Via Toy Box is Really Cool Toy Storage

I actually just saw this cool toy storage advertised on Daddy Types and thought it was so great I had to write about it.

I don't know about you, but I hate putting things away. I like my apartment to be neat, but I also like to everything to be out enough so that I don't forget about it. To me the ideal way to clean up would be to just be able to toss everything into some cool looking piece of furniture that allowed me to organize the items by kind and also let me see what's in there. Clear plastic drawers or bins will do the job, but not nearly as nicely as these Via Toy Box units.

Make a Beanbag Chair Reusing Packing Peanuts

I hate throwing things away that could be useful (even if I have no current use for them). And there are two things that I hate having to throw out maybe more than any other. One is styrofoam packing peanuts - first of all, it gets all over the place when you try to get it into a garbage bag, but mainly it just seems like such a waste. The other thing that irks my frugal, green side is CDs or DVRs that we've turned into MP3s or just don't need any more.

National Geographic Kids has a great site with lots of educational activities and games for kids. They also have a bunch of kid craft ideas, including directions for making a bean bag chair filled with styrofoam peanuts and a disco ball from old CDs. The perfect solution. You can reuse stuff you don't want to throw away, have a great kid craft activity and end up with some cool items for the kid's room.

I especially like the bean bag chair idea. It's so simple and clever. Just fill a laundry bag with styrofoam peanuts and tighten the draw string. Have your kids personalize their chair by drawing their name and decorating the laundry bag with puffy fabric paint for a little extra fun. (via AT:Nursery)

Find more great activities like this in our Indoor Activities Guide.



Education Month Round-Up

We talked about education for all of March. Particularly covering Under-the-Radar Preschools and Top Tier Elementary Schools in NYC. We couldn’t cover the whole topic in one month and we didn’t get to nearly as many schools as we would have liked, but schools will be an ongoing topic here.

We hope that we did give you enough information to begin to see the wide array of choices in NYC. We have many more schools we want to talk about and we will continue to write about NYC schools.

I got caught smelling the daisies

Light posting this week for Spring Break. FOr April we're going to be focusing on kid crafts. So stay tuned for some fun stuff.

Spring is here. Let's watch it grow.

The crocuses are blooming in Central Park!

Get thee and thy kids to a park, zoo or botanical garden and catch the wonders of Spring first hand. Besides just enjoying some sunshine for the first time in months, early Spring is a great time to impress toddlers with the wonders of nature.

So take the kids to the park and check out all the different stages of development the plants are in. You'll see shoots just breaking through the earth, buds just forming on the daffodils, and crocuses in full bloom. Toddlers also like to see the leaf buds just forming on the trees. It brings the whole cycle of the seasons home.

When you get home let the kid plant their own seed in a little pot. Take a look at this earlier post to learn about planting a mango pit. Or you can buy some seeds at the hardware store.

If you don't care to play in the dirt at home, you can buy some potted bulbs at the Greenmarket or the florist and watch them grow up into flowers too.

Do you have a favorite nature craft or project you like to do? Share it in the comments.

Find More Teachable Moments With Your Kids

We've been talking about the best schools in NYC on this site all month, but many experts will tell you that what happens at home is much more important than what school a child goes to. You don't have to be a homeschooler to find teachable moments during the course of your regular day. But, where do you begin? How do you know what to do and how? What is appropriate and at what ages?

Even though we don't homeschool, I like to read a homeschool curriculum each year. I read the outline of what the course will be focusing on and copy down the reading list. Then I keep those themes in the back of my mind and look for opportunities to work them in to our everyday. I get the books on the reading list from the library and those become our bedtime or anytime books. I find that this helps me feel involved in my children's education and also makes me feel confident that they are on track by my standards, not slipping through the cracks.

Up until now I have mostly focused on the social sciences because I think the schools do a good job of teaching reading and math in the early grades. The book that I like to follow is called The Well-Trained Mind and it is based on a Classical Education. Click on the link for an in depth definition of a Classical Education, but it basically means that the early years are spent absorbing the basic facts that every well-educated person should know and only later do students focus on expressing themselves creatively.


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