Boredom Busters

Memory Frame Craft with Little Elliot

This craft is sponsored by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. A new picture book, Little Elliot, Big Family, tells the story of a small elephant who finds a family of his own in the big city. We travel with Little Elliot and his friend Mouse through 1940s NYC, visiting favorite landmarks.

This charming tale inspired us to celebrate our own family with a special picture frame craft. This easy project is a picture perfect way to save cherished family memories.

Affordable Music Lessons In Suffolk County for Long Island Kids

Few places celebrate their musical heritage quite like Long Island. From rock’s Lou Reed to pop’s Ashanti and hip hop’s LL Cool J, Long Island has cultivated its own unique sound and celebrities. But even the legendary Billy Joel had to start somewhere.

Parents in Suffolk County have a number of options should their child express a musical inclination. From group clinics to at-home instruction, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite places for your developing virtuoso. See websites for current programs and pricing. Parents who’d prefer to cross the county border can see our post on music classes in Nassau. And don’t forget our Long Island Classes Guide for other after-school options.

New Kid Books: Top Picks from Picture Books to Teen Novels

We've already stocked up on back-to-school supplies from new backpacks to jeans, but now comes the fun part: books! 

If you have voracious summer readers, it's likely your kids are already complaining that they’ve read everything. Or maybe you want to inspire a less than enthusiastic reader to kick off the 2015-2016 academic year on a wordy note.

Either way, Mommy Poppins has put together a list of more than a dozen books for kids of all ages, from preschool to high school, that were published within the last year, and, based on the awards they've already won, seem destined to become future classics. So pull up a comfy chair, whip out that library card and read on. You might just find a new family favorite.

5 Spelling Word Games to Help with Spelling for Kids

English is a tricky language with a lot of words and a whole heck of a lot of crazy rules (and exceptions to rules) about how things should be spelled. When I watch a kid learning the English language I honestly don't know how any of us do it. It's truly amazing that any of us learn how to read and spell.

Parents can support their kids learning to spell and write in school by spending time with them at home, reading and playing word games. Word games can help early writers just learning how to spell, as well as more advanced writers to increase their vocabularies. I've picked out a few word games that help kids with spelling words and tried them out with my seven year old. Not only have I been impressed with his growing ability and comfort (sometimes that's the most important thing) with spelling words, but we've had a lot of fun too.  And great warm up for back to school.

20 Classic Educational OT Toys To Help Children Prepare for School

Last week there was an article in the NY Times, “Watch How You Hold That Crayon,” about OT and handwriting. In the article Anthony DiCarlo, a Principal stated, “In the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t have the strength in their hands to wield scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which in turn prepares them for writing."

He goes on to say that while many kids head back to school with accomplishments like music, yoga and sports classes, they may not have logged enough time in open-ended play. “I’m all for academic rigor,” he said, “but these days I tell parents that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds important school-readiness skills, too.”

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