10 Dr. Seuss Books you’ve Never Heard of, by Crystal Ponti

Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved children’s writers of all time. During his career, he wrote more than 60 playful and exuberant books – each with a deeper message about life, love, and humanity.

His most memorable titles, like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Cat in the Hat”, are mainstays on children’s bookshelves. But he also penned many books that never quite made it into the spotlight.

Here are 10 Dr. Seuss books you might not have heard of (and if you have, you must be a super fan):


“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937)

The very first book Dr. Seuss ever published under his pen name, this lively tale about Marco and his vivid imagination predates his bestselling titles, but is still among his best. Travel down Mulberry Street, the most interesting place in town – a place where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Marco spins a wonderful story for his father, turning everyday sights into wild highlights of his journey home from school.


“I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!” (1969)

Follow the Cat in the Hat’s son, daughter, and great-great-grandfather on three magnificent adventures, as told by Cat in the Hat himself. From battles with tigers to the unexpected consequences of a runaway imagination, this is the only book where children can thunk a Glunk and wrestle with King Looie Katz. The illustrations are a unique combination of gouache and brush strokes rather than the usual pen and ink, adding even more uniqueness to a timeless rarity.


“Would You Rather Be a Bullfrog?” (1975)

“Would you rather be a clarinet, a trombone, or a drum? (How would you like to have someone going boom-boom on your tum?)” In traditional form, Dr. Seuss asks young readers fun, rhyming questions to make them think, ponder, and laugh. The book helps children understand there are so many things they can be, and that they have plenty of time to figure out who they are and where life might take them.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)



10 Simple Ways to Build an Unbreakable Bond With Your Child, by Angela Pruess


Our connection to our children means everything.

It means the difference between a confident child and an insecure one. It means the difference between a cooperative child and a defiant one. Our early attachments and ongoing connection to our children fostered through love, nurturance, and guidance is a strong predictor of our child’s success in many areas of life.

We’ve heard a lot about attachment, so the concept and importance of bonding with our baby seems obvious. Just because your little one has grown to become a lot bigger, smellier, and sassier doesn’t mean your bond and connection with them is any less vital to their development. In fact, it continues to be of the utmost importance throughout childhood.

Life with kids is busy. It’s not uncommon at the end of the day to find yourself wondering whether you even sat face to face with your child. Here’s the good news: You’re likely already engaging with your child in activities that promote a strong parent-child relationship.


We all know reading with children is a simple way to improve their language and reading skills. But research also shows that reading with children actually stimulates patterns of brain development responsible for connection and bonding.

This makes sense when we consider that story time usually involves cuddling, eye contact, and shared emotion. If you make reading together a priority in your home, you are without a doubt connecting with your child.


Engaging in art or craft activities with children is an awesome way to provide not only a fun and enjoyable experience, but a therapeutic one as well. No matter their age, you’ll be hard pressed to find a child who can’t find an art medium that interests him.

When engaged in a creative process with children, we provide an outlet for them to express their thoughts and feelings. This is especially true with younger children, who aren’t yet able to verbalize their complex emotions. When your child has access to acreative outlet, odds are that interactions between the two of you will be more positive.


Whether listening to them play an instrument or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack together, music offers lots of benefits for both parent and child, including bringing our awareness into our bodies and into the current moment. Your kids will be practicing mindfulness without even knowing it!

It’s pretty difficult to focus on a mistake at school yesterday or the test coming up tomorrow when we’re busy processing auditory input as well as coordinating our motor skills.


Feeling stressed? Stress is often a huge barrier to parents engaging with their children. Spending time with your child out in nature will go a long way to increase emotional health and physical well-being for both parties.

Research tells us that exposure to nature reduces our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, as well as the production of stress hormones. Nature is no joke. Even if you don’t have time to go for a hike, simply water a plant together. These studies show similar effects can be derived from even small amounts of nature.


Play is the language of children, so it only makes sense that we should try to connect with them though something that comes so naturally. When parents enter their child’s world and follow their lead in play, they open up the possibility for many positive outcomes, including taking on a different relationship role and seeing our children from a new perspective.

