Saturday, September 24, 2016

Teaching Young Children About Fall Through Art

Teaching children about fall when living in an area full of palm trees and tropical plants can be tough. I live in Florida. Autumn can be hard to understand when there are no changes to see, however, even though the outdoors still remains warm and green, the inside of the home or classroom can be transformed into a colorful fall forest with these fun leaf activities.

Sticky Leaf Collage

Take the children on a walk to collect leaves, whether fall colored or green. After returning, make a collage of fall findings that will sure to please a little artist. Cut a large square of contact paper and tape it low on the wall or onto a table top (sticky side out). Put the collection of leaves in front of the child, along with some squares of red, yellow, orange and brown construction paper. Invite the child to stick the items on the paper. Feeling the sticky surface as he presses things onto it will fascinate a young child. When finished, cover the surface with another sheet of contact paper. Punch two holes at the top of the paper and thread with a length of yarn to be used as a hanger. Display this collage as a decoration in the kitchen or anywhere in the room.

Leaf Creations  

Collect a variety of leaves outdoors. Invite the kids to glue their leaves on a sheet of plain paper. Make them fall leaves by coloring or painting autumn colors on the leaf. After the glue has dried, encourage the children to turn the leaf into a character by using a crayon or marker. Draw arms, legs, facial features, and a head. Ask the children to name their leaf creation and make up a story about it.

Depending on what part of the country you live in will be the factor whether the children will experience a colorful fall. By using these fun and educational activities, children will learn about the changing seasons.

Where to buy art materials:

**All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author. Partial reposting is permitted with a link back to the original article. Photos by Tania Cowling.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall is Baking Time: What Child Doesn't Love Homemade Cookies?

What combines art, math, reading, creative thinking, science, sensory experiences, and social skills, and results in delightful treats for the family and friends? Cooking! Let your youngsters engage in this activity with you – a lot of learning goes on in your own cozy kitchen.

These cookies are not crispy or chewy, but cake-like with healthy ingredients such as orange juice, dried cranberries and nuts (your choice or omit if you wish). They make a great dessert, snack with milk, and adults love them with their coffee or tea too.

Ingredients you will need:

½ lb. butter
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped nuts
1 ½ cups dried cranberries
1 cup orange juice
3 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

What to do:

  1. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until well blended.
  2. Add the egg and beat again.
  3. Mix in the orange juice and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour a little at a time until the entire amount is mixed.
  5. Fold in the cranberries and nuts.
  6. Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in a 450-degree oven.

Note: all ovens vary so check the cookies for doneness in the shortest time so they do not burn.
Make cooking and baking a family activity. Children learn so much by doing and the bonding is memorable!

**All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author. Partial reposting is permitted with a link back to the original article.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Olivia's Garden -- New Book Release for Children

Beautifully written by Diane Seufert Tait, Olivia’s Garden fuses factual information about plants and the natural world with a lovable cast comprising humans, plants, insects, and a faerie. Harking back to that magical bygone era of true children’s storybooks, Tait’s creation will stir the boundless imaginations of young readers while inspiring them to get out and embrace the natural world around them. Okay…over to Grandmother Sage and her wisdom!


In Olivia's Garden, an intuitive gardener meets a bold little faerie during an emergency in the magical garden they both tend. Written in three chapters with an easy-to-read font. Sounds wonderful read aloud by an adult and will be a fun read for an older child.

Characters are human, plant, animal, and faerie. Although all the details about the garden and the animals and plants in it are factual and true to life, the use of plants as actual characters, such as Grandmother Sage and Cally Calendula; Mira the cat; and Olivia, the ever-present faerie, make this a delightful book both fanciful and accurate. It gently teaches children about a garden, herbs, and all the inhabitants of such a place, while engaging their imaginations in the possible interactions of the characters.

There is an exciting crisis near the end with a surprising result that should please every reader. Grandmother Sage has the last word and deftly leaves the door open to the possibility of a sequel.
“The whole goal of the book is to make children sit up and realize that the natural world contains limitless opportunities for exploration, empowerment, and discovery,” explains the author, a self-confessed passionate gardener keen on helping today’s young generation find their own green fingers. “To that end, the story and stunning illustrations are complemented by an expansive glossary that reprints and names the individual herbs throughout the book, with child-friendly information and the page number where they can find it within the story.”

Continuing, “I hope the book makes its way into homes and schools across the country, so children will be encouraged to get their fingers dirty and explore everything from their own backyards to city parks and beyond.”

But of course, to grab the often short attention of young readers, Tait knew her characters had to be more than unconventional.

“I decided to do something extremely rare; to have the story play out through the lives of plant characters so children can learn how they interact with each other and the natural world around them. I also hope I can prove to children, once and for all, that faeries do exist…at least in our imaginations, anyway!”

About the Author:
Diane Seufert Tait enjoyed a 40-year career as a classical violinist, most recently as assistant concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company orchestra. Diane became a Registered Herbalist with the Ontario Herbalists Association in 1997. In 2012 she published her first book, Letters from Italy,still available as an ebook at Amazon, or in paperback from the author at or

This book is available in soft cover and a Kindle edition you can purchase here.

Note: This review is via a press release and book was provided gratis.