• The Smart Walnut Archive

    It’s the first rainy day we’ve had in weeks, and somehow, it’s oddly comforting. Staying indoors practically forces me to hunker down, brew a cup of tea and watch the raindrops fall. And yet, when you add kids to that equation, it suddenly becomes a different story. Lucky for us, my 6-year-old had a puppet-making class at our local library this morning that helped save the day. On our way out, we stopped by a table of books featuring kids’ crafts, an ideal way to extend the creative experience back at home. While we perused several noteworthy recommendations, nothing comes close to the recent book I received for review. The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes and Dances for Young Children is teeming [&hellip

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    In our house, losing baby teeth means big business…and I’m talking about the Tooth Fairy making sure she has enough funds to satisfy the expectant child! Imagine how much easier life would be if a kid would rather forgo his cash reward and hang onto his lost tooth as his prize. Such is the premise of The Tooth Fairy Wars, a picture book that challenges kids to think outside the mouth, so to speak. The story revolves around a young boy named Nathan who’s determined to keep his missing teeth, no matter what the Tooth Fairy says or does. Page after page, he attempts to outsmart her with a series of seemingly clever antics…but is only met with disdain as she manages to one-up him. [&hellip

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    When my husband was a kid, he liked to watch “Inspector Gadget.” He may have thought the adventures alone were cool, but personally, I think he was mesmerized by his watch, which could do just about everything under the sun. If ever we thought those kind of gadgets were a long way off, well, let’s just the say that the future is now. VTech’s Kidizoom Smartwatch is probably the hardest-working timepiece we’ve ever seen. Ever the multitasker, this wristwatch boasts a miniature camera for taking photos and making videos, four games to play on the go, and (our favorite) a voice recorder with five voice changing effects (bet Inspector Gadget would have loved that). Kids will love to dress up their pix with personalized picture [&hellip

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    “Tempus fugit,” my grandfather used to say. For those unschooled in Latin, the expression means time flies, with the implication that you’re having fun, of course. I wish I could say this is the case for my 6-year-old, but she’s already crying the boredom blues…and it’s only the second week of summer vacation! When I tell her we’re heading to the beach, she reminds me that we “did that already.” To the library? “I already have enough books.” (Not a phrase I could personally ever relate to.) Well, since this kid has her eye on the clock more than any summer-loving child every should, the least she could do is learn to tell time….and I don’t mean the digital way! Later this month, Maple Landmark [&hellip

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    Does your kid love Peg+Cat as much as mine do? My 6-year-old admittedly enjoys it more than her big sister, but they still both relish the opportunity to help Peg complete her mission du jour. Even in real life, we make a big deal about finding ways to make things work, from short-cutting a recipe, to fashioning a replacement part for a craft project. If you’re particularly proud of a recent accomplishment, why not share it with other like-minded parents? PBS Kids is hosting a Peg+Cat Problem Solver of the Week. Each Monday, fans are asked to visit the Peg+Cat Facebook page submit an answer to the question, “What problem did your child solve this week?”, along with their child’s first name, photo and hashtag [&hellip

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    In just a few short weeks, I’ll have a kindergartner graduate home for the summer. She’s learned so much this past year, and I can only imagine how much she’ll absorb once first grade starts up. Because our school district has a half-day kindergarten program, we supplemented her education with an enrichment program a few days a week: a great way of extending the learning and enabling her to grasp new concepts not covered by the Common Core. Sure, summer gives us a breather when it come to the frenetic pace of the daily grind, but I like to think my kids can still maintain an education outside of the classroom, even when they’re not hitting the books. If you find yourself looking for ways [&hellip

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    My kindergartner has found her latest heroine: PBS Kids’ Peg+Cat. If you’re not already familiar with the precocious preschooler, she and her sidekick kitty are often on the quest to solve the problem du jour–and with a sense of humor intact. Beginning this week, four new episodes will air that feature the dynamic duo on their latest problem-solving adventures. Because Peg+Cat finds creative ways to make math more engaging for its young viewers, you can expect plenty of problem-solving puzzlers in these episodes. Highlights include “The Arch Villain Problem,” during which alter egos Super Peg and Cat Guy must defend the make-belief city of Mathtropolis, and “The Long Line Problem,” one that envisions the joy being first in line (every parent’s dream!). No matter what [&hellip

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    How will you and your family be celebrating Earth Day? For starters, we’ll be filling up on water from the tap instead of stocking up on those fancy-schmancy bottles that come in super packs bigger than our car. We’re also gearing up to plant our annual garden, one that’s been on hiatus in the last few years but that we’re determined to start up again (can’t wait for that fresh mint scent that wafts through the open windows…). And naturally, we’ll be tuning into a special episode of WordGirl airing on PBS Kids, April 22nd (check your local listings for times). We like this show in general because it proves that reading is cool, even for superheroes. In honor of Earth Day, the show’s monthly [&hellip

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    We always get psyched when TV shows make their debut. For the grown-ups, we’re head over heels for True Detective and holding our breath for Believe. For the kiddos, there’s a slew of new educational and entertaining TV series coming to Nickelodeon later this year/early 2015, with plenty of crowd-pleasing choices for your favorite preschooler. (We’re particularly excited for the latest Fresh Beat installment!) Here’s the scoop on what to watch and when: ·         Dora and Friends: Into the City!  is set in a fictional, pan-Latino city, where Dora is 10 years old, in school and at the center of a group that works together to give back to the community. This show aims to teach Spanish and introduces new educational areas to the curriculum, [&hellip

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    My kindergartner came home from school recently with yet another tale of a classmate. The same kid who called her “stupidhead” last week wrote “big blue butt” during sentence-writing time…not exactly what their teacher had in mind, I’m sure. I saw my 9-year-old stifle a giggle when her sister shared the story. And so it begins (sigh…). As any parent knows, calling other kids names is a big no-no, but it’s hard for little ones to discern between which words are right vs. wrong, especially when the result of your actions is laughter throughout the classroom. One mom has set out to change all this and (hopefully) put an end to fresh talk or, at the very least, discourage it. Tapping into her own experience [&hellip

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