Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nelson Mandela May Your Legacy Live On

Nelson Mandela

July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013 

Few things make the life of a parent more rewarding and sweet as successful children. -- 
Letter to Amina Cachalia, written on Robben Island, March 3, 1981

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Make a Care Package for the Less Fortunate and Enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sometimes families can get caught up with all the hoopla surrounding the holiday and lose sight of the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  Daily Candy reminds us of a way to stay on track in their video.   In this article they expounded on their project.

"Make a care package for the less fortunate
By Lauren Lumsden

It’s easy for littles to lose track of what’s important when Monster High and Ugglys dolls are in their sights. 

Restore their sense of gratitude this holiday by assembling a care package for those less fortunate. In today’s video, we show you what to include (we called a bunch of homeless shelters to find out what they needed most), how to put it together, and where to take it in major U.S. cities.

Of course, we also urge you to remember those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Right now, monetary donations to American Red Cross, Oxfam, and ShelterBox are still the best way to help.

By teaching your kids the value of giving now, you ensure they keep doing it as they grow.
And that’s something to behold."

I hold heartedly agreed with them.  Also I think this might be a fun way to add a new tradition to your holiday celebrations, ask each guest to bring an item and create a basket for a good cause. The hosting family can pick the theme.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanksgiving: The Family Dinner Project

The aim of The Family Dinner Project is to bring more food, fun and conversation to the dinner table. They believe that connecting with the family and sharing with others will help develop children who are happy, resilient, responsible adults. Check out their website for tips on foods, conversation starters, and support.  This year they are asking families to have a special day after Thanksgiving to have a special conversation on giving with their families.

They are participating in a campaign called Giving Tuesday to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving a national day of giving.

Happy Thanksgiving! Share the joy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Mother Company Helping Parents Address Safety Needs

Keeping our children safe is a concern of all parents.  The Mother Company is helping parents address these concerns with books and videos that are both entertaining and educational. Creators Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter of The Mother Company have created a new video, The Safety Show.  According to Daily Candy, "The 40-minute show mixes live action, music, quirky stop-motion, and lovely French animation to teach smart habits (if you need help, find a mom with kids; pay attention to that “uh-oh” feeling) and give parents conversation starters."  Available via DVD ($15) or download ($12) at

Their video above, The Boss of My Body featuring Marlee Hightower empowers young people with music and a catchy tune. The Mother Show also has live events.

Return to Children's Focus website.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Tour MOMA with Their Latest Children's Book, Young Frank, Architect

Until the Museum of Modern Art start their fall programs, families may enjoy reading their latest children's book,  Young Frank, Architect.  Later they can use this new book as a reference for their next tour of the museum to discover the works of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. The book also give ideas to try at home.  

Here is MOMA's description of Young Frank, Architect.

"This whimsical children’s book by award-winning author and illustrator Frank Viva explores MoMA's collection through the adventures of Young Frank, an aspiring architect, who lives in New York City with his grandfather, Old Frank, also an architect. Young Frank likes to use anything he finds—macaroni, pillows, toilet paper, shoes—to make buildings that twist, chairs with zigzag legs, and even entire cities. But Old Frank disapproves, saying architects only create buildings.

One day they visit The Museum of Modern Art, where they see work by architects Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many others, and Old Frank learns that architects can do more than he thought. The Franks go home and create structures of every shape and size, using whatever they can get their hands on, even cookies. At the end of the day, Young Frank feels a little older, and Old Frank feels a little younger—and a little wiser." 

To preorder a copy visit MOMA.

Return to Children's Focus website.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Dance Salsa

How to Dance Salsa with Baila Society from Alvin Ailey on Vimeo.

It's summer time, and are you ready to move! Alvin Ailey tries to help you get your Latin grove on with a little help from Baila Society.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The New York Public Library Presents New Free Exhibition: ‘The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter’

For centuries, children’s books have introduced young people to the art of storytelling and sparked their imaginations. Now a new exhibition, The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter at The New York Public Library explores children’s literature and its crucial role in educating and entertaining readers of all ages while shaping and chronicling society and culture. The exhibition reminds us not only that each generation has their own favorite books that speaks to them but also the story of children’s books has a fascinating history.  

