Each edition of Playdate magazine is on newsstands for about two months, and the October/November edition will be on newsstands for exactly 65 days. So here’s a list of 65 fun arts and crafts projects, kid-friendly recipes and easy activities that families can whip up in an afternoon or over a crisp fall weekend.
Sept. 21: National “Dog Week” is Sept. 19-25, so celebrate by making your dog homemade dog treats.
Sept. 22: Make quacky – ahem – whacky soap with a duck. Melt glycerin soap in microwave. (Look at the directions — one brand states to microwave on high for 40 seconds, with 10-second intervals. You can also use a double broiler.) Pour into disposable, rectangular plastic dish. Add a few drops of blue coloring and stir. Set squirt toy on top. Leave in cool, dry area to set (about 2-4 hours). Get sudsy!
Sept. 23: Bath time! Why not make your own bath salts? Combine 4 cups of fine sea salt, 1 ½ cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of course sea salt and throw in some essential oils. Vanilla, jasmine and sandalwood are exotic oils, while lavender, sweet orange, fennel and rosemary are soothing. Birch, ginger and peppermint oils can help relieve pain. Great too for parents who need rejuvenation!
Sept. 24: Great for a ‘tween girls spa day or slumber party: Make a facial scrub. Combine 1 cup almonds, 1 cup oatmeal and ½ oz. lavender. Put ingredients in blender (Mom or Dad, not the kids!) and grind until smooth. Mix with water or milk to make a paste and scrub face lightly for one minute (avoid eyes!). Rinse and pat dry. Then gossip all day about boys!
Sept. 25: Keep that toddler busy with an exploring set. Gather six 8-ounce water bottles, removing labels. Fill each bottle with something for baby to discover. Some ideas: a mix of water and glitter; or go snow globe style with tiny toys, water, glitter and a few drops of food coloring and glycerin; jingle bells; fluffy pom poms or dried beans. Once you’ve filled them all, glue the lids on tight for safety.
Sept. 26: Sept. 25-Oct. 1 is national “Keep Kids Creative Week!” Let’s write a haiku. Haikus are three lines, remembering the 5-7-5 rule: the first line contains five syllables, the second line features seven syllables, and the last line has five syllables. Here is an example: Playdate magazine / Celebrates the coming fall / Enjoy the season! Send us your kids’ haikus!
Sept. 27: Jot down words and ideas to create a story. Big ideas are fun, but the details can be daunting. Try helping your child make a list or jot down ideas in some form. You can transform these notes into a story later on. Provide details of a scene and explain thoughts, actions, and emotions. Focus on sensory details — the five senses — unless your child wants to venture down the path of exploring what a sixth or seventh sense might look like! (Perfect for Halloween!)
Sept. 28: Help your little bards. Write or type your child’s ideas down as he or she tells them to you. This teamwork might reduce pressure on your child to “complete” a book or story project on his or her own. Emphasize working together. This teamwork aspect will still allow your child to have a primary role in the creative process.
Sept. 29: Create your child’s own book. This can be out of standard paper, colored construction paper or a combination of both. Sometimes having a homemade book in hand is encouraging enough to get someone motivated to write down the ideas and see (and hold!) his or her own book!
Sept. 30: Create a ’zine or chapbook. If construction paper isn’t your thing, you can mix up the materials. Try a chapbook, or even a “’zine,” and be as artsy/crafty as you and your child want to be! Encourage your child’s imagination, so he or she can include drawings, photos, cutouts, stickers and so on to combine with words, sentences or an overall story. Here are some instructions on how to make a chapbook: www.pw.org/content/diy_how_make_saddlestitched_chapbook
Oct. 1: Today, believe it or not, is “World Card Making Day.” Make your own “Mandala” greeting cards. Gather the following materials:
• Old CDs (outdated software is a great source)
• Markers, pens, colored pencils or crayons
• Rulers, protractors or French curves
• Strathmore 5 x 7 blank greeting cards with deckled finish (Or something similar. Available at local art and stationary stores).
1) Take a used CD and recycled paper.
2) Have the kids practice tracing a circle on recycled copy paper with pen or pencil.
3) Ask them to offer you a fraction. (This is great for helping teach time with analog clocks.)
Most will offer “1/2″ or “1/4.” Demonstrate drawing those portion on your example sheet.
4) Ask the same question. Demonstrate breaking the large pattern into smaller patterns.
5) Don’t get too technical, just show them how to create patterns with a couple of fractions.
(Most of them catch on pretty quickly and want to start the card right away.)
6) Have the children explain to you their “plan” or “direction” from the recycled paper.
7) Now offer them the Strathmore greeting card. The CD fits on one side with the deckel (a colored strip of green or red that looks ‘ripped’)
Have at it! Depending on their level and patience, the possibilities are infinite.
For older kids, have them research “Serenpinski’s Triangle” and fractal math for ideas.
Oct. 2: Have little actors in your house? Act out a story. Dress up, make it a play and perform!
Oct. 3: Did we say cake pops? Yes we did. Here’s an easy recipe for a delicious and fun dessert:
Ingredients & Recipe:
~ 1 box cake mix (and necessary ingredients to bake it)
~ 1 container frosting
~ 12 to 16 oz candy melts or chocolate wafers; they have chocolate and colored. For best results, don’t use chocolate chips; they don’t harden & won’t create a very good shell.
(Wafers & melts are available locally at Cake Decorator Shoppe or Michael’s.)
~ sprinkles or candies to decorate
~ package of sticks for pops and bags if wrapping individually (Available locally at Cake Decorator Shoppe or Michael’s.)
•Bake cake of choice. Let cool completely. Cut into four sections, rub two sections together so they crumble. •Crumble entire cake into bowl. Mix in container of frosting.
•Roll dough into 1-inch balls and chill for 15 minutes.
•Microwave chocolate wafers according to package directions (Melt slowly, 30 seconds at a time, otherwise chocolate will burn).
•Insert sticks halfway into balls of dough.
•Chill 15 more minutes.
•Dip into chocolate and add sprinkles.
•Chill a few more minutes so chocolate sets & enjoy!
Oct. 4: Have a wood-burning fireplace? Make a fire starter out of egg cartons, shredded paper, lint, wax. Take a small handful of shredded paper and put it in the egg carton, then take a pinch of lint and put it on top of the paper. Make it compact. Melt wax from candles in a double broiler, and then pour a tablespoon of wax in each cup. (If you notice it begins to seep through the carton, that’s good! It will bind together.) This is a quick, messy and fun craft!