(To read more of this post, please follow the link below…)


Six things every parent should know about Pokémon Go, by Christian Gallen


For the first time in history you may hear your kids complain that it’s raining so they can’t go outside and play video games. This is the parents’ guide to the newest social phenomenon that has taken over the world.

1. What is Pokémon Go?

You have probably come across Pokémon before. It’s Japanese for ‘pocket monsters’. You may even be familiar with Pikachu. Pokémon has been around for ages and spans video games, TV shows, a trading card game and now has become super popular because of the smart phone app, Pokémon Go. Chances are your kids are playing it!

2. How does it work?

Pokemon-Go-001-292x300The basic idea of the game is that you travel around the real world and find Pokémon using your device. There are 250 different types of Pokémon out there. If your kid comes home excited about catching Bulbasaur there’s nothing to worry about. It’s not a drug or a disease. It’s a grass type Pokémon with razor leaf attack. You collect them and battle against other users. Your kid doesn’t need hand-eye coordination to catch Pokémon – just a fully-charged smartphone and access to the internet.

This week I saw a group of teenagers running laps around a park with their phones in front of their faces. They were outdoors with their friends, they were exercising and they were playing a video game all at the same time. Weird.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)


All you need is Love Bombing, by Oliver James, psychologist


In March 2010 I received an email from Miranda. She wrote that her son Tim, nine, “seems to not like himself and has no focus. He says he hates himself and that he’s rubbish at everything”. A bright boy, Tim refused to do his homework and was prone to temper tantrums.

The solution I proposed was love bombing, a method I developed to reset the emotional thermostats of children aged three to puberty. It entails spending a period of time alone with your child, offering them unlimited love and control. It works for a wide variety of common problems, severe or mild; from defiant – even violent – aggression to shyness, sleeping problems or underperformance at school.

This is not the same as “quality time” – just hanging out with your child. When you love bomb, you create a special emotional zone wholly different from normal life, with new rules. More than 100 families have tried it, nearly all with positive results.

So, how exactly does it work? First, you explain to your child that, sometime soon, the two of you are going to spend time together, one to one, and have a lot of fun. Your child is going to decide what they want and when they want it, within reason. You give the message that this is going to be a Big Event: It’s Coming Soon … How Exciting! The child then draws up a list of things to do. It doesn’t matter if it includes lots of SpongeBob SquarePants: the key is that your child has chosen it.

Throughout the experience, you are trying, as much as possible, to give them the feeling of “whatever I want, I get” – of being in control and of being gratified, as well as bombed with love.

You may be thinking: Is he mad? My child is a tyrant – rewarding him like that is just going to make it even worse! This is understandable. Love bombing seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, which often recommends more control, not less, when a child is not complying, and stricter, firmer reactions to undesirable behaviour.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)


Some Crafty Winter Stuff to do with Our Kids

Lantern FY

By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Winter can get us down.  Many people suffer from seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and colds and flu bugs seem to abound at this time of the year.  Our electricity bills soar and, very often, those of us who discover we have a lot of “indoor” time with cabin-fever infected young children can start to feel frazzled. For me, having a bit of a plan helps immeasurably and I find crafts a positive way to “beat the winter blues” with our children.   I’m sure there are lots and lots of really fun winter ideas out there, but I thought I’d share a few that have worked in our family and in our local community.

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A home made “jar lantern”

1. Lanterns

Tulip Lanterns FY

Some lanterns created at a workshop

The advantage of the “early nights” is that kids can be up after dark and do “cool darkness fun stuff” (as my kids say) which they wouldn’t normally get to do.  Making lanterns is a great way to infuse some “magic” and colour into those dark winter nights.  There are lots of different designs to be found online.  The simplest one we discovered was just using a glass jar with a candle inside it and wrapping the jar in coloured celophane: even different coloured supermarket bags work for this.  A string is tied around the jar (and secured with a STRONG tape) and connected to a stick at the top for holding.  They look great, especially if you line a whole lot up in a row.  (Just watch that the kids don’t drop the glass jar).

Some cities (like ours) have Mid-Winter Carnivals and run “lantern workshops” for constructing your own lantern.  It’s wise for kids to have plenty of adult support while building these lanterns, but they are fun to create and look amazing when completed… and lit.