More than 250 items from the Library’s collections will help explore the history and impact of children’s literature, and for some this will be a trip down memory lane. The curator, Leonard S. Marcus tries to connect the dotes between the different ideologies that have coexisted in the realm of children's literature from the romantic vision of allowing children to explore their imagination to the more practical view of providing a message to encourage children to be better citizens of the planet. Many of the New York Public Library’s treasures will be showcased: the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that belonged to Alice Liddell, the child for whom Lewis Carroll wrote it; a rare 1666 illustrated children’s edition of Aesop’s fables that survived the Great Fire of London; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family copy of Mother Goose, with annotations stating some passages were too scary to read to their children; the manuscript of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden; Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers’s parrot-head umbrella; recordings of E.B. White reading excerpts of Charlotte’s Web;  the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals; comics; copies of The Little Golden Book series (remember The Poky Little Puppy) and an array of other children's favorites.

Find out why children's books matter and other important questions in this new exhibition which, will run from June 21, 2013 until March 23, 2014 at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.  for more information visit their website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

How to Make A Play Street

Summer is here, and play streets are a special part of summer fun for children and everyone. If your favorite neighborhood block has never enjoyed a play street, Jules and Martha tell you how to get started. Thanks to ioby. Return to Children's Focus

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Mom, Style Icon

While we are celebrating Mother's Day here is a different look at moms from
Piper Weiss.  Her book was published a couple years ago but can still inspire you to think about Mom in a new way. Maybe, you will discover that your mom is also a fashionable icon.

"Moms are people, too...fashionable people! Before we came along to yank on their skirts, they showed leg, sported killer bangs, and flaunted bikinis. Some even wore feathers and halter tops and drove around on motorcycles. Was their style shocking? Yes. Covetable? Absolutely. Based on Piper Weiss's hugely popular blog of the same name, this book features 200 color photographs from decades past of moms showing us how it’s done. A perfect gift for mothers, daughters, and style mavens, My Mom, Style Icon is an entertaining celebration of the very first—and most important—style icon in a young woman's life."

Piper Weiss is a humor and culture writer, as well as an editor. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The Mom Song for Mother's Day

So this is the way we sound. That is why we need a good sense of humor.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Celebrate Urban Creativity with Ideas City 2013

IDEAS CITY 2013 from IDEAS CITY on Vimeo.

This week celebrate Ideas City 2013.  IDEAS CITY explores the future of cities around the globe with the belief that arts and culture are essential to the vitality of urban centers, making them better places to live, work, and play. Founded by the New Museum in 2011, IDEAS CITY is a major collaborative initiative between hundreds of arts, education, and community organizations. This year’s theme is Untapped Capital, with participants focused on resources that are under-recognized or underutilized in our cities.

IDEAS CITY is a biennial Festival in New York City of conferences, workshops, an innovative StreetFest around the Bowery, and more than one hundred independent projects and public events.
Visit to plan your visit, and connect on Twitter @IDEASCITY.
Directed by Lucas Borras / Creative Director: Carlota Santamaria
Music: Jorge R-Escudero

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Frog and the Princess

This weekend I took my nieces Shakina and Yonina to Broadhollow Theatre in Elmont to see their version of Disney's Princess and the Frog.  This was part of  celebrating Shakina's birthday and also to celebrate the fact that we made it through a rough winter.  In February I spent a total of two weeks in the hospital with both girls during their bout with asthma. The first week at Shakina's request, the hospital staff brought in the  DVD for the Princess and the Frog which she played and played and played.  The next week with Yonina, she made the same request so the Princess and the Frog stayed on continuous rotation. I think I must have seen the story over a hundred times.  But after two weeks I think we bonded around the story of Tiana, Princess Naveen,  Mama Odie, and all the other characters. So when Mocha Moms in Queens ( a support group for moms of color)  invited us to see the theater version we were game. So my little princesses donned their crowns and off we went to the theater.  Of course, we knew all the songs, plots and characters by heart but the girls were enthralled to see the story live on stage. After the performance the excitement continued when they got to meet the actors or characters (as they saw them). Finally they had to be bribed to leave the theater with a promise of pizza. Now I still hearing them talking and planning how they can get back to the theater next week because you can never get enough of The Princess and the Frog. Help!

