Friday, October 22, 2010

15 Minutes : Play It : Pin the Face on the Pumpkin

Another one of the center activities for my son's class party: Pin the Face on the Pumpkin. So simple and classic that I wonder why I needed the internet to think of it.

But to be fair, this site reminded me how to play.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

15 Minutes : Make It : Pasta Skeleton

So, despite the fact that I'm going to have a baby any day now, I am supposed to organize--not attend, just organize--the centers for my kindergartener's Halloween party. (Believe me, this year I am definitely the reluctant room mother. But when they lay on the guilt...)

This is one of the activities I have planned for the party: just your basic skeleton made out of assorted pasta. Very easy and self-explanatory, but if you want more details, I found them here.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

15 Minutes : Read It : Stone Soup

The classic folktale, Stone Soup, is a beloved of mine. I love the lessons of working together, of selflessness, of community--it just never gets old. Here are two versions I particularly like:

Stone Soup, by Marcia Brown. You just can't go wrong with a Caldecott winner. This version is the perfect, traditional intro to this story if you're not already familiar with it. Marcia Brown's simple illustrations and text are masterful no matter what the book.

Stone Soup, by Jon Muth. Same story with a fantastic Asian flair. The villagers add their Chinese ingredients to the pot in this beautiful watercolor version.
images via


Thursday, October 7, 2010

15 Minutes : Read It : Autumn Books

My very favorite picture book to start off the fall season is Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall. Another excellent one is In November, by Cynthia Rylant. But since I've already reviewed both of those, I thought I'd share a couple others that are regulars at our house this time of year...

Pumpkin Moonshine, by Tasha Tudor. It's another name for jack o' lantern, for those (like me) who had never heard this old-fashioned, New England name. And really, does anything bring autumn vividly to mind like old-fashioned, New England illustrations?

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic, by Steven Schnur. Beautiful, detailed poetry combined with intricate woodcut pictures; and an ABC book as well. Someday I'll help my kids come up with their own acrostics.
images via


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

15 Minutes : Make It : Lunches

image via anotherlunch

Have you heard of Bento lunches? I like the ideas at the deliciously beautiful site, AnotherLunch, though I wonder if some of them would be too light a meal for my sprouting sixth-grader.

I like sending my kids with home lunches for so many reasons, but I have made the compromise of allowing them to buy lunch once a week (pizza day, of course). Amazingly, after years of this pattern they are finally tired of pizza day, and are more interested than ever in trying new combinations. My second-grade daughter is especially happy to help out right now.

I haven't fully embraced the Bento ideas just because our lunch boxes aren't the right shape. However, I have added a cold pack plastic box full of vegetables or fruits; I don't know if it's the box or the fact that the food is chilled, but the kiddos are loving it.