Oct. 5: It’s Balloons Around the World Day. Send a message attached to a balloon — write something inspiring to whoever may find it!
Oct. 6: Throw a “Merry Unbirthday” party to celebrate Mad Hatter Day. Make a cake, bake cookies, play games, dress up or have a tea party. Act goofy!
Oct. 7: Turn that frown upside down … it’s World Smile Day. Go outside and smile at everyone! See what happens and record your findings!
Oct. 8: Sing…sing a song…sing out loud…sing out strong! Make instruments with empty glass bottles, using sticks to make drums sounds and using your lips to blow into them for tones. Fill one bottle ¾ of the way from the top, one half full, the other only ¼ full, and one empty. Compare sounds. Change it up. Make music!
Oct. 9: It’s Leif Erikson Day, so make a boat. Take a piece of bark, insert a leaf with a stem, and let it sail!
Oct. 10: I’m on a boat! This time, make believe for Columbus Day. Make a boat out of cardboard boxes, a sailor’s hat out of newspaper, and sail the ocean blue in your imagination!
Oct. 11: Recycle those stubby crayons, Mom and Dad.
Classic version: Gather broken crayons, removing paper labels. Put about four full crayons’ worth of pieces into each cup of a muffin tin. Put tin in a 375-degree oven for about 6-7 minutes, then let cool. New fun crayons!
Fun version: Swirl colors with a toothpick when they come out of the oven. Or melt crayons in small cupcake cups in the microwave, then pour into candy molds for fun shapes! (But be careful-HOT!)
Oct. 12: Betcha’ didn’t know it, but today is International Top Spinning Day. Show off by making your own spin top with a toothpick and any plastic bottle cap. Puncture a small hole in the cap so the toothpick can fit snugly inside. Decorate the cap as you like it, and let the spin begin! Visit this link to see a video!
Oct. 13: It’s an oldie but a goody: build a fort. Use boxes, blankets, chairs and pillows. Make popcorn and enjoy a movie through an opening in the blankets, or take your laptop with you inside the fort to watch a movie. Invite the dog in, too. Make your fort as big, creative and elaborate as you can, and send us pictures!
Oct. 14: Two greats come together: eggs and Dr. Seuss. To celebrate World Egg Day, make green eggs and ham and read the Dr. Seuss book!
Oct. 15: Sweetest Day. Outdo everyone else in the house by being the sweetest of them all. Do a kind act or give someone a compliment. Make sweets for your friends, neighbors and family!
Oct. 16: Nothing quite tops a Yakima apple, so to commemorate World Food Day, try this crunchy sweet Apple Crisp recipe, courtesy of the folks at Fresh Taste Meals.
Ingredients & Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, gently fold together the following ingredients:
4 cups peeled sliced Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
•Spread apple mixture over the bottom of a large greased pan.
•In a medium bowl use your hands to combine the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups melted butter
•Crumble this mixture over the filling in the pan.
•Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the crumb mixture.
•Bake in oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Apple mixture will bubble and topping will be golden brown.
Oct. 17: Make a princess or a party hat! Get a circle to trace – the diameter of the circle determines the height of the hat. Trace the circle onto a sheet of pretty craft paper or poster board that’s not too thick to bend. Draw a “pie piece” into it that’s about a ¼ of the circle. Cut out the circle without the pie piece. If you used craft paper, roll into a cone and adhere with glue or strong tape. If you used poster board, you can cut the same shape out of material and glue the material onto the poster board before you roll into a cone. Decorate with pom poms, glitter, ribbon, artificial flowers, old jewelry or whatever you have on hand. Look adorable!
Oct. 18: Make a wand. Take a dowel or stick, wrap a ribbon around it, and tie ribbon around the top to make streamers. (Wave wand and practice saying “Bippity-boppity-boo!”)
Oct. 19: Let’s go camping…at home! If you have a fire pit, make s’mores. If not, use the microwave or grill in aluminum foil on the barbecue. Make up spooky stories around the fireplace and enjoy the treats.
Oct. 20: Fall Tree Print. This one is messy, so kids love it! Add brown finger paint to a paper plate, then dip child’s hand and wrist, palm down, into the plate. Have them make a hand/wrist print onto a big piece of white paper. That’s your tree. Then have them dip their fingers into plates of green, yellow, or orange paint, and use their fingerprints to make multicolored fall leaves.
Oct. 21: Got a pillow case? Make a costume with it! Cut a hole in the top and on the sides. Glue on buttons and ribbons.
Oct. 22: Mix up a ghoulish Halloween punch. Mix lemonade, a blueberry drink mix, ice cubes and gummy worms. You should get a lovely green “slime” color, and the gummy worms can either hang off the edge of the bowl or just be in the punch!
Oct. 23: Make a pumpkin man, man!
Oct. 24: Enroll your kids in Monster Fighter training. See story by Courtney Crutcher on how.
Oct. 25: This one’s gross…and your kids will love it. Make a meat head!
1 full-sized plastic human skull
1.5 lbs. thin-sliced deli meat (your choice!)
Cream cheese, BBQ sauce, or cranberry sauce (see below)
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, round mini-mozzarella pieces, or cocktail onions
2 slices of pimento-stuffed green olive
Instructions: 1. Buy a plastic skull. Wash the skull with soap and water and allow to dry.
2. Spread a “base” over the skull. BBQ sauce and jellied cranberry sauce give the skull a bloody, gory look as your guests lift away the lunch meat. Cream cheese is not as fun, but probably tastes better with most meats. This is entirely your choice.
3. Evenly distribute your lunch meat over the prepared skull, leaving openings at the eyes and mouth. Smallish pieces of meat work better than larger ones, as they’re easier to manipulate and form. You may need to use toothpicks to get some of the meat to stay in place.
4. For eyes, place one hard boiled egg yolk or small mozzarella cheese ball in each eye socket. Top with a slice of pimento-stuffed green olive.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Oct. 26: Make your own magnets — they’re so attractive! Get it?
Mix up a basic salt dough. (Recipe below or use your own.) Roll out the dough, having kids use leaf-shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Let them air dry (or bake, depending what type of recipe you use). Then just paint and glue magnets to the back. Perfect to hang school art on the fridge!