Broadhollow Theater located at 700 Hempstead Turnpike at the Elmont Memorial Library will be performing The Frog and the Princess through April 3 and other kid friendly performances until May. Call 516.775-4420. They also have performances for children at Bayway Arts Center -265 East Main St., East Islip. Call 631-581-2700.

Also check out Elmont Memorial Library's Children's Room. They have a play room that looks like fun with lots of activities for children.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Spring Tweet from Daily Candy

Celebrate  the first signs of Spring with Daily Candy's DIY project.

"Celebrate the return of the birds.  Looking for signs of spring? Then bird is the word. Attract a flock to your backyard with a tree full of cookie cutter bird feeders. This simple, kid-friendly DIY uses water, gelatin, and birdseed to make a welcome-home feast for our winged friends.  Once the feeders are dry, gather your chickadees and hang your creation from your porch, deck, or tree with string.  And then look to the sky."

For more information and more fun projects visit  Daily Candy.

Return to Children's Focus website.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Drive Right In - A Creative Twist on Movie Night

It’s the weekend and the winter chill has you indoors now what to do with the kids. How about a Drive In Movie Night?  Thanks to Daily Candy for this creative twist idea. Parents and children make their own little box cars to watch their favorite movie. So let the creative juices flow.  See their video at Daily Candy.  Don’t forget the popcorn, hot chocolate and a good classic movie.  Maybe, pick a theme like old fun movies like Annie, The Wizard of Oz,  Baby’s Day Out, The Goonies, or Back to the Future.  Or you can chose newer picks like Tangled, Ice Age or my favorite Up!.  If you need help deciding on a movie try these sites Kids First Film Festival and Parents.  Does your family have a favorite movie?

Return to Children's Focus website

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ella's Wool Helps Brooklyn's Children Stay Warm

Saga Merion Wool Dress

I am always looking for ways to keep the children warm during these long winter months so it was nice to discover Ella's wool. When family would visit from the UK, I always noticed how much warmer and durable their children's clothes were. Vibeke Kvan Johansen who is from Norway also noticed that the children's clothes were not the same when she moved to Brooklyn from her homeland. She wondered why children were not playing in the park during the  winter.  After some inquiry, she realized that children in Brooklyn did not have the warm woolen undergarments that her children had. This sparked her idea for her children's clothing line bringing Nordic knitwear brands to the United States. These brands use Merino wool in their clothing. Beside being very warm, wool from merino sheep is known for its incredible softness and its non-itch quality, so it’s ideal even for babies' sensitive skin.  Now her goal is to keep kids across America warm. Visit Ella's Wool to learn more.

Return to Children's Focus website.

Toddler Story Time: Mosholu Library

 Librarians have influenced generations of children to enjoy reading. As a young child, I have fond memories of  Story Time at the Cypress Hills Library in Brooklyn.  With all the dire predictions that books will not be around much longer, it's great to hear Tiffany James' story about the work librarians are doing and the enjoyment young children still get from books. Tiffany is a librarian at the Mosholu Library in the Bronx, New York.

"There are many joys to being a librarian, especially a children's librarian. From children's hugs to say thank you, laughter when you read aloud a silly story, dancing and singing to songs such as "Shake Your Sillies Out" or "If You're Happy and You Know It." There's the excitement of a child who gets their first library card or the child on a class trip to the library who exclaims "wow" when they are introduced to the many wonderful resources one building can hold.

And of course I can't forget the lovely parents who bring me flowers, cookies, and chocolate. These simple joys make being a humble librarian worth it. Yet sometimes there is someone who goes the extra mile to say thank you and I appreciate what you do. This came recently when a patron who has been coming to the library for several years presented me with a lovely gift. A beautiful handmade quilt was given to me, perhaps one of the best gifts I have received. Along with the quilt was something even more beautiful, a hand written card to say "thank you" along with the following quote,

"At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross the threshold, that magic threshold into the library, we change their lives forever, for the better."

