Friday, March 27, 2015

Dory Fantasmagory: A Hilarious Children Book





My son and I recently read "Dory Fantasmagory" by  Abby Hanlon. What hilarious, original and fantastically engaging book! My son and I could not stop laughing; it was really a fun book to read. 

The book is about Dory who is the youngest in her family. Her siblings (Luke and Violet) don't want to play with her because they say she's a baby.
To combat her older siblings’ refusal to play with her, Dory Fantasmagory has created all kind of imaginary friends, more precisely monsters. For instance, there is a monster friend, Mary, who sleeps under her bed.  Mary is Dory's really, really good friend because she wants to play with her. She always appreciates Dory's incessant questions, like "What is the opposite of a sandwich". There are also other monsters in Dory's house, including "the toilet monster" (who comes into the bathroom if you sit on the toilet for too long) and "the ketchup monster" (who makes weird noises when you squeeze the ketchup). 

Dory’s pestering leads Luke and Violet to tell her that 507-year-old Mrs. Gobble Gracker, “who robs baby girls,” is looking for her. This sets Dory’s imagination spinning, leading to the appearance of the vampiric Mrs. Gobble Gracker and the gnomelike Mr. Nuggy, who introduces himself as her fairy godmother. Thanks to her incredible imagination, Dory Fantasmagory has a lot of fun with all her imaginary friends. Reality and fantasy combine perfectly well in this hilariously book. There are also sweet lessons along the way about being part of a loving family.

Although this book is recommended for young readers (6-8 years old), it is also great for younger kids. The book includes loosely scrawled illustrations and speech balloons that will attract the attention of young kids.  Hand-lettering is an enormous part of the story’s humour, channeling Dory’s energy and emotions as emphatically as the narration. Great book!

I highly recommend Dory Fantasmagory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Scratch - An awesome way for Children to Learn

http://www.scratchjr.org/


My son and I discovered today Scratch.

Scratch is a programming language developed in the MIT Media Lab that lets children make up stories, games, and animations. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. It is also a fantastic way for children to practice and improve their problem-solving skills.

While Scratch is primarily designed for 8 to 16 years old, ScratchJr is perfect for younger children (5-7 years old). With ScratchJr, children can also program their own interactive stories and games using simple codes. My son is only 5 years old and had not trouble using ScratchJr to code scenes for his stories. In a short period of time, he was able to create a few stories about animals and astronauts walking on the moon. My favorite story, so far, is the one that Elijah created about a wizard that shrinks animals and objects.

One final point about Scratch and ScratchJr is that they are completely free. My son is using the ScratchJr app for IPad which was completely free.


Ski and Action Camera - Why not?




Last Sunday, my husband took my 5-year old son, Elijah, to his last ski day of the season. Elijah has been taking ski lessons for the last couple of years and is doing pretty well. He loves to ski and is capable to bring his skis parallel when turning. 

Last Sunday was a gorgeous day, and the conditions were certainly perfect for ski. The day was also perfect to try our new action camera. As you will see in this video, Elijah, not only enjoyed to ski with his dad, but also to record his performance with the camera. You will see that he was very enthusiastic, and particularly vocal during his last ski run of the season.










Wednesday, March 4, 2015

7 Habits of Happy Kids



Recently, my son and I discovered the book "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids " by Sean Covey; what a great book!

Initially, I was not certain if my son would love the book, but to my surprise, he liked it enormously. He loved the stories and the characters. The seven stories included in the book are cute and illustrated in a way that really engages the kids. 

Very quickly, my son realized that each story in The 7 Habits of Happy Kids had a "message"; and these messages were very clear and easy to understand (even for a 5 years old!).

Each one of the stories focuses on a different "habit". To give you an idea of the habits, here is a list of them:

1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek first to understand, then be understood
6. Synergize
7. Sharpen the saw



Source: http://www.warrencountyschools.org/userfiles/2277/7%20habits.png

There are also questions at the end of each chapter for the parent to ask the child.   My 5-year-old can't always answer these questions, but they open discussion and allow for teachable moments. There are also suggestions how to integrate the "7 habits" into our child's daily life.

 I also did a quick online search and found lots of resources (see below for a few that I found particularly interesting) that parents and teachers have developed for those who are interested in reading The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

I highly recommend you read The 7 Habits of Happy Kids .

Resources

7 Habits of Happy Kids Posters
7 Habits of Happy Kids Classroom Posters