Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Fun Earth Day Tips your Preschooler Can Enjoy Throughout the Year!

“It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time,” he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school.  “I can’t see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February.”  And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.

My brother, an accomplished teacher, gave me a book called ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ by Norton Juster.  The quote above is pulled from the first page.  The character Milo, doesn’t understand why he should have to learn because no one ever took the time to explain why it should be important to him.  How many of us remember sitting in math class saying “when am I ever going to use this?”

As parents and teachers, the responsibility is not only to give children the opportunity to participate and learn but to understand why we learn, why it is important and how it connects to their very own lives.  A science lesson on water for example could be a simple experiment in class OR it could be a walk down to the river to observe, experiments with the sink, bath or teeth brushing time.  It could be an art lesson, a language lesson a history lesson all tied back to the importance of clean water.

In honor of Earth Day, I pulled together some ‘why is this important to you’ facts to share with your children.  Instead of just celebrating one day a year, perhaps this will pique their interest to become good stewards of the environment everyday.

Three Fun Facts to Share with your Preschooler


  • Plastic – Encourage kids to find a re-usable water bottle they really love.  They can fill it with filtered water.  A Brita filter, for example, could replace close to 300 bottles of water.  Take your child to the super market and show them what 300 bottles looks like!  When they do use bottled water, make it their task to bring bottles to the recycle bin.  Please note: re-usable water bottles must be thoroughly washed after use and before being refilled especially during warm weather.
  • Water – Encourage children to turn off the water when they brush their teeth.  One evening, take a clean, empty milk gallon. Ask kids how much water they think is wasted when the faucet is on then do a test.  Leave the gallon under the faucet, with the water on and let them brush their teeth.  Put the water in the refrigerator and do an experiment to see how long it takes them to finish the ‘wasted’ water. 
  • Recycle – TV time!  In some studies, the energy saved recycling one aluminum can could power a TV for 3 hours.  Make a ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ chart.  For each item recycled add a little to their reading under a light time, their TV bank or other favorite activities.  For example – 1 can = 4 hours.  If your child gets 30 minutes of TV a day a can would be good for 8 days of television.  Here are a few more examples thanks to the EPA website:

1.)    Put one aluminum can in the recycling bin, and save enough energy to power your television for three hours.

2.)    Need to run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours? Recycling one glass container will do it.

3.)    Recycling one pound of #1 plastic saves enough energy to power a 13-watt CFL bulb left on continuously for a month and a half.

4.)    For each pound of paper you recycle, you save enough energy to run your insanely power-hungry Xbox360 for nearly a full day. Note the average household goes through about 7 pounds of paper a week (largely via their snail mail).

Tip for parents:  A 13w cfl gives light equivalent to a 40 – 60 w incandescent bulb and lasts 8 – 15 times as long.  A good source of info on cfl’s for those interested in more details is at the following url.

Happy Earth Day to you and your children!  Let’s celebrate our beautiful earth everyday!

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Preventing Sports Related Injury in Young Children – Dance, Baseball, Football and More

As parents of young children, one of the most difficult moments is to watch your child get injured.  To see your child suffer in pain or rehab can be unbearable.  According to the American orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) many common sports injuries are preventable AND a large portion of the responsibility falls to parents.

AOSSM began a campaign to educate Parents, Coaches and others.  The campaign is called Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention (STOP.)  “The comprehensive public outreach program focuses on the importance of sports safety-specifically relating to overuse and trauma injuries. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury reduction, but also highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. Our message underscores the problems of overuse and trauma and emphasizes the expertise of our coalition of experts.”

Parent’s let’s test your knowledge!

  1. What age children’s feet and ankles gain enough strength to begin pointe training in ballet? 
  2. What are the maximum pitches per baseball game for your child? How many rest days they should take?  What age they are developed enough to learn to throw a fastball?
  3. What common football injury can effect a child’s long term involvement in sport?

 Parent’s can find the answers to these and many other questions in the PDF documents here:  

In order to encourage healthy behavior and a lifetime of sport, take some time to educate yourself now.  Empowered with proper sports information parents can be an advocate for their child in school physical activity program, during intramural sports and with their coaches over the years.  Each child develops differently.  This blog is not intended to provide medical advice.  Please consult your child’s physician for answers specific to the development of your child.

 Answers –

1.)    According to STOP age 12 is the generally accepted lower limit to begin pointe training in Ballet.

