Archive for the ‘TODDLER’ Category

Rethinking Gifted Education

January 12, 2012

Ever feel like you’re at the front of a revolution, watching it unfold and hopeful that more people will join in because they realize the benefit of that change? A recent article in Psychological ScienceRethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education: A Proposed Direction Forward Based on Psychological Science,” is more proof that education has reached its tipping point and change is imminent.

Be sure to check out the article by Rena F. Subotnik, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Frank C. Worrell. And if you are in the New York City area, don’t miss a rare opportunity to join P.A.L. [Parents of Accelerated Learners] and The Speyer Legacy School for a Conversation with Dr. Rena Subotnik on Shifting from the Best of Gifted Education to Talent Development: Implications for Identification, Education, and Psychological Support Inside and Outside of School

Her talk is the first session in the Spring 2012 P.A.L. Workshop Series in New York City. This Spring 2012, P.A.L. [Parents of Advanced Learners] Workshop Series returns with a new blog, a listserv for parents to connect with one another and discuss resources for advanced learners, and our P.A.L. Workshops Speaker Series for Parents, with more locations to hear great speakers. January includes a Conversation with Gifted Education Expert Rena Subotnik on Shifting from the Best of Gifted Education to Talent DevelopmentSupporting Early Giftedness Through Play in February is for parents who have noticed advanced abilities in their young children and want concrete activities and games to support and encourage their strengths.  Special Topics in Gifted Education, in April and May will appeal to parents of elementary and middle schoolers; and a great Spring wrap-up with Preventing Summer Slide: Engaging Math, Reading, Science and other Activities to Prevent Summer Learning Loss will help keep your kiddo on track through the school break.

See the P.A.L. Blog for more details, http://palworkshops.wordpress.com

Registration is open, but space is limited, so sign-up soon for Spring 2012 PAL Workshops.

 

 

JTB Holiday Pop-Up Event Calendar

November 30, 2011

Join us at the Jade’s ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up now through December 28 for these great holiday events for young kids & families:

everyday, anytime…
Santa Letter Writing. From paper and stickers to stamps and stencils, we provide all the eco-friendly materials so kids can create their letters for Santa and mail it to the North Pole.
The ‘Not A Box’ Contest. A childhood idea of transforming a brown box into a TV set was the impetus for the JTB product box and the installation at the JTB Pop-Up Store. Show us your ingenuity. Transform a simple brown box into the invention of your choice, explain it and enter to win a $150 Jade’s ToyBox gift card.
Holiday StoryTime, By Kids, For Kids.
Bring the kiddos in for holiday story time and hear special guest kid ‘authors’ share an excerpt of their favorite prose too. Check JTB Blog for Schedule and Sign-Up.
saturday dec 3
Holiday Craft Workshop. 2 p.m. Using recycled and found objects, we’ll transform simple items into beautiful holiday gifts for family and friends with a little help from our in-store staff and visitng artists.

sunday dec 4
Organic Gingerbread Cookie Workshop with ButterBeans. 11:30 a.m.

Join ButterBeans for homemade organic gingerbread cookie decorating and hot cocoa fun!

tuesday dec 6
The P.A.L. Workshops @ Jade’s ToyBox presents Supporting Early Giftedness Through Play: A Hands-On, Play-Based Workshop for Parents.  Just in time for the holidays, this play-based session will help parents support their child’s strengths, with games and strategies to help toddlers and preschoolers develop a love for learning, and get ready for kindergarten.6:30 p.m. $Register @ palworkshops.eventbrite.com

saturday dec 10
Holiday Cookie Swap with MiniMunchers. 2 p.m.
Join MiniMunchers for an organic twist on cookie making! They’ll teach the kiddos how to make healthy, yummy homemade cookies for a holiday cookie swap.

sunday dec 11
Organic Gingerbread Cookie Workshop with ButterBeans. 11:30 a.m.

Join ButterBeans for homemade organic gingerbread cookie decorating and hot cocoa fun!
The Sock Monkey Workshop. 2 p.m.
Bring in your non-stinky, recycled socks and let’s put them to good re-use as a great holiday gift. We will have classic sock-monkey socks for sale on-site too.

saturday dec 17
Holiday Craft: Musical Instrument Workshop. 2 p.m. Using recycled and found objects, we’ll transform simple items into awesome musical instruments that make great holiday gifts for family and friends.

sunday dec 18
Holiday StoryTime, By Kids, For Kids. 2 p.m. Bring your kiddos in for holiday story time and hear special guest kid ‘authors’ share an excerpt of their favorite prose too.

and more…
Holiday Dining Classes with socialsklz:). Check dates and Register @ the JTB Pop-Up
Studiotime with Hudson Soundlab. Sign-Up fast to record your original music, poem or book reading. Makes great gifts for family & friends. By appointment. Several packages are available until Dec 12.