Salt Dough: In a big bowl, mix 1 cup salt and 2 cups flour together. Slowly add 1/2 cup of cold water and mix. Knead the dough on counter, adding a few more drops of water if needed, but don’t let it get gooey. Takes a day or so to dry.
Oct. 27: Make a regular ol’ red velvet cake into a VAMPIRE CAKE! Just color the frosting red too! (If you put raspberries in the middle, it’s kind of healthy.)
Oct. 28: Play the Gross Out/Guess What game to celebrate Frankenstein Friday. Place “mysterious” food items in paper bags and have kids guess which gross item it is. Grapes are good for eyeballs, cottage cheese for vampire vomit and spaghetti for zombie brains. UGH!
Oct. 29: Make a butterfly out of a regular empty coffee can. Wrap can in pretty craft paper; cut heart shaped “wings” from a different craft paper, taping to either side of the can; then tape strips of paper (or sticker strips) around the can; add eyes to the front and a smiley face. Put rocks, jelly beans or candy in the can, adding squiggly pipe cleaners for the antennae!
Oct. 30: Make a jack-o-lantern! Then send us photos!
Oct. 31: Mmm…caramel apples. Melt caramel (either caramel candies or make it from scratch) and dip apples (on a stick) in the caramel. Perfect since it’s National Caramel Apple Day (hey – and Halloween!). You can decorate them too. Or if you don’t have a lot of time, just dip slices of apples in melted caramel for a nice snack.
Nov. 1: Halloween may be over, but the fun doesn’t have to be … kids can dress up like a favorite super hero, doll or character and help mom and dad with chores!
Nov. 2: “Leaf” the candy in the house and get outside! After all those sweets, kids need some exercise. Rake up as many leaves then dive in the pile (you, too, Mom and Dad)! Breathe in the new November air!
Nov. 3: Grab some plain clay pots at a craft store and make simple hand-print decorations on the outside.
Nov. 4: Use tracing paper to trace all the different shapes and sizes of leaves in your own backyard or nearby park.
Nov. 5: Press fall leaves in a heavy book, wait until they’re dry, then make a colorful collage on construction paper.
Nov. 6: Head to a fabrics store to get materials for a “no sew” blanket, just in time for the chilly weather! These are easy to make, but you can find directions on our website!
No-Sew Fleece Blanket
Materials Needed: Fleece blanket, scissors, yardstick, ruler
1. Pick your fleece. You can pick a pattern for the front side and a matching fleece with a solid color for the back side, but any combination that you like will do. You will need 2 ½ feet of fleece material for each side of the blanket (this would make an adult 6 ft. blanket). OR: You will need 1 ½ ft. to 1 ¾ ft. of fleece material for each side of the blanket to make a kid-sized blanket.
2. Lay both pieces of the fleece, with the wrong sides facing each other, on a table, and cut off the rough edges. Cut both pieces of fabric at the same time to the same size. Make sure your edges line up together and handle the fleece gently, since it can stretch out of shape easily.
3. Cut a 4-inch square out of each corner of the fleece.
4. Go down each side of the fabric and make 1-inch cuts all along the borders. It may make it easier if you lay a yardstick across the side at the 4-inch so you know how far to make each cut. You may also use a ruler to mark off the one inch points where you cut. Make sure both sides of the fabric are laying together flat as you cut.
5. Once you have cut the 1-inch strips around all four sides, you are ready to tie the two pieces of fabric together. Taking the two strands together, raise them up and then bring them back through the circle, from the back to the front. Tie a firm, but not tight, knot. Once you have all of the strips tied, your project is done!
Nov. 7: Practice writing skills: start writing those letters to Santa Claus!
Nov. 8: Make a picture frame out of popsicle sticks. Take four popsicle sticks, glue them together to form a square, and color and decorate the sticks as you see fit. Glue a photo behind the frame, and glue a magnet on the back so you can hang on your refrigerator.
Nov. 9: Get that blood sugar up with this Yakima Apple Pie Snack Mix. Combine a couple of cups each of three different favorite cereals — we like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch — to a big bowl. Melt ¼ butter and add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp apple pie spice to it. Pour over cereal and mix up. Then cook, stirring often, in microwave another 3-4 minutes. Spread on wax paper to cool, then add 2 cups dried apple slices, plus your choice of walnuts, white choc chips, sunflower seeds or raisins. Enjoy in the fall sunshine!
Nov. 10: Choreograph a dance. Perform for friends and family. Involve props, music and costumes.
Nov. 11: Veterans Day. Make a patriotic wand or flag. See direction on Oct. 18, and modify to use red, white and blue colors.
Nov. 12: Make your own Playdough. You’ll need:
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon alum
2 cups boiling water
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix together the flour, salt and alum. Add boiling water, oil and coloring. Being careful of hot dough, kneed. Cool. Store in a plastic bag. Have fun!
Nov. 13: It’s International Tongue Twister Day. Read Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks. Or Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. No, stick to Fox in Socks.
Nov. 14: Craft a homework helper. Get an empty tin can, sanding the top edge for safety. Let kids cut out comic strips, toys from Sunday’s newspaper ads or tissue paper. Use Mod Podge to glue the paper on, adding a top layer to seal. If you want, add ribbon and tie a small favorite toy around the holder too. Now they have a great spot for pencils on their desks!
Nov. 15: …Or a chore money jar. Rinse out and dry an empty baby formula container. Decorate with fun papers and Mod Podge, similar to above. Cut a small slot in the top of the container to drop change through
Nov. 16: Help them organize their lockers, too, with a magnetic locker organizer. Use metal or plastic band-aid boxes, cover with craft paper and decorations (or just keep plain). Then add sheet magnets to cover the whole backside of the container. Just attach to the inside of locker.
Nov. 17: Another oldie but goodie…using any type of pretty paper, make paper snowflakes and put them in a bedroom window. Use lots of colors. You can find patterns on the Internet.
Nov. 18: It’s Mickey Mouse Day … make Mickey Mouse pancakes. Easy and delicious!
Nov. 19: Make your own Sidewalk Chalk. Coat the inside of an old ice cube tray with petroleum jelly. Mix up 1 cup plaster of paris and 1/2 cup of water in a disposable plastic container for about a minute. Quickly add a couple tablespoons of liquid tempera paint and mix. Scoop it into ice cube tray, and tap to make sure it packs in firm. Dry overnight before using.