2.)    According to STOP, 50 pitches is the maximum per game for a 7-8 year old.

3.)    According to STOP knee injuries are the most common in football.  Injuries to the ACL/PCL and menisci can effect a child’s long term involvement in sport.

Check out Hometown Health TV for additional sports injury related information and a video on safe footwear:

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Deciphering and Limiting Children’s Television – An Extra 500 Hours with your Preschooler

Like a guest that overstays their welcome, the glow of the television shines from early morning to late in the evening in many America homes.  In many ways, T.V has replaced family game time, conversation and even babysitters.  According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), children in the U.S spend approximately three hours a day watching television.  Because of the influence that programs, characters and commercials can have on children, Congress requires broadcast television stations (commercial and non-commercial) to offer “educational and informational” (EI) children’s programming.  This Congressional requirement dubbed “Children’s Television Act” was instated in 1990.  The FCC created its own rules in order to comply with the CTA mandate.  Stations must:   

  • provide parents and consumers with advance information about core programs being aired;
  • define the type of programs that qualify as core programs; and
  • Air at least three hours per week of core programs.

According to the FCC:  “Core programming” is programming specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children ages 16 and under. Core programming must be:

  • at least 30 minutes in length;
  • aired between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; and
  • A regularly scheduled weekly program.

Parent’s can identify these programs by looking for the E/I icon displayed throughout the program.  The FCC limits commercial time to 10.5 minutes per hour.

If television is a must in your household, the E/I icon can serve as an initial guide for parents. 

That said, 3 hours per day X 7 days a week X 52 weeks/per = 1092 hours per year.  Consider limiting television time, if you take away 50% or 1.5 hours per day, you are giving your children over 500 extra hours of time to create their own show, art, read, dramatic play, play dates and whatever else they enjoy. 

Need some ideas?

  • You can find recipes to make with your kids here:
  1. What’s Cooking Blog –    
  2. Kid’s Health Recipes –
  • You can find book recommendations here:
  1. Reading is Fundamental Read List for Preschoolers:
  2. American Library Association List for Preschoolers:
  • You can find some children’s craft ideas here:
  1. Martha Stewart Kids –


Enjoy every moment!

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

World Water Day – A Message and Action Steps for Preschoolers

The UN declared March 22, World Water Day starting in 1993.  The WHO has made 2005-2015 the International Decade for Action – Celebrating Water for Life.  Between the two organizations, there is plenty of reading and statistics available to parents on water.  It is important to educate ourselves so we can make decisions that positively effect water for our lifetime, our children’s and their children’s lives.  It is also important to understand the facts so we can raise our children to be good stewards of the earth in their time.

For  parents:

 For the children, it may help to ‘boil’ the information down into ‘easy to swallow’ tidbits and action items.  I have done so below.

 Basic tidbits to relate the importance of a large and clean water supply to your Preschooler:

  1. Our body is mostly made of water (70% according to the Nature Conservancy.)  We need water for energy, muscles, immune system, and our brain, even to get old or bad stuff out of bodies.
  2. Dirty water can contain garbage or illness.  It is bad for us to drink.  It is also bad for the fish, the animals and the plants that can also get sick from dirty water.  We need healthy plants, fish and animals as these are part of our ecosystem (more simply put we need to eat to survive.)

3.  We need clean water to play!  A lot of us visit the coastal areas every year (according to the EPA, 1/3 of all Americans).  Dirty water causes the beaches to close.

 Action items for Preschoolers:

  1. Understand some of the basic facts (listed above on why water is important.)
  2. Understand how much water we use and with little changes how much we can save.
    • Next time you fill a bath, explain that is how much water is fresh clean water is wasted in a week if the sink is left on when they are brushing their teeth.  For parents – the average faucet gives water at 2 gallons per minute.  Brushing teeth takes about 90 seconds, 2 times per day.
    • Have them remind you to take the car to the car wash!  According to the Nature Conservancy a car wash uses 32 gallons of water versus 500 gallons on average to wash the car at home.
  3. Take a trip to a lake, river or ocean.  Enjoy the day and the recreation.  Talk about all the living things in and around the water and what would happen if the water was dirty.
  4. Take your child to a nature center.  Even at this young age they can get involved in monitoring and clean up activities.

