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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

by: Geoffrey Wagner

Thanksgiving is a popular celebration that brings together family and friends in America. It reminds all involved of the struggles that Americans went through in the past. As the adults engage in various activities that obviously cut out the children, they may get bored and feel sidelined. To avoid such an occurrence, here are some thanksgiving activities for kids that keep them entertained throughout the celebrations. One such activity is creating and decorating a thanksgiving tree. This will keep them busy and make them part of the partying as well as they will feel useful.

Getting them to practice and present thanksgiving songs and poems is a great thanksgiving activity for kids. They will have fun doing popular rhymes like the five little turkeys, the pumpkin poem 1, thanksgiving traditional poem, the funny turkey, and the pumpkin poem 2. They will also enjoy the acrostic poem for turkey as well as the turkey dinner song. Other favorite thanksgiving songs include the first thanksgiving, Mr. Turkey, over the river and through the wood, as well as turkey in the straw. They can also practice various pumpkin songs using common tunes known to them.

Another worthwhile thanksgiving activity for kids is the thanksgiving crafts. Children love color and the best way to ensure that they enjoy this thanksgiving to the fullest is to provide them with painting materials. With these, they can make thanksgiving invitation cards, paint turkeys and draw pumpkins. They can also use colored letters to write the thanksgiving poems and songs they are familiar with. They can also create a scrabble board as well as the letters and have fun as they rearrange them to form words relating to the thanksgiving celebrations.

Online games are a sure way to keep them entertained when thinking of thanksgiving activities for kids. Some of the popular online games include the thanksgiving feast whereby the children bounce against a wall. This ball hits the cornucopia allowing them to pick the foods associated with the thanksgiving feast. Another game that will keep them on their toes is the Turkey Filbriks that involves matching objects. The Thanksgiving coloring fun is another favorite online game that involves coloring various pictures associated with thanksgiving. These include thanksgiving trees, turkeys, and pumpkins. Thanksgiving puzzles are in their plenty online some of them including those that require the children to spot the differences between various objects.

Humor is a favorite for all regardless of age or gender. That is why it is among the thanksgiving activities for kids. The internet is a great source for thanksgiving jokes for children that will sure keep them in high spirits throughout the celebrations. These jokes revolve around the key issues concerning thanksgiving. You can print a list of them from the internet and let the children read them out loudly in turns. They will have so much fun that you will join them and laugh as well. Examples of jokes you can incorporate include:

'What happened when the turkey got into a fight?' He got the stuffing knocked out of him!'

'What did the Turkey say before it was roasted?' 'Boy, I'm stuffed!'

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sleepless in Parentville!

Sleepless in Parentville

By Catherine L Pittman © 2009

 

 

What new parent isn’t sleepless in parentville?  You will want to try to stay awake long enough to read a few helpful tips that may get you through what may at this moment seem like a never ending time.

 

No one seems to offer a sure fire plan as to how to get your little one to sleep through the night. The first key is to know you are not alone!  Every new parent has faced sleepless nights due to infant or child issues, and feels not only sleep deprived but quite helpless.  There are plenty of books and advice on the subject.  Some recommend getting up with your baby a dozen times a night; others suggest letting them cry themselves to sleep. With contradictory advice of this nature, it is no wonder new parents are confused!

 

A survey taken by Mother & Baby magazine revealed some rather shocking statistics: mothers on average slept three and a half hours each night during their baby’s first four months. That same research unearthed that 23% of new fathers failed to wake up when their little one cried--- a whopping 76% of fathers enjoyed a full, blissful slumber. 

 

While babies need sleep to grow and develop and they acquire sleep associations along the way that can last a life time, it is just as important for their parents to feel as rested as possible too.  Perseverance is the key for parents with babies less than six weeks old because at this point in their life their little sleep patterns are quite erratic.  Here are some tips to help you and your child get a good nights rest, and establish good sleep patterns.

 

§ It’s OK to take a catnap when your little one is sleeping. In fact, new mothers should sleep whenever baby sleeps during the first four months.  This will help mom get through the hurdle of the first stage.

§ When establishing a bedtime for your baby or toddler, consistency is a key ingredient. When you find a method that works, stick to it.

§ Bedtime and naptime are not negotiable! Remember who is in charge. Like a balanced meal, sleep is just as important for your growing child.

§ The new dad can be most helpful at night by feeding, changing or soothing baby during the night. This will not only allow the new mother to receive adequate rest, but ensure that her milk is the best quality. Sharing the workload can help get both parents through this difficult time with a little more harmony (and sleep!).

§ Don’t try to limit your baby’s sleep to daytime hours, as this will not help your child sleep better at night. During the first four months, your baby will likely spend the better part of a 24 hour period sleeping.