2. Candle Making


Source: Google images

We just used tea light candles inside our lanterns, but candle making is another fun activity and candles, like lanterns, add colour, light and a sense of warmth on gloomy winter days.  Our family lights a candle at tea time on Sundays, so we always have use for any candles made (we also have pudding on Sunday only, so the kids won’t nag us for it all the other days of the week).  I don’t have any pictures of candles we have made (we haven’t done it this year… maybe in the approaching school holidays…). But there are some wonderful online, step by step guides to making simple, safe, but beautiful looking candles with kids.  Old wax crayons can be melted to add colours and effects.  (Adult supervision is always needed, especially when dealing with hot, dripping wax).  I’ll put some links below, there are some great Youtube clips too.

https://youtu.be/-YkVwrM8NXk   (Step by step candle making for kids)

https://youtu.be/Mn2UTbdCmLw  (Mess Free Candle Making)



3. Snowflake Cut Outs

Winter Hotoke FY

“Snow flake cut outs” are cool because, like real snowflakes viewed under a microscope, no two are ever exactly the same.  If you havent done snowflake cut outs before, they are very straight forward… just get a square piece of paper, fold it (into four or even eight) and then make lots of tiny cuts.  When you open it out daa daa… a beautiful snowflake!  The kids and I made the poster to the left by sticking small snowflake shapes we’d made onto black paper.  Some words of caution:  a) younger kids sometimes struggle with the scizzors and need help cutting b) stress to the kids that they need to cut shapes out of the paper: if they just cut it you won’t see anything when you open the snowflake c) the paper has to start of square or you won’t get a “symmetrical effect”.  Other wintery things can be cut out too, like the snowman my son made here.

Snowy shapes FYAs well as putting the “snowflakes” on black paper, they can be hung in windows, made into mobiles, hung with colourful cellophane behind them (an idea from my 6 year old son) or just hung from the ceiling to give an effect of it “snowing indoors” (if it doesn’t get to you psychologically by making you feel cold!).  To the right are some larger cut out shapes we made (these ones are just lying on our bench top).  My daughter wanted me to make some “ballerina snow faeries” and cutting out things like this can be a great exercise for kids in spatial awareness… the shapes or figures have to remain joined at several points or they all fall to bits.  To get the “leaf” and “round” effects, the corners need to be cut off before opening out the snowflakes.  The kids also experimented with folding different ways– diagonally or across as well as just into quarters or eighths.  Another idea, when the snowflakes are cut out and opened up, is to paint over them completely (spray paint would be good), then peel off for a different kind of snowflake effect.  Thicker paper or cardboard would probably be better for this, especially if you want to use each shape more than once: they would be “snowflake stencils” then.  You need a big brush and pan or vacuum cleaner for all the little bits at the end.  Actually, as my four year old pointed out, the little bits and the “snowflakes” themselves would make great decorations for a “Frozen Party” or snow themed birthday or even for a Winter Wedding.

4.  The “Science” Behind Winter

Seasons Poster

Our six year old son made this poster for a school project.  Unfortunately, it got a bit squashed in his bag, but you get the general idea.  Kids love to learn the “science” behind why we have seasons and why there are extremes of hot and cold weather.  An exercise like this (making a poster of where our part of the earth is in relation to the sun during different seasons) can be a good activity to do at anytime, but in winter when we are stuck indoors more often than usual, it is especially good.  Again, there are online activities and youtube clips to clarify this “seasonal chart”. Our kids are always fascinated, too, by the fact that our New Zealand winter (June, July, August) is Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, so be sure to point that out.  My four children like the idea of people having Christmas in the snow– we often spend it in the garden or at the pool or beach.

We always hang any new posters the kids do in our lounge for a while, so the whole family can see them.  This serves the double purpose of helping the child who made it take pride in their work and letting us all become familiar with the concept we are learning.  As well as this, it makes our environment bright and colourful, especially during cold, winter days.

5. Matariki Crafts and Activities

For those of us in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, winter also co-incides with Matariki, the Māori New Year, when the cluster of seven stars known as the Pleiades elsewhere in the world, but as Matariki in Māori culture, first become visible above the horizon.  This is in mid-June (I always associate it with my grandmother’s birth and, 83 years later, death day: June 15th, but I think it’s generally around the 18th).  Anyway, there are various stories among different iwi (extended family groups) and in different areas of New Zealand about these seven stars.  As well as entertaining our children with these stories, they lend themselves to some great opportunities for artistic expression.  Local schools, kohanga reo and kindergartens also come up with some gorgeous arty constructions.  Here are some I came across in our little stamping ground, which could easily be done at home too.