 We can all do our part to impact our water supply.  Beginning the conversation with children early can be a great way to encourage a sense of stewardship for our water and our environment.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Three Reasons to Buy Organic for your Preschooler

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a 501c3 organization that advocates on Capitol Hill for health-protective and subsidy-shifting policies.  There two primary goals are:

  • To protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population—children, babies, and infants in the womb—from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.
  • To replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.


According to EWG, there are a number of reasons to buy organic for your Preschoolers.  When it comes to the toxicity of pesticides children are especially at risk.  (

    1. “It is now well established that pesticides pose a risk to vital organ systems that continue to grow and mature from conception throughout infancy and childhood. Exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals during critical periods of development can have lasting adverse effects both in early development and later in life.”
    2. “The metabolism, physiology, and biochemistry of a fetus, infant or child are fundamentally different from those of adults; a young, organism is often less able to metabolize and inactivate toxic chemicals and can be much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides.”
    3. “The nervous system, brain, reproductive organs and endocrine (hormone) system can be permanently, if subtly, damaged by exposure to toxic substances in-utero or throughout early childhood that, at the same level, cause no measurable harm to adults. The developing brain and endocrine system are very sensitive, and low doses at a susceptible moment of development can cause more of an effect than high doses. It is especially important to reduce pesticide exposures of babies and young children so as to minimize these risks.”


The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration conducted over 80,000 tests for pesticides on foods between 2000 and 2007.  The EWG put together a list of 47 fruits and vegetables from worst to best in regards to pesticide load.  There is a copy of the list below or it can be accessed here:

1 (worst) Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apple 93
3 Sweet Bell Pepper 83
4 Celery 82
5 Nectarine 81
6 Strawberries 80
7 Cherries 73
8 Kale 69
9 Lettuce 67
10 Grapes – Imported 66
11 Carrot 63
12 Pear 63
13 Collard Greens 60
14 Spinach 58
15 Potato 56
16 Green Beans 53
17 Summer Squash 53
18 Pepper 51
19 Cucumber 50
20 Raspberries 46
21 Grapes – Domestic 44
22 Plum 44
23 Orange 44
24 Cauliflower 39
25 Tangerine 37
26 Mushrooms 36
27 Banana 34
28 Winter Squash 34
29 Cantaloupe 33
30 Cranberries 33
31 Honeydew Melon 30
32 Grapefruit 29
33 Sweet Potato 29
34 Tomato 29
35 Broccoli 28
36 Watermelon 26
37 Papaya 20
38 Eggplant 20
39 Cabbage 17
40 Kiwi 13
41 Sweet Peas – Frozen 10
42 Asparagus 10
43 Mango 9
44 Pineapple 7
45 Sweet Corn – Frozen 2
46 Avocado 1
47 (best) Onion 1 (lowest pesticide load)


Note: We ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

Action Steps:  To encourage healthy choices at home, keep delicious fruit, cut and ready to eat in a spot that is first to be seen and easy to reach for your preschooler!

Healthy Food Choices are Easy to Grab and Go!

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

People Should be More Like Dogs – Three Important Lessons for Kids from our Four Legged Friends

A friend of mine recently took a 10-day vacation to the Bahamas.  While she was away I watched her adorable Yorkshire Terrier named Darcy.  Every morning and every night (plus a few extra times) Darcy and I went for a walk.  During those times, I realized we humans have a lot to learn from our four-legged friends.   Dogs share the same child-like wonder with their surroundings that preschoolers experience.  Man’s best friend seems to approach the world and the creatures in it with curiosity and love.  Wouldn’t it be great to model and encourage some of these very same traits in our children?  A lifetime of love or hate, prejudice or anti-bias can all be effected by lessons learned in childhood.  Let’s look at how Darcy handled it…

Lesson One – It’s great to get out, stretch and take a walk in the community…every day!

While I was watching Darcy, I took 20+ walks I probably would not have taken.  I am a walker, however the cold and snow has kept me on the treadmill versus pounding the pavement.  Since I had Darcy, I had to walk outside and it was wonderful!  The cold air was invigorating and refreshing.  In the wee hours of the morning in NYC, there is a world of activity from seafood deliveries, to joggers, commuters to green markets.  Everyone seems to be happy before the push of the crowds set in for the day.  Darcy taught me to put aside routine and explore the world!  There is so much to see and so much to do: it’s a shame to not get out and walk everyday!

Lesson Two – Smell the world!

