Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day with your Preschooler

Have Fun with Your Little Leprechauns!, Artwork by Tamiko NicholsonSpring brings such excitement into little lives.  Once again, children can spend time outdoors and beautiful things begin to grow.  Along with Spring comes St Patrick’s Day.  This is a great opportunity to have a little fun with your kids and help them enjoy the holiday.  I heard from some of my Mom friend’s and they had great ideas.  I have added a few of my own and listed them below.

1.)  Explain the meaning of the day – Wikipedia has a great explanation (that can be abbreviated for preschoolers.)’s_Day.  You can talk about Ireland, find it on a map and discuss the culture and foods.

2.)  Leave evidence of Leprechauns – Put green food dye in the toilet bowl, green eggs for breakfast, finger prints and some chocolate gold coins for lunch, introduce some traditional Irish foods at dinner or try green mashed potatoes! (Thanks to my Mom friend’s for some great creative ideas!)

3.)  Make some St Patty’s Day CraftsDraw four-leaf clovers, talk about what your kids feel lucky about and help write it on the leaves.  Have your kids help decorate green or gold cookies.  They can even help baking.  Make a Leprechaun mask – use a paper plate, green construction paper for a hat, and orange crepe paper for the beard and eye brows (

4.)  Play some St Patty’s Day Games – On the following website I found some great ideas ( Green Clover – It’s the same as Red Rover Red Rover just say Green Clover Green Clover.  This game is played by making two lines of kids.  One line calls ‘Green Clover Green Clover send Suzy over.’  Suzy runs towards the other line and tries to break through.  If she cannot she must join the enemy team!  Have a treasure hunt!  Hide Leprechaun loot around the yard (for example chocolate gold coins.)  Have your kids find them.  You can then have then sort or count the different treats they find.  Play  Leprechaun hide and seek. Take a green hat or scarf.  The Leprechaun gets to wear it and hide.  Everyone else ‘seeks’.  Whoever finds the Leprechaun then becomes the one to hide.

Most importantly – enjoy the day and the luck of the Irish.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

The Synergy of Creative Inspiration: Preschoolers and The Glassblower

You know those adorable drawings your children make: pictures of family, houses or that one eyed creature that lives in their imagination.  Most parents hang pictures on the refrigerator and replace them as new drawings are created.  The refrigerator in many ways is the family gallery, a way to show and show-off art creations.  It has also been a way to encourage budding artists to display their talents.

The Museum of Glass ( has taken children’s art preservation a step further.  Children draw pictures at the museum of whatever they imagine.  The glass blowing team selects a piece of art work and then re-creates the image out of glass.  The re-creation is done in the glass blowing theatre so everyone can sit and watch.  The child whose art was selected gets to take home a glass replica of their creation.

There is amazing synergy between child artists and the glass blower.  Children have no boundaries or obstacles, no concept that there could be restrictions to creating a piece.  Their imaginations flow freely.  The artists, grown-up, don’t have the same boundless imaginations however they do have the professional training and amazing artistic skills.


In comments from the parents, one mother said the experience awakened a true sense of being an artist in her daughter and she has not stopped creating.  It is beyond the acknowledgement of hanging art on the fridge; it is immortalizing your child’s creation and giving them a sense of great accomplishment.

Since not everyone can get to the Museum of Glass or have their art selected, what can you do?

Here are a few ideas from simple to slightly challenging to immortalize your child’s art:

  • Laminate it!  While simple, it makes it permanent and special to a child.  Select a favorite piece of art; bring it to a Kinko’s or Staples.  For a few dollars they can laminate the piece.
  • Frame it!  Stores like Ikea and Target sell pretty, low cost frames.  Select some favorite pieces of art and frame them.  You child’s room can become their own personal Modern Museum of Art.
  • Take is a step further – bronze it!  Remember bronzed baby shoes?  Have a favorite 3-D creation bronzed.
  • Have an artist re-create it.  If you have an artist in the family or perhaps a great friend, ask them to re-make the art with their own medium.  They should follow the exact design.


Early in life, while the whole world and all its opportunities lie ahead, anything and everything can be explored and encouraged.  Art, just like music, writing and even sport can be a means to express, it can be an outlet, and can grow into a lifelong passion.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Well Rounded Wednesday – Five Questions to Assess if your Preschooler is Ready to Ski.

Here we are in the heart of a snow-filled winter season and there I am on top of a ski mountain!  Many parents love getting on to the slopes but question whether their child is ready and where they should start.  I did some research on ski mountains across the country and programs they offer for children.  Here is what I found:

A Sampling of Children’s Ski Schools Across the Country:

In Vermont, Killington the following programs are offered.  First Tracks Program for  children 2-4 combines the Friendly Penguin daycare with on-snow sessions designed to introduce children to skiing or other outdoor activities. For kids 5 – 6 there is Ministars.  It is an innovative program that teaches your children to enjoy the sport of skiing in a safe, fun and educational environment.