Sign-Up at the JTB Holiday Pop-Up Store or call 212.343.8881 to guarantee a spot for our great line-up of holiday fun.
Location: 124 Hudson Street, between N. Moore & Ericsson Place in Tribeca
Hours: Monday and Friday from 9 am-7pm, Tuesday through Wednesday and Saturdays from 11 am -7 pm, and Sundays from 11 am-5 pm.

A New School Year, A Fresh Start?

September 13, 2011

Summer ‘s over, school is back, and it’s the perfect time to nip the bad habits, arguing, nagging, manipulation and spousal arguments over the kids in the bud. Brush up your positive discipline techniques with some advice from the experts. Check out best-selling author and parent educator Nancy Samalin’s Loving Your Child Is Not Enough; Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma; Loving Each One Best, and Loving Without Spoiling, where she addresses key parenting issues including teaching responsibility, setting limits, diminishing conflict, handling sibling rivalry and encouraging cooperation.

And if you’re in New York City, come see Nancy Samalin in person at the P.A.L. Workshop Series for parents of accelerated learners on September 20, 2011. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. (more…)

It’s Here…

December 1, 2010

And don’t miss our Holiday workshops and events for kids throughout the month of December, including:

4:00 pm EVERY WEDNESDAY in DECEMBER-
Holiday Craft Events for the kiddos throughout December

2:00 pm SATURDAYS
Storytime for Charity,
Check out a slew of great authors at our Storytime for Charity every Saturday at 2 pm in December. Following the reading will be special Holiday Activities for children ages 2-6, with parent involvement. FREE

2:00 pm SUNDAYS
Santa Letter Writing Workshop,
A story is followed by a letter writing workshop for Santa Claus. We’ll help kids create their letters for Santa and we’ll even help mail it to the North Pole. Stickers, letter fun and writing helpers will be on-hand. Don’t forget to tell Santa Claus what you want for Christmas, like a greener planet, cleaner oceans and healthier toys! FREE

DECEMBER 1 at  4 pm-
JTB kicks off our Holiday Craft Wednesdays with a special gift for all attendees.

DECEMBER 3- Santa arrives! Free Portraits from 3-6 pm

DECEMBER 4-5- Santa is here! Free Portraits  11:30- 2:30 pm

DECEMBER 4- at 2 pm, Storytime for Charity with Ole Saint Nick, himself.
We will have a special guest reader, Santa Claus himself. And with a $20 suggested donation, you can sponsor the story. Just bring in your child’s favorite book or let us choose the story and use your child’s name as the character of the book, as Santa presents Storytime for Charity on December 4 at 2 pm. Call ahead to sponsor, or come and hear him for free! FREE

DECEMBER 4- at 3 pm- Holiday Dining Classes for Kids with socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern world. FREE

For kids 4 and up, prepare for the holiday season’s frenzy of fancy dinners 
and festivities during a 25 minute session covering how to set 
the table properly, how to eat and use utensils, mealtime 
manners and more.  NYC based socialsklz:-) offers interactive workshops for children and young adults featuring social interaction and communication skills, or what was once known as manners and etiquette! RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

DECEMBER 6- drop-in from 11 am- 2pm. The Photo Project Workshop $45/hr

Have your baby and kiddo photos runneth over? If you are like me, with four years of pictures and memorabilia in boxes, now is the time to get it together. This ain’t no scrapping workshop! A former magazine picture editor will work with you to edit the best images and discuss ways to organize into traditional albums, digital photo books, 3-dimensional shadow boxes, framed art objects or other unique storage ideas. RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

December 8, 4-5 pm- Holiday Cookie Decorating Workshop with Taste Buds & MiniMunchers FREE

Join Taste Buds and MiniMunchers for Gingerbread Cookie Decorating! We’ll have yummy Gingerbread Cookies, Icing and Sprinkles to help you celebrate the Holidays in style. RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

DECEMBER 11- at 3 pm- Holiday Dining Classes for Kids with socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern world. FREE