§ Avoid letting your baby fall asleep while feeding. When a baby falls asleep while breast or bottle feeding, they will require and expect the same routine when they wake during the night.

§ At about four months you’ll begin to see a regular pattern emerge: waking at around 7 a.m., tiring at 9 a.m., sleeping until around 11 a.m.  Tiring again at around 1pm, sleeping until about 3pm., waking all bright eyed and bushy tailed until about 5pm, where it's time for a catnap of 20 or 30 minutes. Between 7 and 8pm, baby will be ready for bed.  At this stage, your baby may still awaken once or twice during the night.

§ Make bedtime a predictable routine to let your child know that bedtime is near and it’s time to begin preparing for a good night’s sleep. A good way to establish a routine bedtime is to sing or play soft lullabies to your little one as you are preparing them for bed. With toddlers, use a good night storybook while listening to soft background music as your routine.

§ Establishing an early bedtime will avoid your child becoming overtired or hyperactive in the evening. Any time between 7 and 8pm is ideal for most infants or toddlers to head to bed.

§ Your child's sleep routine as a continuous 24 hour cycle. Whatever occurs during one stage directly impacts all the other stages of the day. Don’t skip naps or allow late night bedtimes.

 

 

About the Author

Catherine resides in Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for her children's music production company, Pitter Patter Productions. The company specializes in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten, and also produces a FREE bi-monthly ezine, Parent Patter Magazine.  Parents who subscribe to the FREE ezine receive a FREE music sampler download. The sampler includes complete song samples of current and soon-to-be released albums. Our children's music is available on CD at www.pitterpatterproductions.com, and is available for download at: CD Baby, Amazon.com, and iTunes.

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 Lessons from Eddie Murphy's Daddy Day Care That Fathers Can and Should Implement

5 Lessons From Eddie Murphy's Daddy Day Care That Fathers Can And Should Implement Immediately

By Rodney Kellum

It's amazing how young children can find an older movie that you may have forgotten about, decide they like it, and play it over and over and over again.

My five year old son has done just that with Eddie Murphy's Daddy Day Care. What's really interesting is that when I first saw this movie I watched it through the eyes of a man without children. OH BUT NOT THIS TIME.

Now every time I watch this movie with my son, which is at least twice a week as of the time I am writing this. I pick up on the underlying messages of the movie which really motivate me as a Father and Entrepreneur (A.K.A. Fatherpreneur).

So I have taken the time to explain The 5 Lessons From Eddy Murphy's Daddy Day Care That Fathers Can And Should Implement Immediately.

The Falsehood Of Corporate Security

Eddie Murphy's character in this movie had a very important and time consuming career in product development. He routinely answered the call of his cell phone, and the never ending chimes of e-mail. Most men who have worked in the corporate world can relate to this.

But then IT happens (insert movie horror music). He and his very good buddy get laid off in a way that shocks Charlie (Eddie's character) and his business partner Phil. Have any of you ever experienced this? (The writer of this post raises his hand).

Charlie has to instantly accept the reality that his employer had the power to discontinue the work that he had found his identity in. And it didn't matter how much he emotionally invested. It didn't matter what his financial obligations were. And it didn't even matter that he had brought the company success in the past. So what's next?

What Really Matters

All of Charlie's time was no longer taken up by meetings, presentations, emails, and phone calls. So what does he do now? Well isn't is obvious by the title? He got back to being Daddy. He got to read to his son at night, and even fell asleep in the bed with him. (And the crowd goes AWWWWW!!)

Now since this wasn't the end of the movie, the importance of this quality time didn't really smack him in the head just yet. But it did help him shift his focus towards home.

The Joy Of Being Present

So the Daddy's Charlie and Phil decide to embark on the hilarious task of starting a Daddy Day Care. In which both of their children are attendees.

With a mixture of plenty of poop humor, costume play, sugar rushes, and sugar crashes, and of course NAP TIME. The Daddy Day Care takes shape. Now remember the scene I talked about earlier where Charlie read to and fell asleep his son. Well because of Charlie's decision to start this home based business, he and his son got a whole lot more time together.

Side Bar: This is one of those points where the movie really began to talk to my own desires as a Fatherpreneur.

Charlie went from being an absentee Father due to his career, to being a present and engaged Father because of a business decision. Which leads me to the next and highly valuable point.

True Fullfillment

Since this is a family based comedy, plenty of hilarity ensues, along with the challenges of two very inexperienced men running a daycare, while competing with the big time private academy in town.

Throughout their journey they face surprise inspections, sabotage, and Charlie even faces the very difficult choice of going back to his old job.

Side Bar: To me this represents the struggle that many men go through everyday, when they leave their home and children.

