Jan. 28th, 2017

naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Within the past year or two, I've found myself in the role of fairy godmother and extra bonus grownup to four girls aged from elementary to middle school. This change represents a major addition and expansion to my life, and while it's introduced more complexity, I'm thankful every day that I have this opportunity.

I've learned a lot during this time, and I'm wanting to write down what websites, books and products have really helped. So I'm going to make posts here with a new tag: extra bonus grownup.

(And yeah, I'm still working full-time, and my career is still high-priority, but because of job changes I've been unable to attend my usual professional conferences, which saddens me.)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
I've given these as gifts over the years to various kids, and they're great. Durable, unfussy, basic colors, and dishwasher-safe for when they get dirty or the kid's been sick. They're good outdoors, indoors, and in the bath.

And OK, yeah, I kept the rocket astronauts set for myself.

http://www.greentoys.com

(I have been able to find them sometimes at a discount at TJMaxx.)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Good, imagination-friendly wooden toys are difficult to find these days. I've had good luck with plenty of the Melissa and Doug toys.

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/our-toys/developmental-toys/blocks-and-building-sets/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/cognitive/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/fine-motor/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/large-motor/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/imagination/

When I was first buying them as gifts for others, years back, a bunch of their toys were Made in USA, which means a lot to me. Nowadays I don't think they make much here, but read the labels.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
So there are a bunch of different magnetic construction toys available now, but... not all of them are durable, and not all of them have good strong magnets.

I've had good luck with Magna-tiles. Most kids seem to start by making two-dimensional shapes, then rapidly start building upwards into three dimensions, with increasing complexity. They're great for making abstract art shapes, house structures for small figurine toys or dolls, and guest-houses for any fairies who may happen to visit.

Especially for kids who may have difficulty with fine-motor control enough to enjoy Lego, Magna-tiles seem to be a good thing.

http://www.magnatiles.com/
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
I subscribe to their blog's Facebook feed so I get reminders of this stuff whenever I go to FB, and also go to the website's blog section and parenting tools section, seeking by topic and by age group... there's lots of great content and things to think about incorporating into my own kid-mentoring strategies.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/easy-ways-to-improve-your-parenting-no-resolutions-necessary

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/Unconditional-love-creates-Emotional-Intelligence

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/10_Secrets_Every_Parent_Needs_to_Know_about_Saying_No

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/Obedience_Why_Do_You_Have_To_Tell_Them_Five_Times

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/10_Ways_to_Raise_a_Competent_Confident_Child

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/Giving_your_child_the_gift_of_abundance--without_spoiling

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/youre_not_the_boss_of_me

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/Decoding_Your_Childs_SOS_behavior

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/the-secret-of-raising-a-resilient-child

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/what-to-say-when-your-child-is-jealous-of-their-sibling

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/What_Part_of_No_Doesnt_Your_Kid_Understan

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/What_To_Do_Sibling_Fight

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/The_Secret_of_Raising_a_Self-Disciplined_Child

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/5_Ways_to_Get_Kids_to_Help_Around_the_House

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/infographic-parenting-siblings-rivalry
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
So these are all somewhat dated, but there's useful stuff in them, presented in a way that makes sense to me because my own parents (who are utterly wonderful and awesome) used the early printings of these books in raising me.

The Father's Almanac by S. Adams Sullivan
https://smile.amazon.com/Fathers-Almanac-S-Adams-Sullivan/dp/0385426259/

The Mother's Almanac by Marguerite Kelly
https://smile.amazon.com/Mothers-Almanac-Marguerite-Kelly/dp/0385468776/

The Mother's Almanac Goes to School by Marguerite Kelly
https://smile.amazon.com/Mothers-Almanac-Goes-School-Twelve/dp/0385131550/

Marguerite Kelly's Family Almanac
https://smile.amazon.com/Marguerite-Kellys-Family-Almanac-Family/dp/0671792938/

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