On our walks, Darcy and I didn’t quite hit the 15-minute mile pace of my usual walks.  We walked and stopped, walked and stopped.  Darcy likes to stop and smell the roses and the garbage and sidewalk and the walls…  She likes to look into parks, peak in a shop and check out stray objects.  So many times on walks, people are lost in thought on a familiar route or in a rush to get where they are going.  Children share more of this hyper-awareness and excitement. “What is that?”  “Why is he standing there?” and so on.  This curiosity should be encouraged!  Once again, there is so much to learn from our surroundings and from others.  Take the time to answer questions and curiosities.  Stop and smell the world with your child!

Lesson Three – You should greet everyone that comes across your path, regardless of their color, size or company.

Darcy, the Yorkshire Terrier from New York City is a lover of all!  It doesn’t matter the size, the color or the brand of the leash, Darcy greets dogs that pass by and shares her own dog version of a hand-shake (or sniff.)  She meets so many friends along the way instead of making a judgment about a fellow canine being too young or too old, to nice looking or potentially troublesome.

Parents can easily incorporate some of lesson three (anti-bias) into their own home environments by following some simple strategies from “Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves” by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards.

  • Encourage children to express their emotions and work out conflicts – Read books about feelings, play games making faces to portray emotions and give them words for their feelings.  When there are conflicts, use dolls to role play and solve problems.
  • Never allow personal attributes to be a reason for exclusion or limiting children – An example of this would be a game “just for girls.”  Ask children to think of a role so everyone can play.  Make it clear a person’s identity is never a reason to exclude.  To respect children’s choice of playmates help them learn language like ” This time, we want to play by ourselves.  We will play with you another time.”
  • Help children to try all activities – Encourage all children to play with dolls, blocks, dress-up clothes and vehicle toys although they may have a different style of play.  They will experience a rich range of materials and activities.
  • Use holiday traditions and celebrations – Celebrate holidays throughout the year, in a way that honors and explores diversity.  For example, on International Women’s Day show photos of significant women in the world that have impacted the lives of children.
  • Customize December Holidays – Read books about all the winter holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza.  Find and display materials that illustrate Santa’s or children from multiple races and discuss traditions.

Preschoolers can learn more about different shades of skin color through in ‘The Colors of Us’ by Karen Katz

The Colors of Us

There is so much to learn from being out in the world and being a part of the community.  Think what a difference we could make in the world if we spent our time focusing on what makes people special versus judging what makes us different.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries -A Real Golden Ticket Contest Willy Wonka Style

I still remember the very first time I saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  It was MAGICAL!  I pictured myself as another character in the movie and dreamed of walking into the room where everything was made of candy.  I thought to myself, I would have given the everlasting gobstopper back also.  It is still the only movie, when on tv, I just can’t pass.  I still watch it with the same wonderment and imagine myself in that room. 

Those are the reasons why I nearly fell off my chair yesterday when I learned Willy Wonka (Nestle) is holding a REAL golden ticket contest.  The tickets will be in the new Exceptionals Bar.  The prizes are amazing with the 10 Grand Prize winners getting a trip around the world for themself and 3 friends plus $12,500 in spending money.  While it’s not the Chocolate Factory, the world is an adult version of candy store with so much to offer and so much adventure (and Wangdoodles, and Hornswogglers, and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids!)

This is a great reminder to share this amazing movie with your kids someday!  It is also a terrific excuse for some family chocolate time!

Call me Veruca…but “I want a golden ticket daddy and I want it Nooooooooooooooooow!”

Happy Hunting!

“There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.”

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Proper Hydration for your Child

Have you ever wondered how much your child should be drinking on a hot day or after strenuous exercise?  Proper hydration can keep your child in the game while dehydration can lead to serious issues. 

In reading an article on Hometown Health TV ( regarding children and sports drinks, I came across some interesting facts and links.  The article discusses the book “Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports”  The author of this book Brooke de Lench is also Founder and Editor in Chief of

Hydration Facts from Home Team Advantage:

  • Make sure your child is properly hydrated before and after sports or activities.  Two out of three children are dehydrated before practice even starts.
  • Children do NOT instinctively drink fluids: it is up to you to make sure they get enough.
  • Children can become seriously ill from sharing water bottles.   Some examples of this are flu, mononucleosis or hepatitis.
  • Drinking from contaminated water from a hose or in some cases a school fountain can expose your child to high levels of lead or ground bacteria.
  • The Parent’s Healthy Hydration Guide –

Children need to drink 5 to 9 ounces every twenty minutes during exercise depending on their weight.  Brooke suggests giving younger children a water bottle with marks on the side showing how much he/she should drink each time.   Check with your doctor to find the proper hydration statistics for your child’s age and weight.

