Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Tech Thursday: When Junior’s Website is Monetized

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

It’s Thursday! That means it’s time to talk tech. Today’s kick off topic is a great one. The other day Heather told me about a 13 year old who is making a fair bit of money a month in google ads on his website. (more…)

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Posted in Technology | 1 Comment »

The Arts and Why We Need Them

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Last night I watched Real Time with Bill Maher. I’d never seen his show before, aside from a clip or two here or there.

During the show there was an exchange between guest Bill T Jones who said, “The arts are as important as roads and hospitals” and Bill Maher who said, “No, they’re not.” Then there was a pundit who agreed with Bill and said that the government shouldn’t fund the arts (I assume she was referring to the NPR/pbs political drama). She further went on to say, we should show our appreciation of the arts with our pocketbooks and teach our kids about them at home, not expect schools to.

Ask anyone working in the arts and they’ll tell you that the arts are the first to go when times get tough. They’re not considered essential. They’re considered, as Bill Maher put it, “a diversion.” (more…)

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Posted in Ideas and Inspiration | 11 Comments »

Interview with Meg Rosker of Let Children Play!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Today I want to introduce you to someone. She’s a play advocate who is helping beat the Playvolution drum. Her name is Meg Rosker and you may know her from this NY Times article, or perhaps her Back to Basics: All of Us Need Play and Recess article on Mamapedia or, you may have seen her post Throwing the First Punch igniting conversations on Twitter and Facebook feeds everywhere.

Meg was kind enough to agree to an interview so you guys could get to know her, the work she’s doing and the very real need to bring on the Playvolution! Do you guys like that? I threw it together and I’m making it stick, or at least trying to anyway.

Enough of my rambling, let’s meet Meg!



You are a champion for play. How did you arrive here?

When I realized that my life was influential upon not only the lives of my children, but on the lives of millions of other children as well, I saw how important it was that I took action to advocate for play. This is something that all children everywhere have in common. They all need to play.


The Playvolution has started to take off recently. But there have been those championing it for years. Who do you look to or read for inspiration?

Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids is my biggest inspiration. She took a risk to stand up for what she knew was true. Children need to explore and find themselves independent of adults looking over their shoulder. She took the risk of being dubbed “America’s worst mom” because she knew she needed to reach out to all families. She receives a lot of ridicule at times, but she has consistently advocated for our kids in a world that spends a lot of time worrying and being fearful, rather than molding responsible, happy citizens. She could have simply taken care of her own children, but instead she reached out to all families in America so their kids could have the same freedom in their lives that her own children experienced.


What can parents do to address their children’s developmental need to play?

It is the parent’s responsibility to encourage and reward their children as they express themselves in their own, unique way.


What were your favorite playtime activities as a kid?

I imagined myself being my dreams. I spent a lot of time day dreaming and pretending in the backyard. I used to dream I was Barbara Streisand or Audry Hepburn. Other days I would speak in a British accent in the grocery store to my mother. I danced in the backyard to the Beach Boys, made berry and mud soup in the yard with friends, I dressed up the cat and pushed him around in a baby carriage and even played dentist with the dog.


What are your favorite playtime activities with your kids today?

I bring out a lot of inventive possibilities for them to play with and then see what they are interested in at that particular moment. Sometimes it’s a box of cars, modeling clay or blocks. Other times it may be playing with pots and pans filled with water or flour or both. My son enjoys dressing up as characters from history, like a civil war soldier or a knight. All my kids love to play babies by putting pillows in the laundry baskets and laying down inside. They get pretty inventive!


What role do you see parents playing in bringing back play?

They have to stand up to the so called “experts” that say play isn’t important. The research is out there and our experience as parents tells us that play time and children are forever linked. Play time is a valuable learning time, not to take a backseat to other academics.


What role do you see schools playing in bringing back play?

Their role is to initiate parents to stand up and speak out. Schools aren’t doing a lot right now. Their resistance is the catalyst to move the play movement forward.


Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?

Parents have to believe that they have a right to speak out. They feel that the people they entrust to educate their children know more than they do. In certain areas this may be correct, but the area of play is where educators today fall far short of the mark, to the point of harming or restricting the natural development of our children. As it is the right and obligation for every citizen to vote, it is the right and obligation of every parent to speak out.