For kids 4 and up, prepare for the holiday season’s frenzy of fancy dinners 
and festivities during a 25 minute session covering how to set 
the table properly, how to eat and use utensils, mealtime 
manners and more.  NYC based socialsklz:-) offers interactive workshops for children and young adults featuring social interaction and communication skills, or what was once known as manners and etiquette! RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

DECEMBER 12- at 12-3 pm- Care for the Critters Workshop FREE

Parents and kids can drop in anytime between 1 and 3 pm to learn about different breeds of animals, their temperaments and what to look for in the right pet for your child. The Animal Haven Mobile Adoption van will be on-site for pet adoptions, and those less inclined for the real deal, can always adopt an OOMFY, one of our endangered species, of the plush variety! Lots of fun free activities learning fun for kids 2-6 years, including a perfect pet checklist, an adoption certificate and animal activity handouts.

DECEMBER 15- at 4 pm- Alfabeticos Workshop FREE

The Bilingual Arts sampler for kids ages 1-5  incorporates music, art and storytelling aimed to develop social skills, cognitive and fine-gross-motor skills and Spanish vocabulary.

DECEMBER 17-19- by appointment- A Rare Opportunity for your Child to be Photographed with the 20×24 Polaroid Camera – One of only a handful of such cameras in the world, the 20″ x 24″ Polaroid camera produces large format instant photos and will be available for a fee, $1500 for 3 prints. (that’s $1000 off normal pricing!)  RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com


DECEMBER 18- at 2:30 pm- A Surprise Musical Concert by our Emmy nominated favorite band FREE

DECEMBER 19- at 2:30 pm- Holiday Craft Workshop with NatureBag.

Create a one-of-a-kind gift inspired by nature with NatureBag and NatureRocks. For kids 3-6+. RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

DECEMBER 22- at 3 pmThe Last Minute “I-Forgotta-Gift-for-Blah-Blah” Holiday Workshop FREE
Forgot to make a gift for gramps or your nanny? No worries. We’ve got a great last minute holiday craft activity guaranteed to put a smile on, well, Blah, Blah. Perfect for kiddos ages 2-6.

DECEMBER 22- at 4 pm- Architecture Workshop for your lil Green Builder with brinca dada.

Your kid love to create, construct and build structures? Be sure to join us for our free architecture introduction for kids ages 5-9 by brinca dada,  and see how the Emerson Dollhouse was created. RSVP to angelique@jadestoybox.com

Other Fun By Appointment:

And All That Jazz!: Sign-up for a unique one-on-one recording experience, with studio time at Hudson Soundlab. Kids and adults can perform original music, or read from their own or favorite story, with back-up from Emmy-nominated musicians, Robby LeDoux and JZ Barrell Call Jade’s ToyBox for more details @ 212.343.8881.

The Kitty Cat Curriculum: Transitioning from Picture to Chapter Books

August 16, 2010

My 4-year-old daughter loves books so much that I can merely threaten to dock a book at bedtime and I’ve done something worse than “1-2-3ing” her. Feeding a child’s hunger for books and reading is easy at first, but once the picture book genre starts to lose its challenge, finding age-appropriate content in chapter book form is not so easy. Bridging the gap from gorgeously illustrated stories to sparsely illustrated black and white pages is a task that not even I am up for now that I’ve become immersed in the picture book format, but it’s transition time.

Frankly I’d like to see a defined genre of books that perfectly combines both formats into one. Actually, there are some out there, but I want more! In the meantime, starting with your child’s favorite topic: cats, dinosaurs, princesses, etc., use the picture book as a springboard for diving into deeper content-related reading materials that provide an opportunity for transformation, while maintaining continuity and a continued love of reading.

The following list is an example of what can be achieved when you branch out a bit, but stay consistent with the topic or theme your child loves. It is meant as a guide for parents, teachers, caregivers or grandparents of 4-6 year-old early readers, and includes a collection of simple picture books, fiction and non-fiction books, biography, chapter-based and reference-style books. The format and relevant themes of the book are noted as well, as is an author website if current.

