Creating Open-Ended Play Spaces: First Steps

When I decided to create more open-ended play spaces in our home, I wasn’t sure where to start. Even though I’ve attempted to be thoughtful about toy purchases and arts and craft supplies over the years, I’m afraid we’ve accumulated way too much stuff. And usually, I’m so busy trying to keep said stuff from literally covering our floors that I rarely pause to take a closer look. READ MORE

Playing in the Snow

It’s been a mild winter here in the Pacific Northwest so we’ve ventured into the Cascade Mountains for snow play this year. We’re lucky that we don’t have to travel far to find a winter wonderland.

We’re also lucky to have a library nearby because when my kids asked, “Where does snow come from, Mommy?” my vague explanation about moisture, clouds, and temperature didn’t seem sufficient. The Story of Snow took our understanding of those lovely frozen flakes to a whole new level. READ MORE

Nurturing Curiosity

Nurturing curiosity creates a healthy appreciation of all that is unique and wonderful on this earth, for kids and adults alike. Whether it’s slowing down to admire ice crystals on sparkling winter leaves or watching an airplane leave contrails across the sky, I never want my young scientists to lose their sense of awe and wonder.

There are many ways to encourage curiosity but science experiments (a la Steve Spangler’s books) are a favorite with us these days.  READ MORE

Best Gifts for Kids: Think Outside the Toy Box

Transformers, Legos and Little Ponies are on the top of my kids’ Christmas lists and Santa will bring a few brand-name toys this year but I’m also seeking gifts that my kids haven’t thought of yet. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest toy marketing but here are some of what I think are the best gifts for kids to spark your imagination (and your child’s) to try something new. READ MORE