Nov. 20: Go on a pinecone hunt! Get a few big ones for upcoming crafts. See what other cool things you can find (unusual leaves, colorful rocks, funny looking sticks, etc.).
Nov. 21: Make a pinecone bird feeder. Take a giant pine cone you found on the pinecone hunt on Nov. 20, and saturate it bird seed mixed with peanut butter. Take a string or ribbon and tie it around the top of the coated pinecone to hang on a tree branch, and watch the birds rejoice! (Just be sure to hang it high enough so it’s out of reach of the dog or the kids!)
Nov. 22: Make a pinecone turkey. After finding the pinecone of your choice, use either colored craft feathers, cut-out construction paper, or colorful pipe cleaners to create the tail feathers. For the turkey’s head, you have a few options: glue an acorn, add some googley eyes, cut out a piece of felt for the beak and gobbler (or use construction paper). There are plenty of other ways to decorate your turkey, so be as creative as you can!
Nov. 23: Make a clay turkey using your kids’ hands! Sculpey Clay works well, but use your own preference of baking or hardening clay. Squish the imprint of your child’s hand on a rolled-out piece of clay, and then use an Exacto knife and cut around the outside of the print. Cut out shapes for the turkey beak and gobbler and add to the thumb of the handprint. Bake clay according to what type of clay you have (follow directions with specific product you use). Let your kids paint the cooked product!
Nov. 24: Thanksgiving. Eat turkey! … and think about everything you’re grateful for. Practice your best gobbling imitation – without food in your mouth, of course!
Thank you to the many readers who contributed to this list: Jennifer Wolman, a stay-at-home mom and arts/crafts expert; Meagan Paullin, local mom and owner and creative director of Sunshine and Sippy Cups (sunshineandsippycups.com), Doug Johnson, director of Cave Moon Press and local teacher; Ryan Miller, Alex Mitchell, Kimberly Klepach and Yakima Herald-Republic staff members.
By Courtney Crutcher for Playdate magazine
I don’t have children. One day I will, but for the time being I have my amazing niece, Grace. Grace is the kind of niece that makes me question if my kids will ever compare … and her parents, my sister Megan and her husband Steve, are the type of people who make me wonder if I’ll measure up when I have little “nose pickers” of my own.
Steve is a Jack-of-all-trades. He can read a manual on how to build an engine and have it built within a week. He started his own wine label out of his garage 10 years ago and is now a successful business owner. And this is while working his normal full-time job. He’s a doer, a thinker, and an all around go-getter.
So, naturally, when Grace began having trouble sleeping due to monsters invading her closet, Steve came up with a plan.
A Monster Fighter plan.
Over the next few months, Grace learned the essentials of Monster Fighting. She had a manual listing the 10 different rules she would have to master in order to become a great Monster Fighter:
- Get lots of sleep!
- Try your best!
- You are always bigger than the monster!
- Have patience!
- You are always stronger than the monster!
- Always use first-time listening skills!
- Monsters are scared of you!
- Always speak with a happy heart!
- L, L, R, L (not the newest dance craze, but a special type of defense move)
- No matter what, ALWAYS be brave!
Of course, those rules also applied to her daily life as a growing young girl.
Each time Grace showed that she truly understood a rule, she would move on to the next. Some were easy; some were tough — such as having patience, and using first-time listening skills. But Grace took each of them just as seriously as she could.
With each rule learned she became more confident in her ability to fight those cruddy, stinky monsters. And funny thing: their visits to her closet became less frequent. But when they did come, boy was she ready.
After she had mastered all of the rules, Grace received her very own Monster Fighter Badge. It was bright and shiny and she was so proud of what she had accomplished.
She was so confident in her ability as a Monster Fighter that she began telling all of her friends in her kindergarten class. Her teacher even printed out the rules and posted them on the classroom wall so that all her friends could become Monster Fighters, too.
It was a craze that swept her class.
My amazing family is slowly showing me the ropes — I’ve got a major head start on parenting thanks to Steve and Megan. Now I’m off to fight the monsters, starting with Rule No. 1. It’s naptime.
By Robin Beckett
You might not believe that a restaurant can please both children and adults, but 2nd Street Grill in downtown Yakima manages to do that very thing. Take a gander inside during downtown Yakima’s monthly “First Fridays,” and you’ll see 2nd Street is a hotspot after hours (co-owner Pete Blue turns the bar into a dance floor at 10 p.m. and DJs himself). But well before that, when families are dining out, the place can be filled with kids of all ages.
When I go there during my lunch hour, I often enjoy the Chinese Chop salad ($11) … the chunks of teriyaki chicken are large, the Chow Mein noodles crispy, the cabbage and red peppers fresh and the sesame dressing just the right amount of sweet with sour. And in the spirit of Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes, it is big. It fills you up without making you wonder how you’re going to get out of the booth and to your car.
When my husband and I take our son to 2nd Street, inevitably to meet friends who also work downtown, I splurge on the Grill Burger ($10) or the English Pub Fish and Chips ($14). Both are delicious. If I’ve had a hard day, I add a half order of the Tuscan Nachos ($9), a crunchy combination of pasta chips, Italian sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone. …But only after a really bad day, I swear. Or if someone suggests it.
The kids menu is pretty typical, but it hits all the right spots with chicken strips, hamburger sliders and half a deli sandwich (all with fries) and chicken alfredo. Each item is $5. Kids can also get a mini root beer float for $3. The best part of the whole dinner is usually the fact that I get to sit an enjoy it, since the service is quite often fast and friendly, and the staff knows that kids get antsy, so juices and dinners need to come out lickety-split. During the short wait, however, kids get nice, new crayons (none of those short, stubby used ones!) and a menu to color. That can make the evening bliss. At least until bathtime.
2nd Street Grill • 28 N 2nd Street, Yakima
(509) 469-1486 • secondstreetgrill.com
By Dr. David Pommer for Playdate magazine
OK, I confess. I have not been a perfect role model about “screen time” with my patients and my family. But I think this is important to discuss as summer comes to a close and many of us retreat indoors.
What is screen time? The American Academy of Family Physicians defines this term as “watching television or DVDs, playing video or computer games and surfing the Internet.” A few years ago with patients, I would primarily ask about TV and video games, but now I need to inquire about cellphone screen time as well. As I will detail below, more screen time correlates with worse health.