And if your child loves animals, it’s a great reading list for the transition from picture to chapter book.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell. 2005. Hachette.
author website: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/patrickmcdonnell/questions-and-answers.html

In my book, this is one of the best children’s stories of all time. A story of friendship and love between an unlikely couple, a cat named Mooch and his best dog friend Earl. Simple illustrations and text make this story by Patrick McDonnell, author of the Mutts comic strip, a classic. Mooch treks all over to find the perfect gift for his friend, and what he finds is the best present of all. (Picture Book; friendship, giving)

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. 2004. Harper Collins Publishers. New York. NY
author website: http://www.kevinhenkes.com

A simply illustrated picture book about a little kitten who mistakes the full moon for milk…  “still there was a little bowl of milk, just waiting.” A story of persistence, Kitten’s First Full Moon epitomizes my daughter’s favorite- and only quote, “Mommy, if you don’t get it the first time, keep trying.” The book is a 2005 Caldecott Medal winner by Kevin Henkes, author of Chrysanthemum and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse(Picture Book; persistence)

My Cat Copies Me by Yoon-Duck Kwon. 2005. Kane Miller Book Publishers.

A colorfully illustrated picture book about a young girl whose cat copies her every move. A visual depiction of the closeness of a child and her pet, through the eyes of a Korean illustrator who gives us glipses of her culture as the story unfolds. “When I get scared, I hide under my blanket, and my cat hides with me. She snuggles in, and purrs. My friend, my cat, copies me. But from now on, I will copy my cat.” And she becomes adventurous, following the cues of her feline friend. (Picture Book; Korean culture, pet ownership, overcoming shyness & fears)

Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley. 1992. Marsh Media. Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

Piccolo the Venetian stray alley cat is all about adventures, but when he finds two baby kittens who are without their mother, he considers being their parent. Breaking from traditional stereotypes of mothers and women as nurturers, the author challenges the idea that only mommies are capable of being great caregivers. Through Piccolo’s journey of self-discovery, the illustrator takes us on a beautiful tour of Venice, Italy.  (Picture Book; gender roles, same sex couple-related issues, stray cat populations, travel/Italy)

• Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein. 2008. Little, Brown and Company. New York, New York.
author interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca2Ly4Vpb5Y

A little cat named Wabi Sabi is determined to discover the meaning of her name. Along the way, WOW! Vertically oriented illustrative collages and the writer’s  combination of words are mixed with haiku, Japanese characters with more than one “lesson” at the end. An unexpected treat, and a great way to explore Japanese haiku, a short traditional Japanese poem in which meaning is usually expressed through details of the senses and of nature, with a seasonal reference and a transition of some kind. Its form takes writing the first line of five syllables, a second of seven, and a third of five again, as in: Meigetsu ya ike o megurite yo mo sugara: “the full moon—going around the pond, all night long. (Picture Book,  language arts, poetry, haiku, Chinese and Japanese culture)

Comet’s Nine Lives by Jan Brett. 1996. The Putnam & Grosset Group. New York. New York.
author website: http://www.janbrett.com

A cat with nine lives?  ‘Splain that to little Ricky… but Comet the cat of Nantucket Island goes through eight of his lives pretty quickly, with a ghost-like image that fades with every new feat gone bad in this beautifully illustrated picture book. It’s an odd conversation starter about death, but a great way to explore the issues of stray cat populations, pet ownership and myths—just don’t have your kid explore the myth online without vetting sources first. It’s a mixed bag! (Picture Book, fitting in, death, 9-lives myth, travel, adventure/Nantucket)

Big Cat, Small Cat by Amy Rubinger. 2008. Abbeville Publishing Group. New York. NY.

“This cat is down low, this cat is up high… this cat is wet, this cat is … “ Your child will delight in knowing the rhyming endings of each page. Opposites and simple, cute kitty cat illustrations abound. Just a fun little book in the spirit of Dr. Seuss. (Picture Book, language arts/opposites & rhyming)

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel. 2005. Roaring Brook Press. New York, NY.
author interview: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/media.jsp?id=672

For the verbally voracious… an ABC picture book with a twist on fruits and veggies, animals and opposite concepts. “She Ate my homework, Bit grandma, Clawed the curtains, and more.” You’re in for a ride – four times- around the alphabet with each time focused on a different topic kids will enjoy. (Picture Book, language arts/ABC style book with food, verbs and animals)

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. 1960. Barnes & Noble Publishing with Harper Collins. New York, NY.

Pickles the cat is a troublemaker with some behavioral issues, until he discovers his passion in life: being a fire cat. “Pickles is a cat who wishes to do big things. And someday he will do them.” With that little encouragement and faith from his friend Mrs. Goodkind, Pickles finds his way in life in this simply illustrated beginner chapter book. (Picture/Chapter Book; careers, strengths, personality)

The Case of the Cat’s Meow by Crosby Bonsall. 1965. Harper Collins. New York, NY.

