Tag Archives: parenting

Encourage Your Kids to Watch Green TV Shows

TV watching isn’t the best of habits, but most of us do it, and most of us let our kids do it. One of the troubles is that the commercials encourage kids (and adults) to want so much stuff, it’s just insane.

Of course, you can use commercials as teaching moments, and help your kids to learn how to cope with advertising. They’re going to be dealing with it their entire lives, after all. They should know how to be skeptical and how to recognize needs versus wants.

Not an easy lesson for any of us. But very, very important.

On the other hand, you can help your kids pick more than the usual fare. You can avoid the over marketed popular kids shows that sell tons of plastic junk toys of the starring characters.

My kids enjoy  a lot of the usual shows, but channels such as The Discovery Channel and Planet Green really get their attention well too.

Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego Go have their good points, as they encourage kids to think about the environment. However, they also sell an awful lot of plastic junk, so it’s a bit of a toss up with shows like that. I’m much more fond of PBS shows for my kids, such as Curious George, Arthur and It’s a Big, Big World for them. Fewer commercials, even between shows, and it always seems like far fewer toys available for them.

It really is amazing just how much kids pick up from television. Some of it’s good, but other parts not so much. Help them pick  great shows when they do watch TV.

Planning for a Green Summer Break

This is it. The last Monday of the school year in my area. Oh my.

We have most a of week left of school, as this Thursday is the last day of school. But it’s definitely time to be sure that I’m ready to have the kids home all day, every day.

An important step is to be sure that we always have a good supply of safe sunscreen on hand. They tan about as easily as I burn, but I want to have their skin protected. It’s a good habit for life, although I do let them play outside without sunscreen on. There’s that little matter of vitamin D production to be considered, although that doesn’t take long on really sunny days.

I try to avoid a lot of the running around to various activities that a lot of people find to be so necessary. There’s swimming lessons, but that’s a safety issue.

Most of what we do is right in our area. Playing with the kids next door or other friends within walking distance. Taking family walks in the nearby fields or to the playground in the evenings when it has cooled off enough for everyone to really enjoy it.

We have hopes of managing at least a short, local camping trip. My husband dreams of going to Yosemite again one of these days, but the time for it just isn’t there right now, not to mention it’s extra hard to do with a baby.

And of course there’s gardening. My kids are already picking cherry tomatoes for quick snacks.

We have a serious water shortage, which means running through the sprinklers is limited to late evenings on the days we are to be allowed to water. But then it’s dual purpose, letting the kids have fun and keeping our lawn from dying all the way off.

Really, there’s not much to planning a green summer break. It can be almost completely unplanned. Just figure out what you can do in your area without driving, without buying more junk, without electricity, etc. and you have a great start.

What are you planning for your summer break?

Why Do Kids Love Play Silks?

My favorite toys for my kids are always the ones that encourage active play or creativity. I’d rather avoid the ones that are supposed to be used in one particular way… even if that rarely stops my kids from coming up with other uses.

But I think one of the best gifts my daughter ever got for her birthday from a friend was some play silks. 2 years later and she still keeps pulling them out. They’re holding up well.

Play silks are such simple toys really, just a beautiful piece of silk. But the simplicity is the real delight. They get used to create costumes, mostly. It’s amazing how many costumes can come from a single piece of fabric, and yes, a bride can wear a green veil and look wonderful.

Play silks can be found at sites such as Magic Cabin or Amazon, as well as many others.

At the ages my kids are at, I really think they’re happiest when they’re being creative, and that’s why I think they love the silks so much. They may beg to watch television or play on the computer, but once they’re involved in creative play, they’ll go on for hours. Watch TV or play on the computer, and I can count on multiple requests for snacks and other signs of boredom.

Eco-Friendly Sites Your Kids May Enjoy

Summer is coming right up, and with it is the potential for bored children. While it’s great to get the kids outside in the sunshine, sometimes it’s too hot or they’ve already spent plenty of time playing outside and want computer time. Here are some sites they may enjoy.

Green Games

PBS’s EekoWorld – Designed for kids ages 6-9 and can be used as an educational tool in grades K-4. Kids can design their own EekoCreature while learning about the environment. You can even print out a card game called Loco Cheeko that features your EekoCreature.

Kids R Green – Green games and activities you can do at home.

Kids Planet – Games and information for kids on how to help the environment.

WebRangers – The National Park Service’s site for kids. Games to play, activities to do, webcams and more.

Dizzywood – Geared at kids ages 8-12. Play games, dress up your avatar, meet friends and defeat the evil Emperor Withering.

Green Tips for Kids

Environmental Kids Club – A website created by the EPA, it has games and information for kids and teens.

Kids Saving Energy – An informational site by the U.S. Department of Energy to help kids learn how to save energy.

A Problem with the Flu Vaccine

In general I’m pro-vaccine, but with caution. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine or had any of my kids get one. This article on kids with the flu shot being 3 times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu really got my attention.

That’s a pretty amazing difference.

This is not a huge study or anything. 263 children with confirmed cases of influenza from 1996-2006. In other words, it’s not conclusive. But it is something to consider when you’re thinking about getting a flu shot for your kids next year.