For more details on this article plus additional health related information check out

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Getting your Preschooler to Try New Foods – Free Pancakes Today!

A great way to introduce new foods and new cultures into your family meals is to use all the special ‘Days’ or  ‘Months’ on our National Calendar.  A quick google search provides some great examples.  I found out February is National Potato Month, Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month, North Carolina Sweet Potato Month and National Pancake Day. 

Use the occasion to make a little celebration! 

  • Read a book to your child about the featured food.
  • Have your child draw the food, where it comes from or how it is prepared
  • Select  a recipe with your child to dine on the honored food!
  • Discuss what it taste like.
IHOP National Pancake Day, February 23, 2010

To get you started, in celebration of National Pancake Day, IHOP is offering free shortstacks of pancakes today from 7am – 10pm.  They are asking that customers consider a donation to a local children’s hospital through Children’s Miracle Network or other local non-profits.

Bon Appetit!

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Snow Days! Five Fun Indoor Activities

Its been snowing….alot!  There was snow in 49 out of 50 states last week.  All this snow brought warnings to stay off the road, to stock up, to stay inside and for many it meant school closings.  The initial change in normal routines brings excitement.  However, there is only so long the little ones can sled, build snowmen and forts, and pelt each other with snowballs before its time to warm up with some hot chocolate.  After days on end with long periods of indoor time, cabin fever can strike both pre-schoolers and their parents.

I came across some Facebook posts of Moms discussing what to do to avoid running out of things to do indoors.  The moms: Sarah, Heather, Julie, Samantha and Sara shared some fun, surprisingly simple and ingeniously multi functional ideas for their kids.  I have listed their snow day ideas and a few of mine below.  If you have ideas of your own or activities for a snow day, please post in the comments below.

Five Fun Indoor Activities for Snow Days:

  1. Washing Money – You will need paper towels, a bar of soap, a cheese grater (must be supervised) a spoon, a bowl, a sponge and a pile of coins.  Lay some towels out to catch splashes.  First step is to make soap flakes.  Your child can use the spoon or rub the soap o the grater (watch their fingers.)  Second, fill the bowl with water, pour in the soap flakes and have your child stir it up.  Next, take a coin, put it into the water and then scrub with the sponge.  They can have a pile of dirty and clean coins.  One mom mentioned the coin cleaning kept her girls occupied for 45 minutes and they loved it!
  2. Dance Party – Clear the furniture from a large area.  Bring in an iPod or radio.  Turn it on and let the fun begin.  As a child, my best friend and I actually used to make routines and put on a show for our Moms.  Younger children may be able to make routines with simple moves or even imitating animals.
  3. Make a train or a fort – Since you have moved all the chairs, line them up and make a train.  You can have a conductor, a caboose and passengers to get on and off the train.  Talk about where you are going and what you will see.  Afterwards, tape together pieces of paper and have the children draw all the things they passed on their train trip.  You can also build a fort.  Once again, they can use their imagination about who is outside the fort, their location and who is inside the fort.  They can draw out their ideas afterwards.
  4. Shape Hunt –  Cut out shapes with construction paper.  Give the shapes, one at a time to your children.  Have them run around the house and find other objects of the same shape.  They can then come back and draw what they find.
  5. Cooking – Cooking is chemistry, art, mess making and delicious!  What better to warm the body and soul on a cold winters day than homemade cookies or cupcakes.  There are many simple recipes in which a supervised child can do the lion’s share of the work.  On the Food Network site, search cooking with kids.  There are great ideas from shredding lettuce to icing a cake.  Kids can learn about shapes while using cookie cutters or mix up ingredients by squashing them around in a plastic zip bag.

There are so many ‘T.V. Free’ ways to have a great time even when the family is cooped up from the snow. 

Bonus Idea:  If you would like to use technology, try Skpe!  You can have a video playdate with your child’s friends: share story time or a coloring session.  It’s a great way to get your child comfortable with technology while keeping it a learning/sharing experience.

© 2010  All rights reserved.