Weekly family rail, with tips on kids and the outdoors, a look at Stephen Colbert’s “I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)” and more.
Tip of the Week
The sun is shining, birds are singing, butterflies are darting from colorful flower to colorful flower ... and children across the country are complaining about being bored. Eliminate this by taking advantage of the weather. Get the family outside and interact with nature.
- Head out to the garden toddlers in tow - or to a local park with flowers - and create a list of items to find and count. For example, ask them to find one blue object, two soft and fuzzy plants, three flowers that smell pretty and four objects that are round in shape. This game incorporates shape, smell, touch and counting - all into one fun activity. Taking or drawing pictures together is a great way to document each finding. When you get back inside, print the photos and hang them along with the pictures you have drawn as a collage on the refrigerator. Or, arrange photos or pictures together into your very own counting book, so that the days' fun can be enjoyed again and again.
- Colorful birds singing beautiful tunes and flitting from tree to tree are a great attraction for younger, elementary school children. To encourage birds to visit the backyard, work with your child to create a songbird habitat. It is simple - all you need to provide is food, water, shelter and a place for birds to raise their young. Supply food by making your own bird feeder out of recyclable materials like soda bottles and milk cartons. Fill these feeders with different kinds of foods. Then, place a dish filled with water near the area and ensure there are nearby native plants or trees. Now that your habitat is ready, visit savethesongbirds.com to pledge to care for your habitat and receive an official songbird habitat certificate. Not only have you connected your children with nature, you have helped Scotts in its commitment to save 1 million songbirds by creating 50,000 acres of songbird habitat through the Save the Songbirds program.
- Organize a scavenger hunt game for your children with some neighborhood kids in the garden or a local park. Make certain you have one adult to help every team. Equip each team with a camera - digital is better so you can review the photos quickly while still on site - and a plant identification book. Assign the teams to find and photograph items - both living and nonliving - that start with each alphabet letter. For example, an apple starts with A, so the teams would bring back a photograph of an apple, found in the orchard. Be sure to have a list of items that start with some of the more difficult letters handy. For example, share with the players that zinnia would work for the letter Z, but do not tell them what a zinnia looks like. Demonstrate how to use the plant identification book. Have a small garden-themed prize for teams that complete the entire alphabet. Seeds, watering cans, garden gloves and small kid-sized hand shovels work great.
- For older kids, create seed bombs to share and plant in fun spots. This is a great, hands-on craft project that can be used to decorate not only your yard, but the community as well.
Family Movie Night
“Chronicle,” now on DVD
Length: 83 minutes
Synopsis: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.
Violence/scary rating: 4
Sexual-content rating: 3
Profanity rating: 2.5
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
Family Time rating: 3.5. This is for teens only because of the violence and intense scenes.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“I Am a Pole (And So Can You!),” by Stephen Colbert
Ages: All ages*
Synopsis: In January 2012, Stephen Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak, and it was one of the most highly rated segments on “The Colbert Report” to date. During the interview, Colbert unveiled a children's book called “I Am a Pole (And So Can You!).” There was an outpouring of enthusiasm for the book, which led to a demand for the real thing. Hence, here it is, published just in time for graduation! - Grand Central Publishing
* Family Time notice: The book is generally OK for children - although there is a page about the pole being a stripper pole. Readers on Amazon.com have commented that it's fine for children otherwise; just skip that page when reading it to kids.
Did You Know
According to a study published in Pediatrics, in the past decade, more than 45,000 toddlers were injured by pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups.
GateHouse News Service