Archive for the ‘school’ Category


Emerging Beauty: A Dozen Resources to Help Parents and Kids During Quarantine

March 21, 2020

Parents!!!!! Wow- who knew how hard this would be, right? I’ve compiled some incredible free resources for you and your kids. I hope they help!

  1. is one of my favorites. Romper started a fantastic program they call, Operation Storytime. Famous people and writers are reading books for free. Go to social media sites and use the hashtag #operationstorytime to find them.
  2. @savewithstories is similar to the above and sponsored by Save the Children. Use the hashtag @savewithstories and listen to more famous people reading books.
  3. If your kids are bouncing off walls, check out the free games and activities offered by the Cleveland Inner City Ballet. They also are offering free online ballet classes for kids! Kudos to them.
  4. Find Kim Brownsberger McMahon on Facebook! Ms. Kim teaches pre-school in Colorado and launched a free morning storytime, every day at 10:00 (on Facebook). She’s great with kids and encourages them to interact.
  5. https://mattdelapena.comMatt de la Pena: Not only is Matt a Newberry Award-Winning author(!!), but he’s a former teacher of mine and a good guy. He writes a range of books, so check out his website. He also started a “Dear Stuck-at-Home-Student” series, and kids are encouraged to email him. He responds!
  6. offers free projects to learn at home by grade-level.
  7. Writing Barn is a wonderful oasis providing classes for writers. Because of Coronavirus, they are offering free events for writers, but also for kids. This particular link is for ages 8-11, but there are more. Check them out!
  8. Who doesn’t love Highlights (I remember doing hidden picture searches in the dentist’s office)? Their website offers free activities for kids. Check them out!
  9. Audible is offering free some stories. Here’s a link to Scarlett Johansson reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
  10. Want to travel but can’t? Check out a virtual tour of National Parks:
  11. More virtual tours! This time of museums and galleries around the world:
  12. More ideas? Here you go… 100 of them!


My advice? Be patient. Give yourself space when you need it. Get outside. Set a schedule if possible, and create variety. You’ve got this.

Stay well. Find emerging beauty.











Summer 1977: Can a Kid Survive?

June 14, 2016

The first few days of summer are the best. So good, in fact, that some parents take a day or two off so they might revel in the well-remembered feeling. No more school. No more tests. No more teachers. No more social pressures. No more responsibility. Kids sleep in, hang out in pajamas, and make pancakes. It’s great. Until about the third day.

Summer can become a parent’s nightmare. What if the kids never get out of their pajamas? What if they become zombies? What if they hook themselves to screens with an I-V, and their brains shrivel into peanut-sized capsules?

For today’s parents, the pressure to create a summer experience is on. A child’s summer must be filled with brain-building, developmentally appropriate, and organically filled activities. Life becomes complicated with carpools and play dates and field trips, and before June is over, parents cry for a schedule that does not involve cleaning a kitchen that’s cluttered with bags of chips and boxes of Cheerios. No wonder day camps and summer classes have exploded in popularity.

Call me crazy but how about throwing a TBT day? Throw Back Thursdays to 1977, or for those brave enough, participating in a full week of TBT time travel?

Here’s what it might look like.

Breakfast? Forget about whole-wheat, flax-seed filled pancakes with pure maple syrup and fresh berries. Kids get Applejacks and a sliced orange. In 1977, kids didn’t hang out in pajamas all day so they must get dressed and make their beds. What’s next? That’s their problem, not yours, but here’s an idea: open the door and send them outside. If they’re young, a parent can give them a pail and point to a pile of dirt. There’s no need to sit in the sandbox and create castles by using sophisticated engineering techniques listed in Parenting Magazine. This is 1977. Kids figure it out.

Fancy field trips? Nope. Indoor skydiving and zip-lining adventures have not yet been invented, but there is the library. It might be air-conditioned. Swimming is a crowd pleaser but remember—parents don’t go. Not only is there a lifeguard to watch them flip into cannonballs, but parents didn’t drive their kids places in 1977. During a TBT day, kids ride their bikes to the pool or walk with a group of friends—it gives them time to dry off on the way home.

No pool? Use the hose. Sprinklers are fair game, but there aren’t any fancy slick and slides or super-soakers. Other alternatives? Kids can build forts, which might take all day. Jars of paint and some rocks offer the opportunity for kids to become Picassos. Manic monopoly will likely become a parent’s new best friend—the game can take hours, even days. And when all else fails, a simple deck of cards will do. Even alone, a kid can play solitaire, figure out magic tricks, and build card houses (psssst: engineering skills). In 1977, games rule, especially while drinking red pop and eating marathon bars (the chocolate and caramel kind, not the protein and chia seed kind).

Lunch? Whole Foods did not exist in the disco decade so forget about quick trips for sushi or steamed Korean buns. Stop at McDonalds or ask the kids to make their own sandwiches; peanut butter and jelly or marshmallow fluff, but they could invent something new—like fried bologna and egg with ketchup. Long afternoons? Naps are good. Books are better. Uber-active kids get sent back outside where they invent their own projects. Maybe they’ll build a boat made from milk cartons. Who knows? They’ll figure it out.

Remember, technology is banned during 1977 week. It wasn’t invented. TV screen-time is limited unless there’s a new episode of the Brady Brunch. Game of Thrones and How I met Your Mother did not exist. There were no clickers back then, either. If kids do watch TV, they must get up, walk across the room, and physically flip through channels—all four of them. CBS, ABC, NBC, and PBS were the only stations that existed. Also, television went static in the middle of night.

After dinner (hot dogs, Kool-Aid, Jell-O salad, baked beans, and grape popsicles), kids may find a few neighborhood kids and play flashlight tag, but if they’ve played long and hard enough, they might just collapse and fall asleep.

And voila. Like that, a day is done, and you’ve survived 1977. Good luck the rest of the summer.