Archive for August, 2013

foreign language sites for kids

Sites to Teach Kids Foreign Languages

I use these sites to reinforce Foreign Language curriculum that we either do at home using a tutor or to help my child in middle school who is studying a foreign language. Hope these foreign language for kids online sites help!

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Teaching Kids Chinese on Pinterest.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Teaching Kids Spanish on Pinterest.

butterfly books for kids, multicultural butterfly books for kids, monarch butterfly books for kids

A Multicultural Round Up of Butterfly Books for Kids

Butterflies are all colors of the rainbow and exist all over the world, so why not have a multicultural round-up of children’s books as well? We visited the Butterfly Garden exhibit at the Museum of Science, Boston last week, and here is a list of books to round out the visit.

What is your favorite butterfly book for kids? Please share and I’ll add to the list. I especially need non-fiction books!


Butterfly Books for Kids to Enjoy

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

A beloved classic, the very hungry caterpillar eats an amazing array of different things before turning into a butterfly. [picture book, ages 1 and up]

The Butterfly Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta’s Alphabet Books) by Jerry Pallotta

Pallotta’s alphabet books are like mini encyclopedia’s with a plethora of interesting facts on butterflies from A to Z, starting with the Apollo butterfly and ending with the Zephyr Metalmark. [picture book, age 4 and up]

Read more…

blue morpho butterfly, butterfly garden, MOS, Museum of Science Boston,

Butterfly Garden

My son and I visited the Butterfly Garden exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston. He missed his third grade school field trip because he had Strep Throat the last week of school so I promised him a make up trip as part of his Camp Mom week. I used to take his older sisters to the Museum of Science frequently when they were younger but I realize now that we haven’t visited here in a few years. Too bad. It’s one of the best museums for kids in Boston and because it’s huge, it never feels overwhelmingly crowded the way The Boston Children’s Museum can.

This wasn’t my son’s favorite stop — he much preferred The Sea Monster 3D movie and the dinosaur exhibit — but I always find butterfly gardens to be magical.

The Butterfly Garden tickets are extra … would you buy tickets to visit a Butterfly Exhibit in addition to the museum entrance fee?

I’ve tried to identify the butterflies we saw but it wasn’t easy. Please help me out if you see an error or know which butterfly it is. I was feeling very Calpurnia Tate trying to ID them. Speaking of Calpurnia Tate, I’ll be posting on our Top 10 Butterfly Books for Kids tomorrow. As with most of my book lists, it’s picture book fiction or biography — no non fiction though I’d love your suggestions for those!

butterfly garden, MOS, Museum of Science Boston,

 Great Yellow Mormon, Papilio lowii

The Great Mormon (Papilio memnon) is a large butterfly that belongs to the swallowtail family and is found in southern Asia.  Read more…

Water Supply System for Kids: A Science Unit for Home

I never really gave storm drains much thought. Occasionally, I’d notice a sign that said drain empties directly to ocean but I didn’t put the garbage piece together with the storm drain pollution piece.

storm drain sign

As for my water supply at home, I’ve only wondered what the lead content was. I had no idea where the water came from. I just take this kind of stuff for granted.

Things changed when the MWRA came to visit our elementary school. The first question is what does MWRA stand for? I would have struggled with that: Metropolitan Water Resource Authority. They are the folks who worry about our water supply including drinking water, waste water and storm drains.

In this unit on Our Water Supply, I cover:

  • The history of the reservoir where I live
  • Waste Water
  • How to measure the pH of water
  • Free Printable eBook Dwayne the Storm Drain
  • Water Supply App for Kids
  • A list of relevant books for kids

Do you know where your water comes from? Read on to learn more! Read more…

natural consequences for discipline

Parenting: Natural Consequences for Kids

My thanks to Faigie Kobre for returning with a much anticipated post on natural consequences for kids!


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for PragmaticMom on self esteem for children. I discussed four points that are crucial to helping your children develop good self esteem. One of the four points was consistent discipline. I also wrote under the heading of consistent discipline that punishment should be through natural consequences and since there was in interest in that topic, Mia asked me to write a follow up post addressing natural consequences.

Are natural consequences enough in disciplining children?

