Thursday, October 5, 2017

Invitation to Learn Spiders

 Our study of spiders began with autumn activities from The Artful Year. Using yarn and glue, we made stiff spider webs. Using pipe cleaners, puff balls, and a hot glue gun we made spiders for those webs. Then we found books, videos, and a song about spiders to help us dive a little deeper.

Surf over to Free-Learning to find the treasures we uncovered.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An apolitical guide to gun safety for families

Another mass shooting occurred. As expected, the news feeds filled with conversation about gun safety. It is a heated topic, one that is political and often gets brushed under the rug before anything really informative sees the light of day. I see rants on both sides but very little practical advice for parents who are concerned but don't know what to do.

Here is my attempt at starting a conversation about how to talk about gun safety with your children and their friends' parents.

1. Put on your apolitical hat.

Talking about firearms is about safety.
It isn't about the right to bear arms.
It isn't about past tragedies.
It is about keeping everyone safe.

2. Educate your child

Have an open and honest conversation about firearms.
Define what is a firearm. It is a tool for killing. They are used for sport or in self-defense.
Discuss what your child should do if they see a firearm:
  • Stop
  • Don't Touch
  • Run Away
  • Tell an Adult

3. Do not depend entirely on the child to keep himself or herself safe

Children are learning. They are sometimes impulsive and often ill-equipped to always make the right decision. In the case of gun safety, educating children is only a piece of the puzzle.
We also have to take on the responsibility ourselves as parents and caregivers.
But how?

4. Be the first-to-invite. 

When your child makes a friend and asks to have them over say, "Yes!" It gives you the opportunity to lead by example.
If your pint-sized guest will be dropped off then treat firearm safety as standard operating procedure. When you run through the logistics, include it:
"Thanks! My daughter/son is excited to play with your daughter/son. Where should we meet? We would be happy to have you to our home. We own ___ firearms. [They are all disassembled and locked in a safe in the garage.] We have ___ as pets. Does anyone in your family have allergies? I just made a batch of peanut butter cookies. Are there any food sensitivities I should know about?
If you would be more comfortable meeting at a playground then that would be great, too."

 5. When your child is invited to someone's house

"Thanks for inviting my kiddo over to play. Before I accept the invitation, can you tell me if you have firearms in the house?
How many? Where are they? Could you show them to me before I leave?
Awesome. Thanks! I'm glad we could talk about this openly and honestly."

If the answers make you uncomfortable, then you could politely decline the invitation to their home. But offer an alternative! Suggest meeting at a playground, the library, or some other neutral ground.

"Thank you for your honesty. I would feel more comfortable if we just met at a playground. Where does your child like to play?"


Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children.

Making safe spaces for them to explore and play freely is as important in early childhood and adolescence as it is in infancy. It includes locking medicine cabinets, keeping the kitchen safe, and, yes, guns out of reach. It also includes having open conversations about hard topics....made even harder by political and personal convictions. But just because it is hard does not mean that we don't have to do it.


Note: My family does not own guns. I wrote this to the best of my ability with my apolitical hat on. If I linked to an article that offended you then please accept my apology. This is my best effort to help us all keep our children safe.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fan Favorites - September 2017

National Book Day September 6

7 Key phrases Montessori teachers use and why we should use them, too
Montessori teachers use language that respects the child and provides consistent expectations. Words are chosen carefully to encourage children to be independent, intrinsically motivated critical thinkers.

Here are seven common phrases you’d probably hear in any Montessori classroom, and how to incorporate them into your home life.

This Dad is Obssessed with Bubbles

The Art of Saying No

"We should feel confident that our kids are self-aware and know what they want, or don’t want, in that moment — and that they know just how to say it."

Build Anything with This

The real reason why the US is falling behind in math

We are pretty much the only country on the planet that teaches math this way, where students are forced to memorize formulas and procedures. And so kids miss the more organic experience of playing with mathematical puzzles, experimenting and searching for patterns, finding delight in their own discoveries.

Watch Ludacris, a dad of 3, rap "Llama Llama Red Pajama" on Power 106 Los Angeles!

Stop Gaslighting Your Kids

Gaslighting is when you try and convince someone that their experience isn’t true. When we try and force children to keep eating after they say they are full, or convince them they aren’t hurt when they are, or tell them that what they are crying about isn’t worth crying about, we are telling them that their experiences aren’t reality. When we gaslight our children, they begin to question their own judgment. They stop listening to their intuition. They lose their sense of security and self-confidence.

Man accidentally starts Twitter war between Natural History and Science Museums

"Who would win in a staff battle between @sciencemuseum and @NHM_London, what exhibits/items would help you be victorious? #askacurator

"We have dinosaurs. No contest."


Baby Yoga

Instead of saying "Stop Crying"

Why sensory processing disorder makes everything so hard and a phrase that will make things easier
"Asking for help falls under Executive Function. A child will have to have Working Memory to recognize that they are struggling with something; he or she will have to have enough Mental Flexibility to imagine that someone else might be able to help, and then enough Self-Control to pause what they are doing, find someone how might help, and ask.

That seems like a tall order for a young child, made even taller by SPD. If their brains are not processing physical stimuli, then how can they properly assess the situation and their needs, let alone Working Memory, Mental Flexibility and Self-Control?"

How Classic Cartoons Created a Culturally Literate Generation

Even if they never learned these elements in school, they at least had some frame of reference upon which they could build their understanding of the books and music and even ideas which have impacted culture and the world we live in today.

The Difference between Free Play and Smart Play

It is called "scaffolding."

"I understand that there is a difference between the kids dragging out the blocks and building something and me saying “I bet we could build a pyramid with these!” and watching them go to town. It’s a subtle distinction. And to be perfectly honest, BOTH kinds of play are incredibly important for the kids: for learning, for social interactions, for problem solving … the list goes on."