If the little rascals formed a private detective agency and had a whiny little brother with a pregnant cat, that would be this book. A cute story of sleuthing and mystery, that touches on my childhood dream of being a private “eye.” If you can get past the “Tubby” and “Skinny” stereotypical nicknames and a few examples of name calling, it’s redeeming quality is the message of friendship in the end (Picture/Chapter Book; careers, responsibility, friendships)

Three Stories You Can Read to your Cat by Sara Swan Miller. 1999. Sandpiper.

Three-stories–in-one with a unique perspective: a read aloud from child to cat. “Would you like to sit on my lap? One day YOU woke up early, you were ready for fun.” An enjoyable set of stories to encourage young kids to read aloud to their pet (or a stuffed animal), and it’s filled with illustrations that keep kids engaged. I’m already envisioning learning extensions–a first person diaristic account of your cat’s day based closely on the book- with journal entries or drawings or a performance about things your cat thinks about. (Picture/Chapter Book; pet perspectives)

The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Andy Griffiths. 2006. Holtzbrinck Publishers.
author website: http://andygriffiths.com.au/about

The crook who wrote this book stole it off my nook. Not really, but I should have written this book. Literally the night before I found it, my daughter and I were playing a bedtime game of turning three rhyming phrases into a sentence, and viola! I kid you not, this book appeared. A great easy read for your avid young reader. (Picture/Chapter Book; language arts, rhyming words)

• Raining Cats and Dogs: A Collection of Irresistible Idioms and Illustrations to Tickle the Funny Bone by Will Moses. 2008. Philomel.

While I would have preferred larger full-page illustrations of each idiom, the idea of this book is great. The illustrated idioms for children are a good example for extending the activity into a classroom setting, but the book needed more background and detail about idioms as a part of speech and in connection to their origin. Nonetheless, a cute visual reference for introducing a young child to idioms. (Picture book; language arts, English-language idioms)

The Kitten’s Tale by Darrel & Sally Odgers. 2010. Kane Miller, EDC Publishing. Tulsa, OK.

A fictional chapter book, with few illustrations, about a homeless kitten who hangs out at a vet clinic, and her dog friend’s determination to help her get over her fears and find a home. (Chapter Book, friendships, fears, careers/vet)

• Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel. 2008. Square Fish, McMillan Books. New  York, NY.

Somewhere between a graphic novel, picture book and chapter book, this heavily illustrated chapter book is a great foray into the world of chapter books. The glossary at the back is also a great way to introduce kids to vocabulary without the trek to the dictionary. For a cat lover, it offers truthful and sound advice for bathing your kitty cat. So much in fact, that I was encouraged to follow the books methodology and bathe our cat after reading it. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath also includes a Q&A with the author at the end. I wish more books had the elements of this great little gem for animal lovers. (Picture/Chapter Book; pet ownership; humor)

• Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel. 2009. Square Fish, McMillan Books. New  York, NY.

A combination of graphic novel, picture book and chapter book, this heavily illustrated chapter book is the follow-up to Bad Kitty Takes a Bath (see above), with a similar format. The glossary is substituted with an equally useful appendix that details the brief history of the different cat breeds mentioned in the book. (Picture/Chapter Book; pet ownership; cat breeds, humor)

Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog by Cynthia Rylant. 1994. Harcourt Children’s Books.
author interview: http://www.harcourtbooks.com/authorinterviews/bookinterview_rylant.asp

We stumbled upon the Mr. Putter and Tabby series while at the library recently, and what a find. These heavily illustrated chapter books are separated into simple chapters: The Lollypup, The Nightmare and The Dream Dog, for example. An easy read for an early reader, with humor, friendships, examples of figurative language  and engaging stories for anytime. (Picture/Chapter Book; series, humor, language arts- figurative language, relationships )

• All About My Cat by Philipp Keel. 2003. Broadway. New York, NY.

Let your child be the biographer with kitty cat checklists and fill-in-the-blanks for describing your friendly or ferocious feline. Memorable to say the least… as in this example…“Why do you have a cat? (Ok, Kleenex time) “because I really wanted a cat because my other cats died,” Spoken like a true 4-year-old.   While not all of the keepsake book is at level for a 4-6 year-old, it is something you can come back to as your child- and cat, get bigger. (A Biography of sorts)

• What if My Cat…? by Claire Arrowsmith and Francesca Riccomini. 2008. Interpet Publishing.

