Public Lands & Day of Play

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Today is National Public Lands Day.  So if you’re not already playing in a park, hiking in the mountains or helping clean up our green spaces then think about participating.  Across the country kids, parents and neighbors are working to improve our parks, beaches and forests.  Even if you only have half an hour, or while you’re watching the kids play, pull a few weeds or pick up a bit of trash.  It all adds up and what a great lesson to teach your kids – to take part in taking care of the planet.  If you’re looking for a site to volunteer you can click on the link here.

It’s also the WorldWide Day of Play!   Head down to the Elipse on the National Mall and join Nickelodeon for a day of play.   You can try yoga or zumba,  throw a ball with the NFL, play tennis, dance and even hula hoop!  Tons of activities to encourage play in today’s culture.

Jose-Luis Orozco at Discovery Theater!

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My kids and I love Discovery Theater (O.K., let’s be honest, I love Discovery Theater and they enjoy most of the shows)  If you’re in the D.C. area then please take advantage of their  rich cultural and educational shows.  We have never been disappointed by their events and always leave having learned something new and seen something unique.   And this Wednesday one of our favorite Spanish singers is performing.  Jose-Luis Orozco will sing songs for kids in both English and Spanish.  We’ve listened to his fun tunes for years.  The show is sponsored by the Smithsonian Latino Center.  If you have the chance, don’t miss it!

Learn the National Anthems!

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In honor of the Rugby World Cup, New Zealand 2011 has created  a program called “Learn the Anthems”.   The site lists 20 countries competing in the games along with their flags, map, country information and a recording of their national anthem.   What a great idea to help kids learn about foreign countries and cultures.  Pick a team, learn their anthem and sing along with them.  You can even go a step further in making flags, banners and signs in the native language.  I’m sure after seeing the videos my boys will be most interested in painting their faces like the kids pictured here.  Thank you to Global Kids Oz for sharing another global idea with us.

Where Children Sleep

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James Mollison took poignant photographs depicting children around the world and where they sleep.  I encourage you to share these photos with your children and talk about our differences as well as similarities–our rooms/environment and the things that reflect our spirit and our lives.   Even in the United States the differences in children’s lives are depicted, not only in their portraits, but in their rooms.   I’m transfixed by the images of the boys from Nepal and Kenya as well as the young geisha in-training in Japan.   If you’re up for it, take a portrait of your own child in their room and talk about what is similar in their lives and what is vastly different to those captured in this article.  It’s a way to make this global world of ours a little smaller and every child understands the concept of where someone sleeps.  For the full article click here.

Weekend Festivals! Adams Morgan Day

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Well you’d think we lived in the rainforest given the amount of rain we’ve had in DC this past week.  There’s definitely not a shortage of puddles for kids to splash in.  Unfortunately, we have some great cultural festivals coming up this weekend that could be rained out if it doesn’t clear up fast!  The famous Adam’s Morgan Day Festival is on Sunday, September 11th.  Straddling Adam’s Morgan and Columbia Heights the festival showcases cultural music, dance and food from Central and South America.  (Columbia Heights Day was rained out this year due to Hurricane Irene) The street fair has been a mainstay on the DC festival circuit since 1978 and if the rain lets up at all, I highly recommend it.  The festival tagline is “A Global Community of Cultures.  Celebrate together, not separately!”  See the Bolivian dancers, sample Latin American cuisine and look at art from around the world.   Sounds like exactly what our kids need after a rainy week.  The festival runs from noon – 7 pm (18th Street & Columbia Road) so get out and explore!

Art for Every Day!

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I love art…musuems, galleries, art projects, you get it.  Although our local elementary school has a strong art program and my boys occasionally come home talking about Mondrian lines or Arcimboldo, I still feel a need to supplement their once-a-week sessions at school.    I love the concept of the book “A Year in Art” by Christiane Weidemann.   Every day there is a new picture or activity to look at with your child.  It only takes five minutes but they gain an understanding of masterpieces, artists and most importantly, how something appeals to them – a vocabulary to discuss artistic works.   Since my kids are not as interested in busting out the paints or creating masterpieces, talking about a picture for a few minutes a day has helped them create their own art world.  Who knows what they’re secretly filing away for future projects – maybe I’ll even start to see something that doesn’t have a pirate, a castle or a rocket ship in it and if I’m absolutely honest, there are far too many weapons in their current artwork.  But it’s their work and I can only let them express their inspirations.   What are your favorite art books?


A Year in Art

Multi-Cultural Spider-man!

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Around our house there are endless battles between Batman, Spider-man and Superman.  Their super powers come to life as my four-year-old leaps around the house and my six-year-old tries to tackle him.  I am amazed by their improvisation and creativity.  And as much as I love the fact that my boys recreate what I fondly remember doing at their same age, I’d love to see them incorporate some diversity into their super power status.   Welcome Multi-cultural Spider-man!  Miles Morales is the new superhero on the block.  He’s half-black, half-Hispanic and a teenager.  This is Marvel Comics effort to keep up with our changing society and I applaud them although this step probably should have been taken ages ago.   I plan to ensure that my kids read all about Miles and his masked capers.  It’ll help them see the world a little differently.   Does anyone have a favorite superhero outside our traditional American favorites?