Friday, October 31, 2008

Last Child in the Woods

I've pretty much taken care of babies in some arena for most of my life. I was six when my sister was born and didn't really stop after that. In that time I noticed that an infant will (99% of the time) calm down when brought outside and that really fascinated me. As a kid we were forced to play outside all of the time. "Be home by the time the street light comes on.", was a rule that everyone in my house was well aware of, and my sister and I were seldom home before then. My 16 month old loves to play outside and if I let him choose outside or inside he will always choose out (he'll even bring me his shoes if it means he gets to go out).

But, a scary thing is happening in America today. Unlike most of our childhoods, children today spend most of their time indoors and it is effecting them in big ways. As a science teacher I found it sometimes hard to get kids to connect with their surroundings. I taught in South Knoxville and I'll never forget the first time I brought a group of kids to the Smokies for a field trip. Some of them had never been! It absolutely shocked me that they had a National Park as their back yard and they had never been there.

I believe this book is a must read for anyone who interacts with children. It reminds us of where we came from (the "go out and play" generations) and how are children are being raised (hours of TV, computers, video games everyday). The book makes a case for how important it is for our children to be aware of, and be taught to enjoy, nature and the outdoors. Research shows that, "thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies." The author Richard Louv "directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression."

One of the reasons I absolutely love this book is because is not only does Louv do a good job at describing the problem and the symptoms of nature-deficit, he also gives parents and teachers tangible actions we can take to increase our children's appreciation of nature. The action points that he lays down in this book are part of the reason I am reccomending it as a "must have" to all parents.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boon Bath Toy Set

This is really the only set of bath toys you'll ever need. It includes 3 balls, 2 scrubies, and 10 foam pieces that are all different shapes and colors. Ethan loves "sticking" the shapes to the wall of the bath tub. He especially loves the balls that came with this set. The set is only 14.99 and it contains 15 separate pieces. The scrubies also make a really nice lather for washing up. He does have other bath toys, but I think this set is the best bang for your buck. It also makes a great baby shower gift as a bath time starter set!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Priddy Books!

My favorite part of Priddy books is that they contain mostly pictures of real objects. Ethan loves these books. The "Baby Things That Go" showed here on the far right is one of his favorites right now. When ever he sees this book he says, "rrmmmm." He will bring it to me to read and then bring it to Philip to read again. My engine noises aren't as good as Philip's but they are getting better! I mean how many times in a grown woman's life do you have make the sound of a helicoptor or a space shuttle? What sound does a space shuttle even make?

He also loves "My big animal book". We practice all the sounds of different animals when we read it. Animal sounds are great too. I never had to think about what sound a tiger, lion, or giraffe made. The big cats are easy but I'm still not sure about the giraffe.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Baby Bug Magazine

After hearing a librarian speak at one of our MOPS meetings Ethan "asked" for this magazine subscription for his birthday. We really like it. Each issue contains a story about Kim and carrots (a girl and her stuffed bunny) and many other poems and short stories. What is so cool is that some poems are old nursery rhymes (humpty dumpty) while others are new poems I've never heard before.

One of the points that the librarian made was that we should try to expose our kids to all types of written media, not just books. Baby Bug is one way to expose kids to magazines. It is appropriate for 6 months - 3 years of age. The publisher Cricket also publishes other magazines for older kids.

Wild Animal Baby is a magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation that is appropriate for ages 0-4 years. It covers a variety of animals in each issue. They also publish magazines for all ages. They also have just begun publishing an activity magazine that looks cool. We don't yet have a subscription for Wild Animal Baby but we did receive a few sample issues.


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