A great quick reference guide to understanding your cat, his development, his habits and annoying problems, like #50: What if my cat is determined to lick plastic objects? Apparently our kookie cat’s mannerisms are “rawther” common. Presented in an easy to read format that has short passages and accompanying photographs or illustrations of cats, it’s easy enough to follow for a young child, but not all in one sitting. Of course it doesn’t hurt that my daughter’s breed of cat is pictured multiple times throughout the book. (Reference)

• The Complete Cat Book by Paddy Cutts. 1992. Smithmark.

Everything you needed to know about felines but were a ‘’fraidy cat” to ask.  This compendium of the cat includes detailed information about care, breeds and topics related to health of cats and kittens. It’s a must have for anyone considering a cat or like mine- any child obsessed with cats. (Reference with great photographs)

Other cat-related books to consider:

• Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. 1997. Blue Sky Press. (Picture book; pet death)

• Hemingway’s Cats: An Illustrated Biography by Carlene Brennen. (biography)

The Dog Who Rescues Cats by Philip Gonzalez. (non-fiction)

• Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones by Judy Schachner (picture book)

Dancing with Cats by Burton Silver. (dance)

• Impressionist, Cats & Dogs: Pets in the Painting of Modern Life by James Rubin. (art)

A Curious Collection of Cats by Betsy Franco. (poetry)

• Warriors: Cats of the Clans by Erin Hunter. (fantasy/fiction chapter books)

The Abandoned by Paul Gallico. (novel/ fantasy)

90 Days of Summer Fun: Wash Me!

July 21, 2010

This summer, we’ve washed ourselves, we’ve washed our cat, and now, we’ve washed our car. Amazing how the first experience my daughter wants to have once we grab our hybrid rental car is the mystical, transcendent car wash.

So for almost $10, we have all the fun you’d think was reserved for amusement parks or carnivals. Step-by-step we watch each new layer scrub away bug parts and bird poo. What more fun could be had with a preschooler besides pillow fights or blowing bubbles?

So remember entertainment comes in all costs and forms, but don’t forget the simplest ones… The relatively inexpensive gas station car wash.

90 Days of Summer Fun: Experience Another First

July 12, 2010

It’s been a whirlwind…summer travel to Greece, Turkey, and now Austin, Texas…each place had it’s special memories like swimming in a pool that overlooked the Bosphorus Sea in Istanbul, riding on a slide at a playground in Kusadasi, Turkey, watching my husband and daughter play in the waves in Mykonos, Greece.

But of all the new experiences, it wasn’t the exotic travel or new flavors that left an indelible mark- though the gelato in Greece was close- instead it was my daughter’s first bike ride.

While in Austin, we set out on a mission to finally get a bike for our almost five year old. That’s old for most suburban kids, I suppose, but for a New York kid, whose been riding a scooter for a while, it’s typical. She’s had versions of bikes, but this is the real deal… With training wheels, a basket and a bell of her choice. (You have to test a lot of bells to find the perfect bell for your first bike, I’ve learned. Oh, and the bike ain’t pink!! She changed her mind after seeing a nice purple and green version of the same bike.)

So before we were even to the car, she was riding her new wheels with the confidence of a teenager, making her mommy so proud. Another first to add to the list… July 2010, rides her first real Bike, Austin, Texas…

So this summer, no matter the age of your kid, and no matter where you are, go enjoy some “first” with your kiddo too!

90 Days of Summer Fun: Ready to Read

June 9, 2010

At Jade’s ToyBox, we believe kids are born ready to read. They love hearing the rhythm and sound of our voice when we read rhyming Dr. Seuss books. They love the pictures and the adventure of each new story. They love to finish the sound or the word in each new phrase. They love to correct us when we substitute a silly word for the word they’ve come to expect.

Many of us start reading to our child the day they are born, if not sooner. So why wait until kindergarten to explore book lists with your child?

This summer, let your kiddo pick out his or her favorite 5-10 books at the library or bookstore. Write the titles and authors down on a sheet of paper or chart, and make that your child’s summer reading list. Encourage and reinforce the reading adventures with rewards, but make those rewards tied to the reading. For example, if your daughter is like mine and reads books about kitties, let the reward for finishing all of the books on the list be a stuffed animal from the reading, or a new book about cats. Keep the reward connected to the excitement of reading.