Starry Collage FY

“Starry Skies” made by a class of 7-8 year olds

"Matariki Tree" at kindergarten (ages 2-5).  The children all wrote (with help) messages for people they love and affirmed things they were good at doing

“Matariki Tree” at kindergarten (ages 2-5). The children all wrote (with help) messages for people they love and affirmed things they were good at doing

Cloudy starry sky

“Cloudy, Starry Sky” made by the “big kids” (nearly 5 year olds) at kindergarten. This looks magnificent hanging from the ceiling.

"Glittery Stars in the Sky"

“Glittery Stars in the Sky”

Window display of stars: stars made from paper, painted and paper-clipped onto a string.  Glow in the dark paint would look great on this display at night!

Window display of stars: stars made from paper, painted and paper-clipped onto a string. Glow in the dark paint would look great on this display at night!

Matariki is also a time for sharing stories of those who have passed on.  Our children never knew their paternal grandfather, who passed away before any of them were born.  We can help them to “know” him, as well as other relatives such as great grandparents, through photos and stories… kids can create posters and booklets about people in their families.  I’ve found our children respond to these stories with more interest if there is a funny thing the person used to do or say or if they had an interest similar to theirs or looked like one of them… these things create connection across generations and time.  Some people create “Matariki Trees” (Rakau Matariki) with stars with pictures of deceased members of their families hanging from them.

6. Astronomy and Space

Our 8 year old son's picture of the Milky Way Galaxy, showing where "we" are and where the Matariki/ Pleiades constellation is.

Our 8 year old son’s picture of the Milky Way Galaxy, showing where “we” are and where the Matariki/ Pleiades constellation is.

Kids love learning about space and winter is a great time to look at the stars (with a telescope is great if you have one or live near an observatory, but without works too).  If you are stuck in winter school holidays, or if you home school, making “Space” a topic with your kids is a great idea.  As well as looking at stars, “Space” can encompass building a “rocket” out of lounge room furniture, making a paper mache “solar system”, watching documentaries or other children’s media about space, reading about space… the list goes on.  I won’t go into detail about “Space crafts”, as that’s kind of a separate topic from winter, but you get the idea.  “Space” is good to learn about in winter, because the nights are longer and there’s more opportunity for kids to see the night sky.  Also, space, like winter, is COLD!

These ideas are all meant to be fun and not pressured or stressful activities.  I hope you will find inspiration from some of them and, through doing them, beat the “winter blues” and connect with your kids.  Have a fun winter and keep warm!


Discover “Relax Kids”, an interview with Danielle Culling, a “Relaxed Kids” Coach

Relax Kids Collage

By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

Relax Kids is a movement started by Marneta Viegas, a children’s entertainer in the United Kingdom.  Over her 13 years working in this occupation, she noticed an increasing number of children being unable to sit still whilst attending her performances.  Since she had been practising mindfulness herself from the age of 10, Viegas hit upon the idea of turning fairy stories into CDs for kids and then creating a seven step programme of children’s exercises, starting with high activity, then working through to those involving stretching and relaxation.  Thus “Relax Kids” was born in 2001.  Since then the programme has expanded and is now being used in over 30 countries.

advert2I recently spoke with Danielle Culling, a “Relax Kids” coach in Dunedin, New Zealand.

“Relax Kids” is fairly new to Aotearoa/ New Zealand,” Danielle says.  “There are only three of us trained as instructors here.  It would be great to have more!  The Southern District Health Board are interested in promoting Relax Kids.  Basically the programme involves a series of ‘visualisations’ using stories based on nature settings and fairy stories.  The aim of this is to take children to a calm and happy place and help them to manage their feelings, including increasing concentration and reducing anxiety”.