In Beaver Creek, Colorado, group ski lessons are available for children ages 3-6.  The service includes: a day of lessons, lift access, and a healthy kid-friendly lunch. The day starts indoors with educational pre-ski activities.

For Parents in the Tri-State area, Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania offers a number of programs including: SKIbaby: Intro to Skiing for ages 3 & under, Mommy & Me: Private lesson for 3-year-old child and guardian and SKIwee programs for ages 4 – 6

With just a quick google search I was able to locate all these options.  Ski resorts cater to families and have created exciting ways to teach your children about the joys of skiing! 

So you know where to go, how do you know if your child is ready?  In “Learning to Ski:  Is Your Child Ready?”  Sue Way suggests the following assessment:

1.)  Is he/she comfortable being dropped off in a school or pre-school type environment?

2.)  Does he/she have the strength and endurance to be physically active for up to one hour in the cold and in weather that may be wet and possibly windy and stormy?

3.)  Is he/she physically strong enough to walk around in skis and boots?

4.)  The most important factor to consider is whether your child will have fun.  Children have a lifetime to learn a sport.  If you want them to succeed, it is important that they enjoy themselves.

5.)  Will he/she wear proper clothing without a fight?

* Sue’s questions and more details can be found at

If you were able to answer the questions with a resounding YES – bundle up, wear a helmet, keep hydrated and enjoy the slopes!

Action Steps –  Check out local ski establishments for the child friendly classes.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Well Rounded Wednesday – Five Rules to Making Museums Fun

In researching schools for my Master’s degree, I was pleasantly surprised to learn there is a Master’s Degree specifically for children’s programs and education in Museums.  This week I visited the Museum of Modern Art ( in NYC and the Metropolitan Museum (  to take a look at what they have to offer for children.

Welcome to the Met.  Enter here.

Museums truly house some of the greatest treasures in the world.  Meandering through the halls of the Met (or your local favorite) could be the catalyst for discussions on everything from art to Ancient Egypt.  Did you know they actually took a temple from the banks of the Nile and rebuilt it inside the Met?!    Spending a little time exploring museums isn’t just educational, it’s an adventure!  You may find that some room or exhibit really piques your child’s interest.  A trip to the museum may just be the spark that ignites a passion for art, architecture, archeology or some other lifelong passion.

So, how can museums be incorporated into your child’s life?  Here are Five Rules to Making Museums Fun:

  1. Get a read on your child – In my family, there are those like my artist Mom, who could spend a whole trip on one floor or artist and those like my husband who wants to see the “big stuff” and then head out.  You know your child best, get a read on their patience level and interest and build your plan.  This trip is for your child.  There is no rule that says your must see every room and every floor in one trip.  Go in and just check out a particular wing.  It will keep museums fun and there will always be more to explore.
  2. Use what the Museum creates: classes and guides – Using the Met and MOMA as examples, I explored the guides and what is available for children.  When you arrive at a museum, head straight for the information desk.  There are typically free guides, made by experts to make your trip educational and fun.  For example the MOMA has a Ford Family Activity Guide – Shapes.  There are simple activities related to specific shapes that your children can find in paintings as you move through the museum.   The Met offers a Family Guide with tips for kids, things to look for and some fun activities.  They also have family audio guides.  A quick look at the museums websites will give you a list of classes and group activities for children.  The Met has storytime, sketching, films, “how did they do that” classes and more for children from 3 up.
  3. Let your child be the tour guide – Once you have made a few trips.  Your child will have his/her favorites.  Make it a play date and let the kids be the guides (with you as the GPS of course.)  This is a great way to share excitement, build confidence and a whole new exciting adventure. 
  4. Take coloring materials – If you wander into the sculpture garden at the Met you will see artists of all ages with pens, pencil and pads of paper.  They sit at tables and on the floor sketching out sculptures and works of art from all over the world.  Bring along some crayons and an art pad and join the fun.  Busy parents, this may be a great time to get off your feet and catch up on some reading or periodicals that have piled up.
  5. It doesn’t have to be a production:  Getting to a museum doesn’t have to be a big, official production.  Just as you would get ready for the grocery store or the mall…pack up and go.  As I mentioned in rule 1, nothing says you have to spend the whole day or see every masterpiece.  Baby steps… 

Bonus Rule:  Make it budget friendly.  If you find your children enjoy trips to the museum, it may pay to research family membership.  Museums offer discounted or free admission with membership.

Action Step:  If this sounds fun and do-able, get it on your calendar.  Instead of saying, “we should do that someday” pick a day within the next two months to give it a try.  Get it on your calendar and your family calendar.  Enjoy!

If you make it to a musuem, please feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

© 2010  All rights reserved.