Let’s take a quick self-assessment to see if this may be an issue with your family.
1) Do you use television as a baby sitter so you can get other things done at home?
2) Have you misplaced your library card months ago? … Or do you first check out the video section at your local library?
3) Do your children feel that happiness comes at Redbox?
4) Have you heard your child repeat a phrase in conversation that they likely heard from TV (for example, when I heard my son state “it’s fun for the whole family” when he wanted my wife and I to buy something, I knew he had been sitting too long in front of the boob tube).
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, keep reading.
According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study, the average child spends 7 1/2 hours per day in front of a screen. Another study broke this amount into about four or more hours of TV, videos and/or DVDs, more than one hour of computer time, and almost one hour of video games. Two out of three children ages 8-18 have a TV in their bedroom. And those kids who have a TV in their room watch almost 1½ hours more television per day than those who do not.
The consequences of this excessive screen time are more sobering.
The more time kids spend in front of a screen, the higher their risk of obesity. Obesity rates are lowest in children who have less than one hour of screen time per day, while they are highest in kids with greater than four hours per day. Screen time may also negatively affect body image and school performance and may correlate with increased violent behavior.
What is our remedy?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to no more than one to two hours of “quality programming” per day. If there is a TV in a child’s room, I would recommend removing it. Use parental controls on your computer so a child has a set limit before he or she is logged off. Establish a “token economy” where kids need to earn their 1-2 hours by chores or reading earlier in the day. Though your children will not thank you now, hopefully their brains and waistlines will thank you in years to come.
David Pommer, M.D., is a family physician at Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is married with three children.
By Jaime Carroll for Playdate magazine
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen us in the checkout line with our grocery sale ads in one hand and a fistful of coupons in the other.
With TLC’s new television show, Extreme Couponing, and with thousands of coupon blogs on the rise, the art of couponing is one of the hottest trends of the year.
It’s true you can save up to 90 percent on your groceries, but I promise you’ll be putting in a large amount of time trying to accomplish that savings. Since our lives are continually busy these days with work, school and children to care for, extreme couponing is not a realistic way to go for everyone.
However, there is a practical way to coupon, still saving 50 percent to 60 percent on your grocery bill — and spending just one to two hours per week doing it.
The key to maximizing coupons is to use them when an item goes on sale, then buy that item in bulk. You want to purchase items at their rock-bottom prices.
The first step — and one of the most important things you should do — is to create an inventory of items you frequently use in your household and start keeping track of the prices you pay for them. This is a slow process and one I’m still working on today, but it will show what your “stock up” prices actually are.
Next, you don’t need to print or clip every coupon. Only keep coupons you would actually use and only buy what you need. Just because you have a coupon, it doesn’t mean you need to use it. Instead of buying multiple newspapers, use a coupon-clipping service to get what you need or contact the manufacturer itself.
To save time, pick just a couple of stores to shop at and stick to them. That way you’re not running around town chasing down deals. Remember, there’s always another great deal around the corner. Be sure to plan your shopping trip ahead of time by creating a list or circling the items you want to purchase in the sales ad and have your coupons ready before you head out the door.
As a busy mom of three, it only takes me 45 minutes to clip and organize my coupons and about an hour to go through the ads and plan my shopping trip. But with such a large community of couponers here in Yakima, there are times when I don’t get the product I need.
This means I’ve had to find other frugal ways to save money, including homemade laundry detergent, fabric softener, diaper wipes and more! Frugal living can enable families to do more with less. It’s more than just coupon clipping; it’s a way a life.
To learn more tips and tricks on using coupons and saving money, visit me at frugalyakimamom.com!
July 28, 2011 by Robin Beckett
If the map does not load below, click this link to download the PDF.
April 22, 2010 by Robin Beckett
It’s been a few weeks since the Playdate Family Expo and I’ve finally had a chance to cross a few things off my nagging “to do” list, including sharing some of the photos from our fun day at the Yakima Convention Center. (Thanks to Erin Fahsholtz for the photos.)
THANKS so much to all our vendors and parents who brought your kids down to check out the action. This first-ever event was a huge success, with attendance estimated at 2,500. If you’d like to read more about it, click here to read the Yakima Herald-Republic’s article.
The photo that ran in the newspaper reminds me of one of my favorite moments of the day: A woman approached me to ask if there were any hand sanitizing stations for people to use after they’d held the snake. “I didn’t know there was a snake,” I said. Then she said: “Oh, yeah, there’s about an 8-foot python in the center of the room.” Good to know…
So, in addition to sanitizing stations, we’d love to hear any other thoughts and ideas you have about the Expo. Please take a minute to let us know what you liked, didn’t like, what could be done better and whether you’d come back next year. The 2nd Annual Playdate Family Expo will be March 12, 2011!
By Lisa Russell
Of course I was anxious about labor, but maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. Part of me just didn’t want the pregnancy to end.
This was my sixth child. Shortly into our marriage, my husband and I admitted to one another that we secretly wanted a big family, and each had our hearts set on six children. We’re lucky that we were in agreement over the matter, many other people wouldn’t have been open to it. Especially because, before marriage, we’d discussed having two or three.
I loved being pregnant, though. I loved the magic of it. (Think of it: another being living within you!) I loved the distorted shape of my body. I loved being reminded of it every time I couldn’t reach something or felt off balance. I loved bumping into things accidentally. I loved resting my hands on top of it. I loved how I simply “had” to get a new wardrobe all the time. I absolutely loved being pregnant.
Anticipating my sixth birth, though, was different than the others. My fifth delivery had been fast and furious, less than an hour long. In fact, Grace was born so rapidly that I caught her alone, in the shower. The entire family woke to her first cries, without even knowing I was in labor. I wasn’t sure myself until I got into the shower and didn’t feel inclined to get out.
Baby No. 6 was due Nov. 28 and my third child, Gabriella, would be turning 7 on Dec. 2. Throughout the pregnancy, I promised Gabriella the baby wouldn’t be born on her birthday. I mean, what are the odds, right?
As the date drew nearer, we sat Gabriella down for a serious discussion. I told her I expected the baby to come between Thanksgiving and her birthday, but I’d be very surprised if it came on the day she was born. I was hoping, I confided, that it would be born on Meagan’s birthday, Nov. 22. I felt like I’d earned an early delivery at this point.
