Games and Activities for Toddlerhood (and Beyond!)

The following post is by contributor Emily Carter of The Pilot”s Wife.

I may have a degree in Early Childhood Education and years of experience in childcare and teaching, but I”m going to admit something today:  keeping young children entertained and occupied can be challenging!

My son is currently 2 1/2 and a ball of unending energy. I turn around for just a moment to fix a snack and find a trail of destruction through the house.

Adding to the frustration, popular media would have you believe that you constantly need something new and shiny every few weeks to keep up with your child”s developmental needs.

In my search for ideas, I”ve come across a few wonderful resources that will help you breathe new life into the things you already have in your home.

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Inspiring Readers in a Digital Age

The following post is by contributor Emily Carter of The Pilot’s Wife.

We live in a world that is changing constantly.  It seems I am just getting the hang of the latest technology when something newer and shinier comes along. Even my toddler has technology skills that astound me. I have trouble imagining the digital world he will live in as an adult, but I’m sure it will be incredible.

My concern, though,  is this: how do we, as parents and teachers, cultivate a deep love for reading when so many light-blinking-touch-screen-noise-making distractions call to our children more loudly than books with simple text and pictures?

Developing a Love for Books

There are some simple things you can do to encourage your children to pick up a book instead of the latest gadget.

1. Create a reading routine.

Even if only for 15 or 20 minutes, make time during your day to sit with your child and read. Bedtimes and before naps are our family’s typical routine, and my son knows instinctively to go find a few books during these times.

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Your Local CSA: 3 Reasons You Should Join

Simple Kids contributor Emily Carter is filling in today over at Simple Mom while Tsh is on maternity leave.

This spring our family decided to try something we have never done, or even heard of before. We joined a local CSA.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, that means you have a local farm that is supported by community members who purchase a “share.”  Typically, shares are picked up weekly and contain a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Why Should You Join?

We have had such a positive experience with our CSA.  Here are my top three reasons you should look into joining one in your area.

[Head over to Simple Mom to read the rest ... ]

Stress Free Flying with Infants and Toddlers

The following was written by contributor Emily Carter of The Pilot’s Wife.

Just the thought of baggage checks, long security lines, TSA regulations, and cramped airplanes has the potential to leave a person in search of a Xanax.  And that’s when you brave the airport alone, much less with babies and small children in tow.

However, flying with your family doesn’t have to be a stressful event.  As a an avid traveler and a pilot’s wife, I’ve spent a significant portion of my life traveling in airplanes, including twenty-five states and seven countries.  I traveled on a commercial airline by myself with my son when he was nine weeks old, and have continued to fly with him often in the last 19 months.

With a little bit of planning and a relaxed attitude, air travel can be a pleasant experience for everyone.

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Book Review: Bean Appetit Hip and Healthy Ways to Have Fun With Food

Some of my favorite memories as a child involve whipping up something in the kitchen with my grandmothers or mother.  And although I’m no chef, I look forward to spending quality time cooking with my son, as well.  So when I was asked to review Bean Appetit: hip and healthy ways to have fun with food by Shannon Payette Seip, Carisa Dixon, and Kelly Parthen, I was intrigued.

To be honest, many times cook books geared for children are a little cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised by Bean Appetit.

The recipes are all extremely healthy; most of them using lots of fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains.  And since we live in a small town, I especially appreciated that most of the ingredients were easy to find.

In the introduction section, the authors recommend using the Bean Appetit Flour Blend which includes whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, wheat germ, and flax meal in place of regular flour, and their Chickpea Puree instead of butter which really boosts the healthy factor.

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