Friday, December 30, 2016

Get Ready to Ring in the New Year With EarthCam

I was sent media information about this webcam that will allow your children to view ringing in the New Year 2017 at Times Square, New York on any media device. I thought I would pass this information along to you. What a neat teachable moment!

Older children can experience the stroke of midnight and ringing in the New Year as they say "Happy New Year" via the Internet with EarthCam (a live 4K webcast). You can use this streaming on your computer or other devices. Here is what kids had to say about this product.

“A lot of us like to see the ball drop at 12:00 a.m. on the New Year’s Eve holiday but say you can’t go?  Even if you are just plain lazy you can sit at home and watch the ball drop – using EarthCam!” – Sasha, age 10

People should watch EarthCam on New Year’s because, one it is awesome.  Two, because you can watch a lot of live places.” – Kendra, 7

“People should watch EarthCam because it is fun to watch and you can watch it on something different than regular TV.  You can watch it in different places.  I think it might be nice because you can watch it on your phone if you don’t have a TV.  This is why you should watch the ball drop on EarthCam.” – Dylan, 7

And it's not just for New Year's Eve! Think about geography lessons visiting other cities and countries via a live web camera.

EarthCam is the global leader in delivering webcam content, technology and services. Founded in 1996, EarthCam provides live streaming video and time-lapse construction cameras for corporate, tourism and government clients in major cities around the world. EarthCam's revolutionary gigapixel camera systems deliver superior billion pixel clarity for monitoring and archiving the world's most important projects and events. EarthCam's all-weather webcams, innovative software and mobile applications enable users to showcase unique views, increase exposure and generate positive public relations.

The Webby and Telly Award winning company hosts many highly trafficked tourism cams, with views of popular locations and landmarks such as Times Square, World Trade Center, Las Vegas Strip, Bourbon Street, Eiffel Tower, Andy Warhol’s gravesite, Hollywood Boulevard, Miami Beach, Atlantis the Palm Dubai, Petra in Jordan and Abbey Road Crossing in London.

So, check out this link and enjoy the festivities.

This media is “Courtesy of EarthCam”  along with their photo.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Getting Ready for 2017 With the Kids: Games to Play

New Year’s Eve has all the fixings for a true children’s celebration—the chance to stay up way past bedtime, toss confetti in the air, sport silly hats, and raise a toast. Whether you want to ring in 2017 with your child at a family party or throw a sleepover bash for all his/her friends, the following games are here for you to consider.

Tape sheets of bubble wrap (small bubbles and large ones) to a hard floor or driveway.  When the New Year’s countdown concludes have the kids stomp on the bubble wrap to make loud popping sounds.  Sure safer than fireworks!

Give each child a noisemaker horn. Play some peppy music and while the music is playing the kids can blow their horns. When the music stops, the children freeze and yell “Happy New Year.”  This is a fun game—but beware—it can get very LOUD!

This game is based on the “Red Light, Green Light” activity.  One child is the “Grandfather Clock” and stands with his back to the players (mice). He calls out hours at random, and the mice race to take that number of steps before “Grandfather” turns around. Those who fail must return to start. The first mouse to “run up the clock” wins.

An adult hides a ticking clock. Gather the kids and have them find it.  Another fun way is to set the alarm for 5-7 minutes, if the kids don’t find the clock—the alarm will surely give a loud clue.

Set out a pie plate with homemade soap solution. Mix 3 parts water to 1 part “Joy” or “Dawn” dishwashing liquid.  For lots of miniature bubbles, tape together a bunch of plastic drinking straws.  Dip one end in the bubble solution, hold the other end about one inch from your mouth (do not put your lips on the straws) and blow. For the big dipper, twist one end of a pipe cleaner into a large loop, dip it in the soap solution then slowly wave it in the air to create a giant bubble.

Batting a balloon back and forth may sound easy, but in this challenge, there’s a catch:  Each contestant must link an arm with his/her partner, leaving just one hand free for the task. Whichever pair is able to volley their balloon the longest wins.