We discussed that nature decides when flowers bloom, when rain falls and when babies are born. “If nature decides to bring the baby on your birthday, I hope you can realize how special that is, and not be upset about it,” I told Gabriella. I apologized for promising something I couldn’t control.
She said she understood, but still didn’t want to share her birthday. “Fine,” I said.
Looking forward to Evelyn’s birth brought a strange mixture of emotions: Eagerness to move on with the next phase in life. Sadness to never again feel life moving within me. Excitement about the prospect of having my body all to myself again. Curiosity about the adventures our family would pursue without infants or bellies to slow us down. Amusement that we ended up with six girls. And exhaustion, physically, from the stress of our family business and lugging around an 50 extra pounds.
But most of all, I wanted to savor the actual labor. I feared it would pass so quickly again, that my transition back to new-mom status would again be clouded by confusion without any time to mentally adjust and experience the transition.
So far, all of our girls had been born “late,” anywhere from three to seven days. Many natural birthing moms scorn the due date, secure in the knowledge that babies know when they’re supposed to be born, and that the doctor’s estimation is similar to a weather prediction. I, however, like schedules and appointments and while I’m not often on time for things, I do expect others to be (shameless, I know).
Waiting for a late baby tests my resolve. OK, it makes me crazy. OK, it brings out the crazy in me.
Starting a month or so before my due date, every night when I went to bed, I’d make sure the birthing necessities were ready and available. You never know when labor will begin. And the date could be wrong.
On top of the dresser, I had a baby scale borrowed from a doula friend and a stack of receiving blankets (ugly ones on top, because they may get stained). I had diapers, teeny socks, warm snugly beanies and a spare set of batteries for the camera.
After two weeks, they started to collect dust. I cycled everything back through the laundry, reassembled my setup and waited some more. When labor finally began, my carefully assembled supplies were all put away.
Night after night, I went to bed feeling defeated. “Maybe tonight?” my husband would say when I remarked that I couldn’t believe another day had passed without starting labor. I suspect natural labor really begins when your brain sends an “I give up” hormone to the belly. I’m sure it’s like an “abandon ship” siren: “She can’t hold out much longer, Captain.”
When Brandon came home from work about 2 a.m. Dec. 2, my heavy belly felt different, but I didn’t want to keep him awake. I was pretty well convinced that Dec. 2 would not be the day because, well, people just don’t have babies on the same day, seven years apart, do they?
By 4:30 a.m., though, he could hear me pacing, breathing and climbing in and out of bed repeatedly. At that time, I figured we had a few hours.
I changed positions a thousand times. I wasn’t comfortable standing, leaning forward on the sink or squatting by the tub. I used the belly-dancing motion that helped my shower baby pass through so easily only two years earlier, but it didn’t help.
I cursed, I panted, I cried. I tried to use the Bradley Method breathing that helped me through the first baby, and it helped when I remembered to use it.
Mostly, though, I lunged, leaned, squatted, cursed and cried some more. I did that over and over again for what seemed like an eternity. It was about two hours, really, and her head was nowhere in sight.
I was sure that “any minute now” she’d start to come down. I repositioned my body several times, seeking comfort, which always lasted only a second.
Finally, as I was coming up from a squat, the baby shifted position. I took a deep breath and in one enormously powerful explosive motion, she was born into my hands.
Usually, in birth, the baby descends slowly. Their heads help ensure a gentle stretching by alternately advancing and retreating, two steps forward and one step back. Not this baby, though.
Without even showing us a glimpse of her head, she was suddenly born, out to her elbows. If you can picture that, and I don’t recommend it, the elbows are really not a comfortable stopping position. In the next contraction, the rest of her body came through and we proceeded to welcome her into our family even though she made such an uncomfortable entrance.
I sat on a towel on the bathroom floor and caught my breath, nursed her and tried to memorize her features while awaiting the placenta.
My husband fetched things for me. Scissors, blankets, soft washcloth, diaper, beanie, my jammies. Once we were physically separated, I took a nice long shower while he introduced baby Evelyn to her older sisters.
Gabriella, of course, was the first sister to hold her.
After I had a bite to eat, baby and I retreated to bed. We stayed there together for about a week, with my older kids coming in and out to visit and play as much as they wanted. Everything we needed was right there.
To celebrate Gabriella’s birthday, Brandon took the girls to the movies while the baby and I stayed home and tried to rest. Later that night, we all ate birthday cake in bed.
I know a lot of attention is paid to a woman’s first baby, but sometimes we underestimate the emotional aspect of having a last baby. I find myself savoring each age and stage with Evelyn, knowing she’s my last.
|Interested in birthing at home?
Talk with your family doctor to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of home births. Here are some Central Washington midwives who specialize in home deliveries:
I’ve never regretted having unassisted home births. It’s been one of the most amazing and empowering things about motherhood.
Every birth is unique, no two stories are the same. When you’re a birth junkie, though, you start to notice certain patterns and can spot the beginning of a chain of events easily. When I was pregnant with my first, I vowed to avoid medical intervention and although she was born in the hospital, we skipped interventions and ended up drug-free.
My subsequent births were each different. Labors ranged from 45 minutes to 17 hours, and not in any particular order. “They” told me that it would be faster for each subsequent baby, but that wasn’t true. “They” told me I’d forget the feelings, but that wasn’t true either. I was obsessed with research and I’m still awed by the transformative nature of natural, empowered childbirth in a woman’s life.
Last December, Evelyn and Gabriella turned 2 and 9 years old. Sharing a birthday hasn’t been so bad. In fact, I daresay Gabriella thinks it’s kind of special.
Lisa Russell and her husband moved from Los Angeles to Yakima in 2002. Since then, they’ve doubled the size of their family. She blogs about their unconventional lifestyle with six daughters at www.lisarussell.org.
April 6, 2010 by Robin Beckett
When my first child was born, I had no idea how many activities the Yakima area has to offer for little guys. (OK, I didn’t know there were any.) We took walks in the park and made trips to the grocery store, but a whole new world opened up to us when I finally discovered my bouncing-off-the-walls 18-month-old could take a tumbling class.
Even with infants, “mommy and me” classes and clubs are a great way for new parents to find fresh ideas, make friends and provide some structure to your milk-and-diaper days.
Here’s a look at some of the local activities designed especially for parents and tots younger than 2. For even more, visit playdateyakima.com/resources.