Here are GREAT READING RESOURCES to get you started this summer with book lists for your toddler or preschooler:

1- Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2010
http://webstaging.bankstreet.edu/gems/bookcom/2010Under5.pdf

2-The Children’s Book Review http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/topic/books-by-age/ages-baby-to-three-books-for-infants-and-toddlers

3-NYPL- Children’s Books 2009- 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing
http://kids.nypl.org/reading/childrensbks.cfm?ListID=391

4- NYPL- 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know
http://kids.nypl.org/reading/recommended2.cfm?ListID=61

5- National Education Association’s Kids’ Top 100 Books http://www.nea.org/grants/13110.htm

6- Hunter College Elementary Summer Reading 2010
http://hces.hunter.cuny.edu/?m1=5&m2=2&m3=1

7- ALSC- Association for Library Service to Children- Building a Home Library
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/compubs/booklists/homelib/alacbcbuildinghomelbry.cfm

8- ALSC- Newbery Medal, Caldecott Metal & Recommended Booklists
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/audiencemenus/parents.cfm

9- The Book Hive, animated stories and book lists
http://www.plcmc.org/bookhive/books/

10- The Horn Book, reviews, author & illustrator interviews
http://www.hbook.com/resources/books/default.asp

11-CBC & International Reading Association, Children’s Choices Booklist
http://www.reading.org/Libraries/Choices/CC_Bookmark_2010.sflb.ashx

12-  CCBC- Cooperative Children’s Book Center, more resources!
http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/links/links.asp?idLinksCategory=2

13- Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature
http://www.dawcl.com/search.asp

14- Teaching Books.net
http://www.teachingbooks.net/

15- Teaching Guides for Children’s Books (see individual publishers for other titles)http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/HarperChildrens/Teachers/TeachingResources.aspx

90 Days of Summer Fun: Leaving on a Jet Plane

June 6, 2010

Sleeping on the airplane, with favorite blankie and Knuffle Bunny

No matter how many times we’ve traveled, we always prepare for a trip with the following: a story about where we’re going, who or what we’re likely to see, and a bedtime story about travel on the mode of transportation we’re likely to take. Two of my daughter’s favorites are: Kevin Takes a Trip by Liesbet Slegers and Lisa’s Airplane Ride by Anne Gutman.

Kevin Takes a Trip

Lisa's Airplane Trip

Essentials for the Jet Plane

Taking the right stuff to occupy your child can mean the difference in a fun trip and a meltdown. Non-stop trips less than 3 hours are pretty simple, just take some crayons, an activity or coloring book, a book or two and a sack lunch and a stuffed animal or small play toy to occupy the time.

But for trips that include a stop over or a longer distance, try these recommendations:

1-wet wipes (since most airlines haven’t wiped down their seat or tray tables since the 90s!)

2- crayons or colored pencils (markers tend to get on airplane tray tables, so if you bring them, make sure they are water based and you take wet wipes for clean-up)

2- activity books-hidden pictures, mazes, writing letters, etc-  make great learning tools under the guise of play

3- books for lil readers

4- a new toy- wrapped or not

5- a DVD player and a new movie or cartoon (we don’t rely, nor recommend plopping your kid in front of a DVD player often, but on a plane flight, we bend the rules a bit)

6- a craft activity for the plane flight- we like glue projects or paper airplanes, etc.

7- a favorite toy or stuffed animal

8- a familiar little blanket or pillow if you think your child may nap

9- a sack lunch with extra special yummos that are not typical treats they have at home

10- a game for the airplane. Card games and games with few parts are best.

Are We There Yet Box

for the seasoned traveler, the "Are We There Yet" Original Concept Box

To make trips easy, check out our Are We There Yet Box, with great travel-related toys, books and games for your lil seasoned traveler.

Happy travels!


90 Days of Summer Fun: Water, Water, Water

June 6, 2010

Nothing says summer like water fun, so whether you live in the ‘burbs, the city or you’re going to the grandparents for a visit, take time off to enjoy some good ole water fun.

Giving your child time to connect with friends and family in a fun setting is a great bonding opportunity for young ones.

Swimming pools are great meeting places for a lot of people. But a water sprinkler can be just as fun for little ones so don’t feel compelled to do anything costly when simple things are just as good.

If your family is as large as mine, show your child pictures of the people who are likely to join in on the fun in advance of the get together. Introduce each face by name so they are familiar when introduced in person.

Give all the kids a way to follow-up after the event by email, phone or even better, snail mail.