Monday, December 29, 2008

Healthy Foods for Under $1

Tara Parker-Pope's article, "Healthy Foods for Under $1," on December 29th provides a list of 20 foods for under a dollar. A great way to get kids thinking about healthy recipes for their own cooking projects as part of a Montessori at home (or school) project! Plus, you can use the list as a starting point for the shopping list that your child can help put together. The combination of healthy and economical gives children a wonderful outlook on food shopping, cooking, and eating!

Read the article here on the New York Times website.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New York Times Online: Beyond Cupcakes - Children in the Kitchen

Beyond Cupcakes - Children in the Kitchen is a Dec 8th, 2008, article that I just found by Tara Parker-Pope. It's a fabulous discussion of the merits of including children of all ages in food preparation. Since this is very much in line with the Montessori approach, I wanted to share the quote below and encourage everyone to check out the article itself.

...In one study by researchers at Teachers College at Columbia University, nearly 600 children from kindergarten to sixth grade took part in a nutrition curriculum. In addition to the regular lessons about healthful eating, some of them took part in cooking workshops.

Their role in cooking appeared to make them less picky eaters. When children were involved in cooking their own foods, they were more likely to eat those foods in the cafeteria, and even ask for seconds, than children who had not had the cooking class.

“It’s the act of being involved in the cooking of it that is both engaging and a little more intense than just being told about it,” said Isobel Contento, nutrition education professor at Teachers College and a co-author of the study. “It definitely improved their eating patterns.”

Harriet Worobey, director of the Rutgers University Nutritional Sciences Preschool in New Brunswick, N.J., has seen firsthand how involving a child in food preparation helps overcome fussy eating habits.

In her classrooms, the children use picture-based recipes to make simple foods like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sandwiches and snowman crackers. Because parents tend to focus on dessert-oriented cooking, she said, they do not realize how much their children (even middle-schoolers and teenagers) want to be in the kitchen helping prepare a family meal.

“Kids love doing things in the kitchen — you don’t have to twist their arms,” Ms. Worobey said. “If you teach your child to cook at an early age, guess what? They’re eventually going to cook dinner for you.”

Ms. Worobey points out that cooking also helps children achieve many developmental milestones. They learn to follow directions in the right order, complete an activity and see how tasks can be broken down into small parts. They also develop patience as they wait for food to cook, and get quick gratification when they taste a food.

“It’s going to stimulate all their senses,” she said. “And it also utilizes math skills and reading skills.”...

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Save Handmade Toys

I found this important and timely article on the Cool Mom Picks site and wanted to share it with all of you:

We need your help to save handmade toys in the US, Europe and Canada from the CPSIA.

We interrupt the tidings of comfort and joy to bring you some heartbreaking news.

Of course we're all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, the CPSC passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust. The very same ones that we often feature here and in our Safer Toy Guide.

They will all go out of business. Period.

Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their toys. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single chemical in them still don't have a single chemical in them.

In other words, handmade toys will now be illegal.

So many of our past reviewees are pleading for your help. Here's what you can do:

-Find your congress person and senators and write a letter like the sample here, particularly if they serve on the consumer protection subcommittee.
-Send a letter directly to the CPSC.
-Join the Handmade Toy Alliance and check out their proposed changes to the act which make a whole lot of sense.
-Spread the word to everyone you know who cares about helping the little guy, particular in today's economy.

This thoughtful article was authored by the CMP staff on Dec 9th, 2008.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New: Mandarin Chinese for Children on CD-ROM

Yay! Our first Mandarin Chinese CD-Rom for children is finally ready for sale. And just in time for the holidays.

The program includes four interactive bilingual lessons on Adobe Flash to teach beginning words and how to write these characters. A great program that lets children hear the word in Chinese while the character is being drawn on the screen. Button controls let children zoom ahead quickly or review the word over again.

We also included several sets of printable flash cards that were created in conjunction with Lori at Montessori for Everyone. These beautiful bilingual color flash cards are perfect for home or school!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cool Mom Picks

If you have yet to check out Cool Mom Picks, it's a super fun and up-to-date site with tons of shopping and browsing material for the holidays.

We have been occasional advertisers on the site, too!