— Sara Bristol
GET ON YOUR FEET | Starting at 18 months, kids can take tumbling and dance classes with the help of an adult. Ask about the Tiny Tots class at Gymnastics Plus (509-453-8126), Tiny Tuckers at Selah Gym Kids (509-698-5437) or the Mommy & Me Creative Movement class at Broadway Bound Dance Academy (509-698-3262).
GO TO A MOVIE | Especially for caregivers of babies and preschoolers, Cinema Circle offers kid-friendly matinees of first-run movies at 11 a.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month during the school year. Presented by Yakima Theatres and Circle of Success, the special showings aren’t necessarily cartoons. Rather, they’re designed for the parents in an appropriate-for-kids atmosphere. Find details in the Playdate calendar or call Circle of Success, 509-965-7100, ext. 1019.
EXPLORE ART | Tots can paint, paste and make a mess that you won’t need to clean up at Itty Bitty Art, a drop-in workshop for kids 5 and younger that’s offered from 10 a.m. to noon Thursdays and Fridays at Yakima’s Red Art Studios (509-469-2766), which reopens April 5 at a new location in the Nob Hill Plaza Breezeway. Kids ages 2-6 can be signed up for Tiny Artist classes at Allied Arts of Yakima, 509-966-0930.
GET INTO THE GROOVE | The Yakima Family YMCA recently began hosting Munchkin Music rhythm and movement classes in English and Spanish for kids ages 18 months to 3 years. A new session begins April 28; call the YMCA at 509-972-5273 for details. For Kindermusik classes, call Laura Martin at 509-453-8835 or Patricia Oliver at 509-697-4467. Out On A Whim Children’s Bookstore and Imagination Station (509-576-3635) has been known to host similar classes as well.
MAKE A SPLASH | Yakima’s Lions Pool (509-575-6046) offers a Baby & Me Swim drop-in playtime for parents and tots, ages 6 months to 3 years, from 10-11 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. For babies 6 months and older, parent-tot swim lessons are offered year-round at Lions Pool and the Yakima Family YMCA (509-248-2012). In the summer, find similar classes at Yakima’s Franklin Pool and the J. Francis Pool in Selah.
LISTEN TO A STORY | The libraries in Selah and downtown Yakima each offer special “lap-sit” story times for babies. Check the calendar because these programs don’t run every week. And, children ages 0-5 can receive a free book in the mail each month through Circle of Success (509-965-7100, ext. 1019), which also hosts a monthly story time in English and Spanish.
START SCHOOL NOW | Two Yakima preschools offer educational programs for wee ones. Oakridge Montessori (509-966-1080) will educate — and even toilet train! — children ages 18 months and older. And Central Lutheran Preschool (509-307-6272), offers a co-op program for parents and 2-year-olds that meets Monday mornings.
MEET OTHER MOMS | Plan playdates, swap ideas and make friends with other parents and children when you join a parenting group. For moms with infants younger than 1 year, Memorial Hospital’s Mom & Baby group (509-575-8484) meets from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays. Breast-feeding moms can find support through La Leche League, 509-575-3715. Stay-at-home mothers connect through MOMS Club, 509-577-7007. Learn more about Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), CoolMom and other local groups at playdateyakima.com/resources.
March 23, 2010 by Robin Beckett
By Sara Bristol
Thinking about returning to the work force? Planning for another baby? If so, you’re likely feeling a little anxiety about this topic: Who’s going to watch the kids?
On the surface, the task seems simple enough: There’s probably a house down the street with a “kidz R us” sign posted in the lawn. Or, open the phone book and you’ll find dozens of day cares. (Look under C for child care, duh.)
|HELP! WHERE DO I FIND CHILD CARE?
STEP 1: For help locating a licensed child-care provider, contact Child Care Resource & Referral. Call 509-965-7109 or visit childcarenet.org/families.
STEP 2: Research a provider’s licensing information through the Washington State Child Care Information System. Call the Department of Early Learning at 509-225-6272 or visit apps.del.wa.gov/check.
However, finding reliable child care — somebody you can afford and somebody you can trust — isn’t as simple as dialing up a pizza.
“I didn’t really know how to access the home day cares,” says Julie Baken, a Yakima legal assistant, who several years ago enrolled her oldest son in a child-care center because she wasn’t familiar with other options. In hindsight, Baken says, an in-home provider with more time for one-on-one interaction may have been a better fit for Jarrin, who seemed overwhelmed by the other kids.
“It was hard to drop him off every single day,” says Baken, recalling how her son would cling to her. The center was also expensive, she notes.
“I’ve always found that you have to pay for the days even if you’re not there,” says Baken, who often takes time off from work on Fridays to spend time with her boys.
Now Baken’s younger son, 18-month-old Avery, gets lots of personal attention from his two grandmothers and a great-grandmother who each watch him for a day or two each week. “Avery’s more outgoing, so we may end up putting him in day care in the next year or two,” Baken says. “He needs more social interaction. He always wants to play with other kids he sees.”
CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS | Do you need full-time care or part-time care? Do you need child care during unusual hours? Would a location close to work or home be more convenient? Do you prefer a more intimate in-home setting or a center where children are separated by age?
“We had heard from a number of different people who had their children at Carroll who said they absolutely loved the atmosphere,” says Ryan Messer, whose 4-year-old son, Edward, has attended Carroll Children’s Center since he started walking.
Messer and wife Genipher, who each work full-time, like the educational atmosphere of the large center, which has distinct classrooms for each age cohort with appropriate activities and toys. “We don’t refer to it as child care, as day care, we refer to it as school,” Messer says. “Edward goes to school.”
WHERE TO LOOK | A starting point for finding licensed care providers is the state’s Child Care Resource & Referral Network. The network’s local office, a part of Yakima’s Catholic Family & Child Service, maintains a database of 850 licensed child-care providers in Yakima, Grant and Kittitas counties.
Over the phone or online, parents provide their child’s age, times they need care, location preferences and any other needs, such as transportation or language, and the database provides a list of care providers that meet the requirements.
“It’s a referral, not a recommendation,” stresses program supervisor Maria Vasquez. “We definitely want parents to go out and interview the provider. We really try hard to make sure that the parents know this is their responsibility. You need to interview this provider for a job.”
PLAN A VISIT | Parents should plan to visit any provider they’re considering hiring — and don’t be shy about asking questions.