—President Barack Obama (then Senator Obama)

What a pick me up! Perhaps my work is not in vain. The perks of being a librarian range on so many levels, but this was the icing on the cake.

Thank you to everyone who appreciates what librarians do.

The quilt now proudly hangs in the children's room at the NYPL, Mosholu Library."

Photograph by Tiffany James

Return to  Children's Focus website

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Google Science Fair 2013 has launched!

Google Science Fair 2013 – It’s Your Turn to Change the World
Calling all parents and teachers here is info for the budding scientists in your life from
Google.  Watch the video and be inspired.

The Google Science Fair 2013 has launched!

We are pleased to announce that the Google Science Fair 2013 in partnership with CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, is now LIVE!
Students aged 13 - 18 from around the world are invited to ask questions and answer them through science experiments with a chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences, scholarships and real-life work opportunities.
This year we are accepting entries in English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Hebrew, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese (BR), Korean, or Chinese (Hong Kong or Taiwan). Note that some additional eligibility requirements may apply in your country; check the Official Rules for details.
Go to to find out more information, and follow us on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date.

Register now or tell your kids about it...
It's your turn to change the world

The Google Science Fair Team

 Return Children's Focus website

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hot Chocolate Festival 2013

There is no better way to chase the cold  winter blues than to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. So it is quite appropriate that City Bakery-  3 West 18th Street, New York, NY has their Hot Chocolate Festival in February. Warm up with exotic concoctions with names like Happy Hot Chocolate, Spicy Fig Hot Chocolat, Ode to the Polar Bear, Expresso Hot Chocolate and Tropical Hot Chocolate.

For hot chocolate lovers who can't make it to the festival, many specialty restaurants and shops are offering a home version of their own brand of  hot chocolate. Check out

Sarabeth's offers their hot chocolate at their restaurants and online.

Godiva Chocolate has a milk chocolate cocoa and dark chocolate cocoa.

Jacque Torres - 350 Hudson Street, NY at King St. stop in for cup of very rich hot chocolate or visit online.

Return to Children's Focus website.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teacher's Lesson Plans are A Million Dollar Hit

Deanna Jump is one of those creative dedicated teachers who could have gone unsung if it where not for Teachers Pay Teachers.  Finding ways for teachers who are dedicated to their work get compensated is a wonderful idea.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where is Matt?

Get the kids, turn up the volume and start moving.  Dancing is a great way to start the New Year!  Where ever Matt goes, he is having a good time!  Are you dancing yet?

Return Children's Focus

Monday, January 28, 2013

Family Literacy Day 15 Minutes of Fun

Now that it is cold and wintery outside keeping the kids occupied is a big challenge. Maybe, it's is time to cozy up with your favorite little people for some shared reading. Canada is celebrating Family Literacy Day, and encouraging parents to spend just 15 minutes reading to their children.  They also have a list of fun projects to try with children.

"In honour of Family Literacy Day’s 15th year, ABC Life Literacy Canada is encouraging Canadian families to have "15 Minutes of Fun" learning together. Learning can happen at any time. Practicing literacy together for just 15 minutes a day has tremendous benefits for both children and parents. Here are some great ways to get started:

  • Create your own comic strip about your family.
  • Invent two new endings to your favourite book.
  • Make up a new recipe together and post it online.
  • Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  • Sing five songs really, really loud!
  •  Invent a new game while playing at the park.
  •  Read a story to your pet (or favourite toy).
  • Make a paper fortune teller with eight fortunes.
  •  Write a silly poem and tell it to your family at dinner.
  • Log on to your favourite word game - can you beat your best score?
  • Create your family tree.
  • Play rhyming "I Spy" - "I spy something that rhymes with..."
  •  Play a board game together.
  • Text your friend and tell them about your holiday.
  •  Find 15 things that begin with the letter "S".

Visit ABC Life Literacy Canada for more information.

Return to Children's Focus

Friday, January 4, 2013