some time to myself and the opportunity to have a few new adventures.  After all, that is what holidays had been about before I had children.  But that expectation nearly spoiled my holiday.

I found myself upset at my child for just being a child. I worried when he missed naps or didn’t sleep at night.  I worried about disturbing other people on the plane or in the next hotel room when he wouldn’t stop crying.  I worried when he wasn’t enjoying what were doing.  And I got upset that I didn’t have time to sit and read my book or go and see what I wanted to see.

As I got more and more stressed I realised I was ruining my holiday. I was missing my son’s excitement at new experiences and I wasn’t enjoying the time I did get to myself or the new sights and experiences.  Trying to make the holiday fit my expectations was making things harder for me.

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8 Ways to help your children respect other cultures

The following post is by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids.

What is your child’s favourite food?  One of my son’s favourite things to eat is Vegemite toast.  What sports do your children like to play or watch on TV?  My sons love to play footy in the backyard and watch the AFL (Australian Football League).  That’s right, we’re Australian.  I bet that, wherever you are in the world, what your children like is different to what my children like.  That’s because everyone is different and everywhere is different.

Children are born belonging to a particular culture, but around the world there are many ways of living and being. Technology has connected the world and we can speak to and see people in far away places within seconds. As they grow, today’s children will encounter and need to connect, communicate and work together with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Encouraging your child to approach people’s differences with a mindset of learning from one another, rather than fearing or judging one another, will help them to understand that despite the differences these are people just like them.

Gaining knowledge of different cultural practices also helps children develop their sense of identity and understand their place in their family, local community, town, country and the world community.

Here are some ways to explore different cultures, traditions, languages and families with your child: [Read more…]