Photo courtesy of geralt, CCO Public Domain on
Sources for games:
Channels to Children by Carol Beckman, Roberta Simmons, and Nancy Thomas, copyright 1982
Family Fun Parties, culminated by Deanna F. Cook, copyright 1999

Sunday, December 18, 2016

C is for Celebration Logs

When I think of the letter C, I think of celebrations. It could be a December holiday, patriotic event, or just a simple family celebration that you want to emphasize. Your children will love making these yummy logs in the colors that represent your theme. They're simple to make, great for a treat, or even a take-home favor. Here's how to make them.

Celebration Logs (edible treat)

Celebrate your event with pretzel logs adorned with sprinkles in colors of the season, holiday or your child's choice.

You will need:
·      Pretzel logs
·      Chips (either chocolate or white chocolate)
·      Colored baking sprinkles
·      Waxed paper

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave inside a glass bowl.  Dunk the pretzels halfway into the chocolate;  then roll them in a dish of sprinkles.  Dry the decorated logs on waxed paper.

Display them in a large glass to set on the table or enclose them into cellophane bags to be given as favors. Enjoy!

Taking kids in the kitchen is a great bonding experience between parent and child. Enjoy your holiday time together.

Happy Parenting,
Tania :) 

This activity was used in one of my A to Z Challenge years. Photo by Tania Cowling, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

T is for Toys: What to Know Before Buying Them

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Toys

Each year many children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Even innocent-looking toys such as marbles and balloons can present a hazard to small children. The National Safe Kids Campaign recommends avoiding the following when choosing toys:

·      Toys with small removable parts. Small parts are hazardous and can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a small-parts tester (which can be purchased at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy or part. If the piece fits entirely inside the tube, then it is considered a choking hazard.

·      Toys with sharp points or edges. Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.

·      Toys that produce loud noises. Toy guns, high-volume music players and other loud toys can permanently impair a child’s hearing. Many toys have decibel levels high enough to cause hearing loss.

·      Toy darts and other projectiles. Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.

·      Toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. Long strings and cord could wrap around a child’s neck and unintentionally strangle him or her.

·      Electrical toys. Electrical toys are a potential burn hazard. Avoid toys with a heating element, including batteries and electrical plugs, for children under age 8.

·      Toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system. If the toy is a family heirloom, be sure the paint is safe. In addition, toys manufactured in other countries may also contain lead paint. Lead testing kits are available at hardware and baby supply stores.

·      Toy cap guns. Aside from potentially encouraging violent play, paper roll, strip or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction and cause serious burns.

Source with More Information:

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Piggyback Christmas Songs for Kids -- What Fun!

Christmas is near and Christmas carols are being played on the radio, in programs, stores, and basically all around. Singing with children is such a lovely family tradition, but why not divert away from the traditional carols, maybe just for a little while and sing some fun piggy-back songs sung to traditional children's tunes? Here are a couple of my favorites to try:

Songs Around the Christmas Tree
The traditional Christmas tree fascinates children with all the bulbs and bubbles that adorn its branches. Christmas is magical for children, so these songs make it fun. Sing this first song to the tune of "This Old Man." The title is "Toys on the Christmas Tree" and has several other verses.

This little drum, on the tree,
Santa put it there for me,
With a boom-boom, rat-a-tat,
Christmas Day is so much fun!

Children love to sing "The Wheels on the Bus", so this time make it a fun Christmas song with these new words.

The lights on the tree go blink, blink, blink,
Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink,
The lights on the tree go blink, blink, blink,
All Christmas day.

Continue singing all the following verses:
The presents at the house go rattle, rattle, rattle ...
The mom at the house goes bake, bake, bake ...
The dad at the house goes snore, snore, snore ...
The grandma at the house goes hug, hug, hug ...
The grandpa at the house goes kiss, kiss, kiss ...