But something amazing happens when he briefly decides to go back to the corporate world and quit his innovative Daddy Day Care. As he was in the board room being prompted to give a presentation by the very man that laid him off not to long ago.

IT finally smacks him in the head. The realization that the quality time he has been able to spend with his son is so priceless, that he abruptly excused himself, and quickly went to go retrieve his son from the dreaded Academy that he had been competing against. And made the BOLD statement that Daddy Day Care was here to stay.

What You Can About Yourself From Your Children

As I watch this movie over and over again. I simultaneously watch my son. I observe what parts of the movie make him laugh, and realize I laugh at the same parts. I observe that he is drawn to this movie more than other more popular animated movies. I then realize that he already has the desire to be a Dad when he grows up, and this movie is speaking to a deep desire on the inside of him.

And guess what... So did I when I was his age. Watching my son learn and grow, highlights my own attributes that I am responsible for developing or correcting within him.

My son has such an amazingly large influence on how I go about my career, and how I have come to understand the value of time. I am so thankful that he's been tough enough to endure my days of being an absent Father because of career choices. Yet loving enough to forget about my absence at the moments I came home. (Pauses to catch breath and not cry)

I hope that this post motivates another Father to decide that those he is most important too, deserve more of his time than anything else.

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to like, comment on, and share.

God Bless

Rodney Kellum

A.K.A. The Fatherpreneur

If you are a Father that is burned out by, or have been burned by the corporate world and want to learn how to become a successful Fatherpreneur. Visit http://www.fatherpreneurship.info and enter your best email. All future information will be sent there.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Camping in Your Own Backyard

By Catherine L Pittman © 2009

The sounds of summer are in the air!  Bees buzzing merrily from flower-to-flower, crickets playing their “tiny strings,” and fireflies lighting up a dark night, for those living where fireflies can be seen.  It is also time for camping.

Some of my best memories as a kid are from camping trips in the mountains of Utah.  You have never seen so many stars as when you get to the high mountains where there are no city lights. Even today our family still makes a camping in fishing trip with the entire family and new generation in our new life in Oregon. Sometimes, though, my parents could not obtain enough time off for our favorite pastime or we simply couldn’t wait for that big annual camping trip. So my sisters and I would set-up my dad’s old canvas teepee in our own backyard and have a campout with the family dog.

Backyard camping is a great activity if your children have never been camping, particularly if you are not sure how your kids will enjoy it.  It is the perfect way to introduce camping and spend a fun night or weekend with the kids, yet still be close to home and all its amenities. 

When you hold a backyard camp night or weekend, get your children involved in setting up the little “camp.”  Have them help set-up the tent by fetching things for you, and put them in charge of gathering their sleeping bags, flashlights and anything else they need or want in their tent, such as that favorite stuffed sleeping buddy. Since most city homes cannot have an open fire pit, set up the grill and cook some hotdogs or hamburgers, baked potatoes and introduce them to real s’mores for desert. Don’t forget to put aluminum foil over the grate to keep the melting marshmallow from dripping onto the grill!

While you can just sleep on the open ground if you don’t have a tent, you and your kids will wake up wet or damp from the morning dew, and they may announce they don’t like camping because of this. So if you don’t have a tent, visit your local good will or find a used tent through Craig’s List or Ebay.  You’ll eventually want a tent if your family does any real camping. Don’t forget to leave a crack open on the tent’s window and door for good ventilation to keep the inside of the tent dry from condensation.

Safety is, of course, the biggest factor when camping, even when you are camping in your backyard. While backyard camping eliminates any concerns about wild animals, safety is still a concern. Having a fenced in yard eliminates the worry of bothering the neighbors. Including the family dog in your backyard campout helps put some of the worry for safety to rest as well. Parents of young children should always plan on sleeping in the tent with them. For older children, putting the old baby monitor or two way radios to use if you intend on letting them sleep outside without any adults is a wise idea, though you should still check on them to ensure they are alright and following any rules you laid out. A motion sensor light near gates is also a handy tool to have.

Backyard camping is also the perfect time to turn off the television, radio and video games--- make it a “no electronics allowed” experience.  Hold a sing-a-long, story time, tell family tales, play board or card games by lantern light or just sit and talk instead.  It’s a great time to tell your kids your favorite camping or fishing memories. Inside your tent you can do shadow puppets with your hands and have fun guessing what the shadow is. Our family use to play Yatzee and scrabble by lantern light when we camped in the mountains. You’ll soon find your kids have great imaginations in creating their own new stories.

Most of all, backyard camping is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your children, particularly if you just can’t get away for a real camping trip.  So have fun making memories for your kids!


