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Jan 1 2010

Cornstarch Packing Peanuts – The Guilt Free Art Project for Kids

Summary: Art projects often mean just creating more junk to throw away. Not the same day of course, but eventually. Here’s something you can feel good about tossing.

Our latest cornstarch packing poeanut  creations. Going from left to right: Two legged dinosaur eating man, big six legged creature, triceritops gouging man, somehting else, and gian tarantula attacking man

Our latest cornstarch packing peanut creations. Going clockwise from left to right: Two legged dinosaur eating man, big long neck dinosaur fighting man, triceratops gouging man, small tyrannosaurus rex, and giant tarantula attacking man.

Though my partner had experimented with them while she was a preschool teacher, my first introduction the art project potential of the cornstarch packaging peanut was at The Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. They have an art room upstairs for littler kids and that day’s project was making packing peanut sculptures. Continue reading

Jan 1 2010

My Daughter Wants to Be Ripped – Helping Young Girls Develop Self Esteem and a Positive Body Image

Summary: My six-year-old daughter wants to be strong and ripped. Good for her! Hope she still thinks that way when she’s thirteen though.

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"Look at my muscle!"

A couple of weeks ago me and my daughter head over to Monterey to check out Sharks 3-D at the Imax theater. It was the 11 am showing and there were only four of us in the whole theater. Pretty sweet seating wise, but I’m a bit bored with the anthromorphised sea turtle with the British accent. He’s our “tour guide” on this adventure. They string together a bunch of nondescript scenes and try to make  a story out of it. It just doesn’t work. The photography’s decent enough, but how many times can you see the same whale shark pass slowly across the lense before you start to doze off. Plus, there’s no explanation on how this little sea turtle manages to travel thousands of miles in what appears to be one day. They tease and hint at danger throughout but nothing really happens. I was hoping for at least one “shark kills sea lion” scene but no luck. Not even a bruised dolphin. However, my daughter totally get’s into it. She’s getting in and out of her seat, bouncing around and grabbing at the 3-D projection as the sharks and jellyfish float past her face. Great fun. Continue reading

Sep 18 2008

Birthday Party Season – A Simple Guide on How to Throw a Good Children’s Birthday Party

Summary: Birthday Party Season – A Survivor’s Tale

Ah yes, Birthday party season. It generally kicks in around May and winds down around August. During the summer months we go to about one party per week and sometimes two…occasionally in the same day! After going to so many birthday parties over the last four years some common patterns emerge. The first have to do with party invite etiquette. On the child’s first birthday party it’s really about friends and family. The child has no idea what’s going on and this is generally where they get their first unrestricted taste of sugar. It’s wild to watch their eyes light up like a crack addict taking a hit. There’s no turning back at this point, so if you’re a strict “no sugar” type parent, don’t give the little one any cake. It corrupts their taste buds forever.

However, by the time their second birthday rolls around they’re starting to get a grasp of the idea of presents and special occasions. At this point your invitee list will expand a bit to include a couple of parents you see regularly during play groups or daycare. Your child may have a favorite friend or two, so make sure to invite them as well. Continue reading

Oct 27 2007

Fun Things To Do Around The House That Make Little Kids Feel Like Big Kids

Summary: Mundane adult chores are really exciting for young children because it makes them feel like bigshots.

These activities are really fun for children between the ages of 2 and 5, or even older. Plus they enhance their motor skills, cognitive skills, self esteem, and sense of personal responsibility.

1. Let Your Kid Cut Up Some Food

Young children want to do everything that adults do. Especially the things we tell them they’re not old enough for. So getting to cut up some food with a knife is a huge thrill. Pull a chair up to the counter where the cutting board is and fill it with big wedges of watermelon that are about half an inch thick. Put all the real knives away and give them a butter knife. To a young child it’s a real knife and it cuts through the watermelon easily. They’ll hack it pieces and stuff themselves silly eating the little chunks they gleefully cut off. If you don’t have watermelon, thinly sliced cheese, hotdogs and deli slices can also work. Continue reading