Danielle says that there are different levels of Relax Kids programmes for children of different ages, ranging from under 5 year olds (Little Star Classes) to those aimed at teenagers. The courses can also benefit adults.    “Several schools have become interested in Relax Kids,” she says, “and some have started to use the CDs and books on a daily basis.  Withadvert8 the older kids we do what we call “chill skills” and also keep diaries so that they can begin to monitor their own moods and mood changes.  Relating moods to their physical symptoms is important too: for example, noticing that when you’re angry you can feel it in your stomach or in the clenching of your fists.  Focusing on the physical area of stress in the body can be a good first step in releasing anger in a non-harmful way.”

Training for those who wish to do Relax Kids Coaching will start to happen in Aotearoa/ New Zealand several times a year, around the country, Danielle says. (For those not in New Zealand, google your nearerst Relax Kids centre).

“Relax Kids can be particularly helpful for kids with ADHD or anxiety disorders,” Danielle says.  “Amongst other things there is a “21 Day plan” for habit change (which is believed to take about 21 days).  The 21 day plan is a free, downloadable document for both parents and teachers. It is available at www.relaxkids.com/freepack  and there are lots of other free downloads available on the website too.   As well as this, one on one instruction can be offered to families who wish to participate together in their home.”

“Relax Kids is not affiliated with any religion.  Some have called it ‘brainwashing through meditation’, which is not the case at all.  It’s about slowing down: the world we live in is so often fast paced and frantic, certainly in a way that was never the case in previous generations.  This can be overwhelming for us all and kids can find it particularly difficult to cope with, especially when it is in combination with other stressful factors.  ‘Mindfulness’ means to be present with ourselves and aware of what is going on.  Benefits include increased motivation and confidence, better sleeping patterns, as well as an improvement in empathy and concentration.”

Danielle & Alba FY

Danielle Culling (Relax Kids Instructor) with her daughter Alba (3)

Newspaper Article about Danielle Culling and Relax Kids:


Related Links:


Also see the Relax Kids Facebook Page 🙂

10 Things Every Child Needs in the Backyard, by Nicolette from Michigan, USA




Even though it was -18 today in Michigan, I’m already planning things to add to my daughter’s outdoor play area. Don’t get me wrong, we’re loving our time outside this winter, but I can’t help but dream of the muddy days to come.

Designing a children’s outdoor play space doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I’m trying to make a real effort on the blog to include easier, natural activities.

Also, if you live in an urban environment with no backyard, a lot of these can be found/done at your local park or community garden! Here are ten things that can make a child’s outdoor play space all that more special:

1. A Secret Place

Kids need somewhere they can breath, be alone and feel free. What makes a place secret? Make it their size, construct “walls” and have it in a slightly obscured location. Whether it’s a clubhouse or just a sheet draped over some some tree limbs, the main idea is to prompt them to create a world of their own.

Kids outside secret fort made out of sticks

More Great Ideas:

2. A Water Feature

Where there is water, there is fun. Enough said.

Homemade water wall outdoor kids play area

More Great Ideas:….


(Follow the link below to read more on Nicolette’s blog, Wilderchild).


10 Trail Tips For Hiking With Kids…And Enjoying It, by Julie Holly

A really useful, inspiring article about being aware of kids’ limits when tramping/ hiking and making it fun for everyone. Great advice for parents and carers– love the summary of 10 important tips!


10 Ways to (1)When the pregnancy test was positive, my husband got a cold sweat and jitters. We had just decided to begin a family and BAM it was happening! The first six months were surreal. Aside from being exhausted, I barely had a baby bump and we were still our active selves to the point of summiting a couple of Colorado’s fourteeners. As the reality of becoming parents closed in, we kept reminding each other, as if simply repeating words would manifest our reality, “This baby is joining our life. We will continue to do the things we love.” Six years into the journey this is all a bit laughable, but we’ve managed to pull it off and so can you.

Here are ten tangible ways to help your family get out and actually enjoy!

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Anxiety in Kids: How to Turn it Around and Protect Them For Life, by Karen Young


anxiety-in-kids-title FY

Reblogged from the blog “Hey Sigmund”  Read the rest of this article at the following link…


Anxiety is a normal response to something dangerous or stressful. It becomes a problem when it shows up at unexpected times and takes a particularly firm hold. When anxiety is in full swing, it feels awful. Awful enough that anticipation of the feeling is enough in itself to cause ….