Posts Tagged ‘play’

Jog-a-Thon School Fundraiser

Thursday, June 11th, 2009


About one week ago, my girls’ elementary school had their first jog-a-thon fundraiser and it was a big success! Our school raised a lot of money and because the PTA organized it without help from a fundraising organization, the school got to keep all of the money raised.

The kids seemed to have a great time as well. It was set up so each grade level had their own separate area for running. I went down and cheered on the first grade joggers, including my two girls. The older children ran for the longest period of time. Besides being a great way to donate money to the school, jog-a-thons also helps promote a healthy lifestyle.

I had the girls “train” for the event by running laps around our house & doing various exercises. One day I even set up an obstacle course in our yards, which challenged them not only physically, but cognitively as well since they had to try to remember all of the instructions (I could barely remember them myself, and I was the one who made them up!). It’s not easy to exhaust my girls (huge understatement), but I managed to do it at least for a few days.

Getting back to the topic of school, I think I’ll ask the principal if the school might consider starting a before-school running program. Most of the schools in our district that have started morning running programs, have had a lot of success. One big benefit is that the kids who run seem to be calmer and more ready to learn in the classroom.

So, whether you’re promoting jogging for a school fundraiser, a way for kids to get into better shape, or a way to help kids begin their school day, it seems as if it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Has your kid’s school done a jog-a-thon? If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

The Joy of Discovery

Monday, May 11th, 2009

This past weekend my son and I visited a science center. One of the more popular exhibits with the smaller children was a fan that faced the ceiling with a clear plastic tube sitting over the top. There was space underneath the tube to place items and then see which ones the fan would carry up through the tube and subsequently out the top and back down to the ground. There was a plethora of experimental bits and pieces lying on the carpet: scraps of paper, little strings, ribbon, Styrofoam packing peanuts, tiny paper airplanes, etc.

My son was absolutely fascinated with the fan. For about ten minutes he placed items inside the tube, jumping up and down with excitement as he watched the pieces shoot up to the ceiling, some slower than others depending on the weight. Then he discovered a small plastic tray, the kind that would hold about three pieces of chocolate candy in a box. He set the tray inside the tube and the air from the fan shot it up and out quickly. He then placed little scraps of Styrofoam inside the tray, watching the tray rise a little slower out of the tube. He finally found a happy medium by adding and removing enough of the pieces in the tray so that when he put it on the fan, the air caused the tray to levitate about midway in a mystifying way in the center of the tube.

I stood back, watching his mind work as he tested his experiments and I was reminded that as parents we sometimes need to take a “hands-off” approach. It’s difficult at times to bite our tongue and let our children experience the World at their own pace and in their own way. If I’d offered suggestions or taken the pieces and shown him myself, his course of learning wouldn’t have been the same as when I’d left him to discover it on his own. It’s our nature as parents to want to jump in and attempt to “teach the lesson” instead of letting children discover and study the cause-and-effect on their own. It’s tough watching our children struggle as they learn, but it’s necessary in teaching them independence. And isn’t that what raising children is all about, to guide them toward full independence and autonomy? I reminded myself of this again yesterday as I watched my son wriggle teeny-tiny buttons through buttonholes on his shirt. I sat quietly and watched, ready to help if asked, but not offering. He didn’t ask for my help.

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

Create a “science center” in your own home with the ideas from 365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials.

Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

710 Games and Activities for Ages 12 Months to 10 Years
by Bobbi Conner

You will never hear the words ”I’m bored” again from your children if you own this extraordinary book. It would take years for anyone to play all the games and do all the activities within its pages, so there’s the grand feeling of always having something new and marvelous to play, learn, or create. It is set up so you can begin when your child is a year old and keep going for ten years, adding more and more ways to imagine and create, run, jump, skip and exercise, be outside with nature, laugh and be silly, and share good times with others. All this instead of watching TV, surfing the Net, or playing video games that aren’t really about being connected, happy, and alive.

What a gift this book is. There are great pages with information about what children need at every stage of growing — how creative play helps children develop healthily and with joy. Each age range has sections: Solo Play, for the times you need children to play on their own; Play Ideas for Parent and Child to do together; Playing with Others, and Birthday Party and Group Play. The appendixes support family game nights and creating a well-stocked toy cupboard to be ready for fun at any time. I can’t imagine a childhood without this book now, so I am giving one to every child I know and love.

Clearance Sale at SD Outlet

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Spring Clearance Sale

There’s still time, so please join us for our

SPRING CLEARANCE SALE: Now through April 18!

Fabulous savings of 30-75% on all items in our San Diego outlet store.

Store hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

2780 Via Orange Way, Spring Valley 91978

Exit Sweetwater Springs Blvd off East I-94. Go south to Austin; turn left.
Just up the hill, turn right on Via Orange Way. Enter the gate marked JayCraft.

Click here for interactive map

We hope to see you!

From all of us at Chinaberry, Inc.

Ph: 619-670-5200
www.Chinaberry.com
www.IsabellaCatalog.com

Disneyland is Free on Your Birthday!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009
Photo: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

Photo: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

[OK now, I'm sure many of you have already heard about this Disney promotion. Just in case you haven't, read on.]

I was happily surprised (our family doesn’t watch much TV) to find out that during this year, Disneyland is letting people in free on their birthdays. Since I have twins, who will turn seven this month, I get both of them in for free! We happen to live close enough to Disneyland for a day trip. The girls are very excited since the first time I took them there, it rained most of the day.These free tickets can only be used on your exact birthday and you’ll need to bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate. I believe you can get free birthday tickets at Disney World, as well.

Get your free birthday ticket(s) here!

I also just found out that Disneyland has finished their renovation of the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride–it was closed last time we visiting. To me, Disneyland just isn’t complete unless I go on this ride. The “downside” is that I’ll have the It’s a Small World song in my head for weeks afterward. Well, it’s better than Santa Claus is Coming to Town, which one of my girls has been humming & singing since December.

Sourpuss Hats

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

When children get grouchy, it’s a powerful thing to help them gain the self-awareness that they are in a bad mood. Sometimes a touch of humor helps them learn this. When Heidi was young, she and her dear friend Emily used to play “Sourpuss Hats.” I think the game started because one day Emily’s mother had asked Emily if she had put on her sourpuss hat because she was so cranky. Emily (and then Heidi) quickly adopted this idea. They found real hats that became their official sourpuss hats, which they donned whenever being a sourpuss was warranted. With hats on their heads, they stomped around the house with dour looks on their faces, making various grumbly c omments. It was hilarious for all concerned.

But the best part was the holdover for when they really were grouchy. All we mothers had to do at this point was say, “Do you need your sourpuss hat? You’re acting mighty grouchy right now.” And the girls would giggle and somehow the grumpy mood was magically transformed. They started this when they were two or so, and still to this day, nine years later, if they are in a grouchy mood, they both break into a smile at just the mention of the words “sourpuss hat.” It’s astonishing what a little good-hearted humor can do to save the day!

Autumn in Southern California

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I just had to share this photo. We live in San Diego county and last weekend, with temperatures in the 90’s, I took my girls to a local park that has a new water play area. They had a blast, especially because some of the kids from their Girl Scout Daisy troop happened to be there as well. While we may not get the beautiful & richly colorful autumns of some of the other parts of the country, we do get the luxury & fun of water play during Thanksgiving time.