There are a lot of words bandied about when it comes to discipline. There is authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, natural consequences and logical consequences (among others). Natural consequences are indeed a wonderful way of parenting but, is natural consequences enough of a method in disciplining your children?

The short answer is probably not. Read more…

vocabulary building chapter book, Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats

Chapter Book to Build Vocabulary GIVEAWAY

There is something magical about this chapter book. Even though the characters are fairly static, I still liked it and doesn’t happen very often. Usually when I get a book about a concept — in this case, karma and change — the story doesn’t stand on its own, it’s so weighted down by The Big Message.

In case, the message of change via a magical hat (that could also be karma) is encased with other delightful elements:

  • Magical hats that help each character find their inner happiness.
  • Illustrations that you are encouraged to color in (assuming its your book and not from the library)!
  • A story that magically builds vocabulary!
  • Crazy made up vocabulary words that do not exist in the Dictionary are also used. (Look for those. They’re fun!).
  • An extensive glossary in the back of the chapter book to recap all that great vocabulary learning!

Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats by Angela Shelton

vocabulary building chapter book, Tilda Pinkerton's Magical HatsRead more…

K'NEX Extreme Sports motorcycle

Staying Off Screens and K’NEX GIVEAWAY

My 8-year-old son is off this week while his sisters are in day camp. One is playing soccer with some members of the FC Barcelona coaching staff, the other is learning hot glass blowing. This is a good week for all my kids as they fulfil their dreams but not so much for me and my husband. We are crisscrossing across Boston suburbs to drive them to their camps battling traffic, limited parking and narrow streets. Thank goodness for car pools!

I did not do any preparation for my son’s week off like I did last summer. My only strategy to keep him off screens is to play with K’NEX sets. I am an blog ambassador for them and my son would agree that the most awesome box just arrived.

Angry Birds Space: Red Planet “Hogs on Mars” Building Set

My son loves Angry Birds and I have an iTunes bill to prove it! iGame Mom had great ideas on keeping boys off screens by doing video game extensions … like book extensions, it takes boys off screens to act out their favorite games. Genius!

K'NEX Angry Birds, K'NEX gaming toys, Read more…

summer camp picture book, summer camp chapter book, picture book of the day

Funny Picture Books About Summer Camp

For the Picture Book of the Day, my 8-year-old son and I chose one of our favorite funny picture books about summer camp, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee.

We think this is the funniest picture book ever! When James and Eamon visit Eamon’s grandparents’ house to attend a week of day camp  communing with nature, they prefer the little things much more: eating waffles, playing video games, and generally staying inside despite the fact that Eamon’s grandparents live on the beach!

Marla Frazee writes with dry wit that appeals to adults as much as parents.

For example:

“In the morning, Bill [Eamon’s grandfather] took the boys to nature camp. The road was long and curvy. James and Eamon learned a lot of new vocabulary words while Bill drove.”

Her cartoon-y illustrations set off the text perfectly; in fact, she won a Caldecott Honor for this picture book! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

best summer picture book Read more…

Alphabet Trucks by Samantha Vamos giveaway

Alphabet Trucks Picture Book GIVEAWAY

I excited to announce the book launch of Alphabet Trucks by Samantha Vamos! I adore her last book, The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred!

In celebration of her book launch TODAY, I am doing a giveaway of her new book and hosting a short Q and A with Samantha.

Alphabet Trucks by Samantha Vamos

An alphabetical treat for truck lovers.

Everyone’s heard of a tow truck. And a pickup truck. An ice-cream truck? Of course! But what about a quint truck? A lowboy truck? A knuckle-boom truck? Readers will learn about these kinds of trucks—and many more—while learning the alphabet in Alphabet Trucks.

Each letter of the alphabet is accounted for in this introductory concept book for young readers. From the familiar to the unusual, Samantha Vamos writes in snappy verse to present twenty-six different kinds of trucks, explaining where they work and what they do. From a dump truck that unloads a pile of dirt containing the letter “D,” to a fuel truck filling up at a tank shaped like the letter “F,” Ryan O’Rourke’s playful and light-hearted illustrations involve the letters in supporting roles in each scene. Read more…