Meg Rosker is a play advocate, mother, writer and former public school teacher. She lives with her three kids on the beach in Florida. She writes at



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And Now the News

Friday, February 18th, 2011

A week that started out with a celebration of love ends with spring time weather. This, my friends, makes me positively giddy. It’s also given me a touch o’ the spring fever. I’m not breaking out the flip flops yet, but just let’s say, I may be dusting them off.

Let’s get right to it shall we? Here’s all the news that’s fit to click—the fun, the educational and the all-about-me links (purely for vanity’s sake I assure you).

He’s calm. He’s cool. He’s collected. And he understands the importance of public broadcasting. Heck yeah, I’d be his neighbor.

from Nilsen Life
I’d say they’re totally transferable skills. Preparing for re-entry.

from aMuse Toys
Yes, I shall take a case of these!

from joyababy
Swoon and love. That’s all you need to know—swoon and love.

from Small for Big
I just want to climb into this happy picture and have a picnic.

from Charlotte’s Fancy
I am a complete and total sucker for poster propaganda. Especially, when it involves m’veggies.


images: Victory Garden of Tomorrow


And here’s a look at what’s going on in the play revolution…

Can play help close the achievement gap?

It was worth the watch for many things, but in particular, this line at the end, “When children are just playing, just doing the everyday things they’re doing, what they’re really doing is a bunch of experiments to figure out how the world works.” Thanks Made by Joel Facebook Fan page for the link.



Before I go, here’s where you’ll find me hanging out these days…

Stop the presses! This really is an amazing deal.
And no, it’s not for an ipad.

Talking tech: if you can’t beat ‘em, maybe pick up a controller and join ‘em.

I’m going to try to squeeze all I can out of this one, obviously: I make my first video debut. (this one really is just pure vanity isn’t it?)


Well folks, that’s it. Hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend! See you on Monday, when we should have some new updates in our spy play series.

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Posted in News | 4 Comments »

Reliving Childhood

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

We’ve been having a great deal of fun over on the Ellie Bellie Kids facebook fan page recalling things we loved to play when we were little. We’ve talked about writing newsletters, playing orphanage, even dressing up poodles as nurses (thanks for that one Dawn!).

And then someone wrote, “this feels like therapy.” And you know what, it kind of does. Except you won’t feel like reaching for a box of tissues and it makes you feel light and jaunty afterward.

So I thought, hey, let’s move the therapy session over here. Let’s begin, shall we?

Background: A recent play report came out that said most parents have forgotten how to play. Now this is no shocker. I’m a parent myself and know exactly what it’s like. But rather than go the whole, why have we lost the ability to be playful? Let’s start with something much MUCH more fun! Let’s start with taking a look at when we were.

I’ll start:



Okay when I was a kid, there are a few activities that I remember very fondly: 1. Turning the couch around and making it into my own news desk (naturally news cast followed) 2. Creating commercials for Quackers Cereal (it was part of a school project where we had to come up with our own products and a commercial for it using a persuasion technique—I chose spokesperson: a duck puppet was involved) and 3. dressing up with my brother and putting on performances for my mom.

Now it’s your turn: What were some of your favorite playtime activities?

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Posted in Ideas and Inspiration | 2 Comments »

Winter Carnival

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

School closed? Stuck indoors? Kids driving you batty? Have them create their own Winter Carnival.




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Posted in Games & Creative Play, Parties & Celebrations | Comments Off

Year of Play: Play with Your Food!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

How should we begin the year of play? Let’s start by playing with our food!




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Posted in Cooking | 2 Comments »

Links You’ll Want to Bookmark

Friday, January 7th, 2011


Today on Twitter, some friends* sent me links that deserve, nay, begged to be passed on. Bookmark them, save them in your tabs, do whatever works for you, but set aside some time tonight to read them.

The first is a New York Times article about the movement to restore play. It’s given me a great deal of hope for the future and is a must read for any family.

Next up is a piece inhabitots did on Digital Story Telling. You know how I love some good storytelling exercises. And this is especially timely as my daughter dreams of producing a craft show for kids.

And last up is a piece about how children give parents the power to change. I found it inspiring and loved the positive view of the parent/child dynamic.

Before I go, I want to leave you with this observation: last night, one of the news programs dedicated an episode to celebrity diets, and today Gywneth’s Goop arrived in my inbox praising a cleanse/detoxifying diet for the new year.

This year, I say we make a resolution to commit to cleanse and detoxify something that has a real and meaningful impact on our future—our children’s play.


*A very special thank you to Erica and Molly for the links.

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Posted in News | 2 Comments »