My literary comfort blanket: Roald Dahl’s The BFG

This post contains an affiliate link to the book The BFG. Please see my policies and disclosures page for more information.


Growing up, Roald Dahl’s the BFG was a BFD. I seriously loved that book.

Scratch that. I love—present tense—that book.

When I'm stressed, I turn to children's books and literature to relax. Roald Dahl's The BFG is my go-to title. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant, for all of you not in the Roald Dahl know) was my favorite book for years. Over and over I read about how Sophie befriended the BFG and together with the Queen of England’s help rounded up all the mean, children’s bone-gnashing giants.

I laughed at (and gobblefunked with) the BFG’s hilarious words (snozzcumber!!!) and wondered what dreams he’d trumpet into my room each night.

So today, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I say thank you to my all-time favorite children’s book author. Read more

A fashionably fierce sweater craft

Kids sweater craft: Princess and the Pony

Princesses are everywhere these days.

Disney has overrun the toy aisle, Pandora stations and the playground.

Now, I’m not a hater: I adore certain Disney movies, and Peeper’s first movie was Cinderella. But I can’t help but notice that a lot of princesses are, well, passive.

That is not the case with Princess Pinecone, the titular royalty in the picture book The Princess and the Pony.

A princess book with sass

Princess Pinecone lives in a society of warriors. But her parents haven’t quite caught on: They give her cutesy sweaters instead of cool warrior presents like shields, spiked belts or—what she truly covets—a fierce warrior horse.

When her birthday rolls around, she does get a horse—sort of. Princess Pinecone gets big-eyed, doughy pony who farts too much.

But she can’t give a birthday present back, she figures, so she keeps the pony. What happens at the next warrior brawl surprises everyone.

Getting crafty

After reading The Princess and the Pony about a hundred times, I made a book-inspired craft for Peeper. And I’m not the only one: Check out the brute-inspired crafts at the Raising Fairies and Knights Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Monthly Crafting Book Club

Princess Pinecone and the rest of the brutes in the book come to realize that cute can be strong, and you don’t have to be just fierce or just adorable—you can be both.

So Peeper and I created a fashionably fierce sweater craft.

This sweater craft is great for fine motor skills—though if your little is as young as Peeper is, she may need a little help winding the yarn around the paper.

Princess sweater craft

It’s also very open-ended. There’s no “right” way for the sweater craft to look: The process of winding and stamping (and hand-slapping, if you’re Peeper) is much more important than the final product.

After all, process art helps young kids feel more confident, since they don’t “fail” to make their project look identical to the model one, writes the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

So hit up your library for a copy of The Princess and the Pony, then join us for some cozy—and fierce—fun.

Kids sweater craft Princess and the PonyKids sweater craft Princess and the Pony

Fashionably fierce sweater craft

Supplies

  • cardstock paper
  • yarn
  • painter’s tape
  • paint
  • cotton balls

Instructions

  1. Cut out a sweater shape from a sheet of cardstock.
  2. Tape one end of the yarn to the “back” of the sweater. Then have your child wind the yarn around the sweater. (You may have to help by guiding her hands or playing out the yarn.)
  3. When your child is done wrapping, tape the tail of the yarn to the back of the sweater. This will secure the yarn so it doesn’t move.
  4. Squirt out as many colors of paint as your child would like. Invite her to stamp the paper with a cotton ball (it’s so cozy, like a sweater!). The more she paints over the yarn and fills up the white space, the more contrast she’ll get.
  5. When she’s done, untape and unwrap the yarn. She’ll see the white lines left by the yarn—giving her a striped sweater!

Don’t forget to try out the other The Princess and the Pony crafts at the Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Princess and the Pony monthly crafting book club

Bear curriculum for homeschool preschool

Think back to your childhood and, probably, a treasured teddy bear was there to comfort and cuddle you. Your kids might be the same—Peeper is. Although she sleeps with a stuffed Elmo and a Findus the Cat most nights, a few bears are among her most treasured lovies.

I thought it would be fun, then, to structure a homeschool preschool meeting around a bear curriculum. Grrrrr!

Want to use a bear theme to teach your preschooler, too? Here’s the bear curriculum we used at preschool recently.

homeschool preschool bear curriculum

Books

I started the bear curriculum by reading two books. First we read The Teddy Bear Picnic (which, by the by, is a song). The kids had such a fun time spotting bears in the book that looked like the teddy bears they brought from home!

We also read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. It’s fun to do motions for each obstacle the family traverses—wave your arms for the wavy grass, tiptoe when they go through the cave. (FYI, you should totally check out Michael Rosen acting out his book—he is hilarious!)

These books also set up the later activities. Read more

Feathered friends: 5 ways for kids to help birds

Peeper loves her some animals, and birds are no exception. I once called a bird that landed on the telephone wire a blue jay; she corrected me: “No, Mama, that’s a stellar jay.” (#schooledbyatoddler)

In a book she adores that has photos of pretty much every animal on the planet, she points to the birds with silly names and giggles uncontrollably as I recite them: plain chachalaca, hoopoe and the blue-crowned motmot.

And she has loved some of our recent projects to help our neighborhood’s resident birds.

ways for kids to help birdsWe were inspired to learn how kids can help birds by a recent suggested service project from Giving Families, a monthly mail subscription that sends kids ideas to help others. It included instructions on how to help birds build nests, making a cozy home for all those chirping chicks that will be hatching this spring.

Peeper didn’t want to stop there. If your kids want to help birds, too, here are a few super-easy, way quick ideas to support our feathered friends. Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To

 

Read more

The 10 Best Unconventional Alphabet Books: What we’re reading

The 10 Best Unconventional ABC BooksI am so sick of “X is for xylophone.”

I get it. There aren’t many words that start with x. And “X is for xenopus” will likely garner blank stares from the preschool set.

But when you read books to kids nonstop, the tedium of alphabet books can become A is for aggravating.

So here is me being H is for helpful. Nab these unorthodox alphabet books the next time you’re at the library. You and your kids will love breaking free of the predictability of A to Z. Read more

St. Patrick’s Day preschool activities: Rainbow curriculum

True story: Along with Radiohead’s Creep and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Around the World, Kermit’s Rainbow Connection is one of my go-to karaoke jams.

So naturally, when it was my turn to host our co-op homeschool preschool this week, I wanted our St. Patrick’s Day lesson to include lots of activities with rainbows!

If you’re looking to infuse your fun with some St. Patrick’s Day luck, or get all rainbow-y on a regular day, here are some activities from me as well as links to additional ideas. Happy St. Patty’s Day! Read more