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

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.