Since this song is open-ended, think of new verses together to add to this song.
Have fun singing these songs together.

More songs to come!
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

(Song authors unknown)
Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Holiday Garland Craft

Children love the holidays and these crafts are adaptable to suit three different holidays. Surprise your group with a fun holiday craft this month. These crafts can be multicultural by just changing the colors. Be it red & green for Christmas, blue & white for Hanukkah, or red, green & black for Kwanzaa—adapt these crafts for your holiday!

Multicultural Children Garlands:

These garlands can be strung along a wall or across a doorway.  Use brown grocery bags that you have stored from shopping.  Dress the children cutouts in the colors of your holiday.

These are simple paper-doll instructions. Start by cutting a 5-by-4-inch strip from a grocery bag.  Next, fold the strip of paper, accordion-style, about four times.  On the top layer, draw a child shape. You can draw this freehand or trace around a child or gingerbread cookie cutter. The hands and feet you draw must extend out to the folded edges.  Cut through all layers of the paper, making sure not to cut where the arms touch the fold. Young children may need help with this task. The decorating is the fun.  Cut clothing from gift-wrap or construction paper.  Draw in shoes, hair, faces, and any extras with markers, puffy paints, or gel pens.  For texture you can glue on pom-poms, buttons, or pieces of fur.  Let your child’s imagination run wild.

Holiday Wreath:

Use your child's hands to make this holiday wreath. From a piece of cardboard, cut a 12-inch circle (a pizza box lid or carton works well).  Again cut another 3-inch circle in the center to complete the wreath. A craft knife is useful to make the cuts but only by an adult. Invite your child to paint the entire cardboard wreath with poster paint in the color of your holiday. After the paint dries, have the child make handprints on the wreath. Brush the child’s hand with a different color paint and press the hand down on the board. Continue to print handprints around the wreath in a circular fashion.

For another option, trace hands on complementary-colored stiff construction paper, cut out, decorate the hands if you wish, and glue them around the circle.

Make a bow from fabric, crepe paper, large ribbons or construction paper to decorate the bottom.  Make sure to write the date on the back of this memorable project.

Have fun with these two crafts.
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Note: if anyone wants to use any part of this post or any other one, please notify me for permission and make sure you provide a link back to this site.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Best Ever Hanukkah Songs for Children

Hanukkah begins December 24, 2016, so both Hanukkah and Christmas are together this year. Get in the holiday spirit as children and caregivers sing these simple Hanukkah songs. Let the children learn that holidays are a special time for singing together.

The Menorah and its Candles
Today Jewish families celebrate the miracle by lighting one candle for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. A special candlestick called the menorah is used.

Hanukkah Candles (Tune: "Six Little Ducks")

Nine little candles in my Hanukkah light,
Burning brightly throughout the night.
But one little candle is taller than the rest,
We call that candle the Shamash.

We light the candles one by one,
We play with dreidels and have some fun.
We dance the hora and tell the story,
Of Judah Maddabbee and his glory.

Potato Pancakes, known as Latkes
During the celebration of Hanukkah, a characteristic food called latkes, or potato pancakes is served. These pancakes are fried in oil, to represent the holy oil used in the Temple.

Little Latkes (Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little latke, round and brown,
Here is my upside, here is my down.
When I am all ready, take a bite,
And eat me up on Hanukkah night.

The Dreidel

A nonreligious symbol of Hanukkah is the dreidel. Children find this toy top a fun game to play during this holiday.

Spin the Dreidel (Tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
Spin, spin, spin the dreidel,
Spin it round and round.
Wait to see what letter comes up,
And the prize which you have found.

Even children who are not Jewish can begin to appreciate other cultures and faiths, by sharing this Hanukkah story and singing these fun songs. Children learn at an early age that singing is another way to use their voice. These easy piggyback songs kids can sing enhances learning with verse that young children can understand.

NOTE: Authors Unknown for all songs.
Photo courtesy of Flickr