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This is my second year as a book reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Books Day (MCCBD) and I’m happy to review the Museum Mysteries series by Steve Brezenoff. Multicultural Children’s Books Day is the much-needed initiative started by bloggers Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valerie Budayr from Jump Into A Book to bring books featuring diverse characters into the hands of children, educators, parents, caregivers and librarians across the country.  Read the rest→

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I'm so happy to share my book review of Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars, written and illustrated by Betty Reynolds (Tuttle Publishing) as a reviewer for Multicultural Children's Books Day (MCCBD). My boys and I loved reading about celebrations in faraway Japan during our holidays this past December. Beautifully illustrated, the book moves through a year of Japanese holidays and celebrations.  Read the rest→

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In my family, we’re taking a bit of a break from compiling our wish-lists for Santa and checking how we can help each other. I believe the festive season is a good time to teach kids about the joys of giving. When I started researching charities that would interest my kids, I put some thought into what would touch each one’s heart and make him a willing and happy participant. Here’s the short-list of national and international charity foundations that got my family excited to contribute:  Read the rest→

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A very common complaint amongst parents is that their kids watch too much TV. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that children in the United States watch an average of three to four hours of television a day. Unhealthy eating habits, obesity, and poor social skills are only some of the ills associated with excess TV time.  With doctors recommending no more than one hour of TV for kids over 2 (none for kids under), the question arises on how to get kids to find alternatives that can entertain them. Here are some suggestions.  Read the rest→

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Camping with Kids - 10 July 2014

Among the many pleasures of summer is the opportunity to go camping with the family. Our family recently discovered how much fun it is for kids and adults to work and play together in the outdoors with no distractions from TV and the various other electronics that seem to pervade everyday life.  I find that the key to a successful camping trip with kids is good planning and keeping things simple.  Read the rest→

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I’m always on the lookout for inspiration for the family and myself and one way is through Family Movie Night. On movie nights we all settle down with popcorn, blankets and a movie that we all agree upon, usually after much squabbling, and sometimes chosen slyly by the parents to sneak in some learning. Everyone is present, in the moment, and open to communication in a relaxed frame of mind. Here are 5 family movie suggestions, selected for their inspirational themes.  Read the rest→

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With a few months left for the summer break, it’s that time of the year when parents and kids have to figure out what type of summer camp the child will attend.  Over the past years, for many parents summer camps have become as much of a mainstay as school and in the recent past this trend seems to be catching on internationally as well. Here is a look at some trends in summer camps in the US as well as reasons and criteria to select a camp.  Read the rest→

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In a week from now, it will be April 1st or what is popularly known as April Fool's Day. My kids who have heard about this day from school and friends are quite excited and are already hatching out(in loud voices!) the kind of pranks they will play at home. But ever wondered why we celebrate this day of mischief? Here's the scoop:  Read the rest→

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Celebrate Pi Day - 2014! - 11 March 2014

March 14 (3-14) is Pi day, and also by wonderful coincidence, the birthday of Albert Einstein! The Greek letter Pi is used to represent a constant – the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter – which happens to be approximately 3.14.Its a great day to celebrate all things math and explore the concept of Pi, an irrational number with never-ending digits that never repeat in a pattern.  Read the rest→

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Every year, ESPN2 shows a live telecast of the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in the US. The kids are all under 15 years old and have not passed beyond the eighth grade. It is a high pressure event, as the kids examine origins and meanings of words not used commonly even by adults, and attempt to spell them correctly under the glare of cameras, lights and their anxious parents. What good is all this pressure? In the age of the computerized spell-check – is the Spelling Bee an outmoded concept?  Read the rest→

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February is the month of the heart in more ways than one - it is also American Heart month in the USA. We're wishing that our kids would get even half as excited about having healthy hearts as they are about Valentine's day! Here are some ways we can think of to have kids be willing participants in their own wellness, no matter where you live:  Read the rest→

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Unlike general extra-curricular activities such as music, sports, martial arts which most parents agree are important for their kids overall development, views on sending kids to academic after-school classes is split. Here we're referring to classes like Kumon, Eye Level, Mathanasium which offer training for Math and Language (Reading/Writing). There are parents who think it's necessary and beneficial to their kids whereas others believe that it's an unnecessary burden on their already overtaxed children. We met with a few parents and discussed the views on sending kids to these programs - the pros, cons and what should be kept in mind when making these decisions.  Read the rest→

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A Birthday Party for Dr Seuss - 18 February 2014

Dr Seuss will be 110 years old on March 2 this year. The National Education Association will launch "Read Across America" in his honor on March 3 and classrooms all over America will celebrate with lots of reading and related activities. My kids were fascinated that their beloved Dr Seuss is more than a 100 years old so we decided to celebrate with a birthday party playdate. I'm sharing here because this was a moment where learning was truly fun for my kids and their friends and I'm always in search of such times.  Read the rest→

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The 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi begins on February 6th and we're preparing for it in far away New Jersey (although the weather we're experiencing makes me feel we are closer to Russia than I thought)! Here are some activities we are doing to create Olympics fever at home:  Read the rest→

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Bid goodbye to year of the Snake and welcome the year of the Horse in the Chinese New Year which falls on Jan 31st 2014. The horse is adventurous and fun and can be a great tool to introduce the concept of the chinese New Year to your kids. Here are some fun facts and activities to get started:  Read the rest→

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