About the Author
Catherine resides in Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for children's music production company, Pitter Patter Productions. The company specializes in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten. Our children's music is available on CD or download at www.pitterpatterproductions.com, and is also available for download at: CD Baby, Amazon.com, and iTunes.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Non-Singer's Guide to Sharing Music With Your Child

(c) Catherine Pittman

Ahh... the sound of music.  No, not the beloved and famous movie starring Julie Andrews, but actual music notes played from instruments or sung by voices.  I have always loved hearing and making music.  There is nothing that brightens and lifts the spirit more than the strains of a song drifting throughout our home. 

As parents, it is important to make it a point to encourage and nurture our child's exposure to the world of music. Introducing your child to music and song encourages their interaction with others, and inspires creative expression. It gives wing to their imagination, and can help in their development. But if you consider yourself a non-singer or never took piano or other instrumental lessons yourself, you may be reluctant to share the world of music with your little one. 

Not to worry!  You do not have to be a professional singer, or play an instrument to share music with your child.  Here's our guide to sharing the joy of listening and making music with your children.

  •   A parent's voice is the first musical "instrument" a child hears. One of the easiest things a parent can do from the moment you bring your newborn home is to sing lullabies.  Sing with lullaby CD's or hum to classical music.  You'll soon find that your baby has a favorite song even when they are very young.  Once your baby becomes a toddler, it's great to sing and dance with your child to silly songs, particularly action songs.
  •   You may feel silly breaking out in that "sing-song tone," but with a little tweaking of lyrics to songs you enjoy, adding some rhyme and movements, and you'll find you both enjoy the experience. For example, short song jingles, such as "may I have some milk now, please?" and "thank you oh so very much" or "David now it's time for bed" to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down." will quickly grab their attention and motivate them to do what you would like them to do!
  •   Hum to your little one with their ear against your heart. You don't need any particular tune, just snuggle up and start humming a little melody! Babies love this.
  •   Take your little one to see live music performed, such as street performers, local fairs and other events that you do not have to worry about annoying other listeners.  Open air is a better choice than an enclosed area that could bombard little ears with too many sounds.
  •   Invite your older child to sing with you to the new baby when you are pregnant and after baby is born.  This helps alleviate sibling rivalry and makes the older sibling feel an important part of the new baby's life. 
  •  Kids love making music! Make musical instruments from items found in the household.  An old coffee canister can become a drum. Plastic yogurt cups with dried beans or rice in them easily become shakers. Blowing into bottles  with different levels of water become pipes.  A comb with a handle and colored tissue paper wrapped around the comb becomes a kazoo. A paper plate with jingle bells glued on it becomes a tambourine. Tap two spoons together. Have a fun day with the kids creating your instruments or go to the local dollar store and look for inexpensive instruments, then jam along with some CD's.
  •    Listen to music CD's together--- all types of genres. Classical, reggae, folk, ragtime, jazz, opera, silly songs. Teach your children the history of the music, and tap out the rhythm of the songs together.
  •    Select a special song that just the two of you can dance to each day at a certain time. Maybe it's your "bedtime boogie" song, or a song that is played when you come home from work.
  •   Open your ears. Discover the rhythms of the sounds of life--- the swish-swish of the washing machine, the song of the birds, rivers and wind in the trees. The crickets singing in the summer and wind chimes tinkling on the patio.  Close your eyes and listen to the symphony of natural music, and talk about the sounds and rhythms you hear. Invent a song to some of the sounds. 
  •    Take a music and movement class with your infant, toddler or preschooler.
  •    Make up new words to songs.  This is a great activity when traveling in the car and you can end up with some wonderfully hilarious songs.
  •   As your child gets older, share in their interest and love of music. Ask your child about the artists they admire and listen to their work with your child. 
  •    Dance to music with your child.
  •   You have heard of family game night?  Try a family karaoke night where everyone joins in singing funny songs together.
  •   If you do involve your child in music lessons or a children's choir, attend their concerts without fail.  Have them rehearse for you at home to help them gain self-confidence.


Music is a very enriching and positive experience, no matter what your age. It transcends language barriers, encourages interaction with others, and can make a child's playtime or bedtime an enchanted time. The magic of music shared together is a rewarding experience.  It will remain a part of your child's life and the experiences will be shared with their own little ones in the symphony of life.


About the Author
Catherine is the owner, songwriter and one of the vocal artistst for PitterPatter Productions. The company has been producing it original award-winning music for children since 1992, specializing in lullabies for newborns and babies, and music for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners. All of our music albums are available on CD at our website (www.pitterpatterproductions.com). The Dream Faerie, Sleepy Time Lullabies and Topsy Toddler Time albums are also available for download by the song or album at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com & iTunes under artist Catherine Pittman.  Photo used in this post courtesy of  Jomphong.