“I really appreciate it when parents ask me questions about what we’re doing during the day,” says Carroll Children’s Center director Kathy Helseth.
Helselth welcomes parents’ questions about the daily routine, student-teacher ratios and the center’s philosophies on education and discipline. “ I really appreciate it when they ask me something more than ‘How much does it cost?’ and ‘When are you open?’,” she says. “It tells me the parents want something more than somebody to keep their kids and out of mischief.”
DO MORE RESEARCH | Before making a decision, Vasquez also suggests parents check up on a provider’s licensing history through the Washington state’s Licensed Child Care Information System. An online database allows parents to get information about any licensing complaints found to be valid by the state, dating back several years.
Although specific case details aren’t available, information about the nature of the complaint — health/sanitation, record keeping, supervision, etc. — as well as the number of complaints can give parents a reasonably good idea whether there’s cause for concern. Parents may follow up with the provider if they have questions about a specific complaint or resolution.
Parents also should feel welcome to ask a provider for references.
CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS | Especially if you’re in the market for infant care, plan on making multiple calls.
“It really is tough” to find child care for infants, says Helseth. “Not everyone takes infants because it’s labor intensive, it’s very expensive. I have told people — and some of them are actually doing it — when you find out you’re pregnant, start lining up child care right then.”
Some providers, including Carroll, keep a waiting list. Even then, “have an alternate plan,” Helseth suggests. “If this doesn’t work out, what am I going to do?”
The Messers had to answer that question. Though their 4-year-old goes to Carroll, Ryan and Genipher had to find other arrangements for 4-month-old Jonathan after a confluence of circumstances caused them to give up their spot on the wait list.
For now, baby Jonathan is being cared for by a family member, a situation that has some major perks. “We like that he’s with family,” Ryan Messer says. “It doesn’t feel quite the same as leaving your child (in child care) during that first year.”
Sometimes called FFN Care — for Family, Friend & Neighbor Care — informal child care arrangements like the Messers’ and Baken’s are quite common. State figures show there are about 295,000 FFN child-care providers, often grandparents, throughout Washington who watch one or more children an average of 18 hours a week. About 60 percent don’t receive payment for their work.
At Resource & Referral, Vasquez invites these friend and family care providers to take advantage of Catholic Family’s Resource Library, which offers parenting books, children’s books, theme boxes for circle time activities and more. Many parents and care givers may not know about this free resource, Vasquez says.
“If there’s anything we can offer to anyone that will benefit children, we’ll do it,” she says. “If we don’t have it, we will find it.”
WHAT’S THE COST? According to the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network, the 2009 monthly median cost for full-time child care at centers in Yakima County was $624 for infants, $521 for toddlers ages 1-2.5 years, $483 for preschoolers ages 2.6-5 years and $260 for school-age kids.
Comparable costs for licensed in-home child care were somewhat less: $556 for infants, $483 for toddlers, $432 for preschoolers and $216 for school-age kids.
SAY THANKS | Friday, May 7, is Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. Visit childcarenet.org/families to download a certificate of appreciation to give your care provider.
March 22, 2010 by Robin Beckett
By Laura Reed
- Physical therapists at Children’s Village see up to six new babies every month who are sent by their doctor because they have flat heads. It is estimated that one out of every 50 babies will experience this condition, called plagiocephaly.
Although there are many reasons why a baby’s head may become flat, many cases are preventable. In all cases, it’s important to seek treatment because plagiocephaly can negatively affect your baby’s developing vision, hearing and movement.
Why is my baby’s head flat?
There are many reasons why a baby’s head becomes flat. Twins or triplets are more at risk due to the limited space they have to change position in utero. Premature birth, low muscle tone or birth complications may place a baby at higher risk. Sometimes babies have medical or skeletal issues that have caused this.
Unfortunately, some of the things that give us convenience are also to blame for many cases of plagiocephaly. Babies now spend much of their time in infant carriers, baby swings and bouncy seats. You can imagine how a baby rests the back or side of his head when sitting in one of these devices. Prolonged pressure quickly causes a baby’s head shape to change; skull bones not yet fused together actually shift, causing his head to become flat.
What are the symptoms of this condition?
By the time a baby begins physical therapy at 6 to 12 weeks of age, the flatness often is very noticeable and the baby also has uneven eyes, ears, nose cheeks, forehead and jaw.
Muscles in the baby’s neck may also become tight, making it hard for her to turn her head one way, a condition called torticollis. The combination of these conditions makes it difficult for your baby to look to both directions, reach with both arms, and roll to both directions. It makes it difficult for your baby to raise his or her head when on his or her tummy.
If untreated, a baby could experience a “head tilt” posture that does not go away. Alignment of the eyes, ears and jaw may be affected as well as the shape of the skull. Vision and hearing also may be impacted, as well as motor coordination and balance.
How can I keep my baby from getting a flat head?
Prevention is the easiest treatment. It’s really pretty simple!
First, to decrease the risk of SIDS, always, always have your baby sleep on his back. And, always have your baby secure in his car seat when riding in a vehicle. However, when the baby is not sleeping or riding in a vehicle, here’s what you can do:
- Give your baby lots of time on her tummy when you can closely supervise her. Place your baby on her tummy, helping her to prop on her elbows several times a day, for short periods of time.
- Use a front pack or baby sling for baby-wearing, versus a bouncy seat, swing or infant carrier. Limit time spent in car seats to only those times when your baby is riding in a vehicle.
- Change the way your baby’s head is positioned when sleeping. For one nap, turn his head toward the left. For the next nap, position his head in the middle. For the next nap, to the right.
- Encourage your baby to look to the right and the left by giving her lots of things to watch with her eyes.
What should I do if my baby’s head seems flat?
You should talk to your doctor immediately if you notice that your baby’s head is flat, or if she prefers to turn her head one way more than the other.
Your baby will be evaluated for any tightness of neck muscles, limitations of movement and abnormalities of the skull. The therapist will provide you with stretching and positioning exercises to perform several times each day.
Depending on the severity of your baby’s torticollis and plagiocephaly, weekly therapy may be recommended. In addition, some babies will need to wear a helmet to re-shape their head.
Laura Reed is a pediatric physical therapist at Children’s Village in Yakima.
February 19, 2010 by Robin Beckett
One fun thing about working for a newspaper is the unusual questions we sometimes get asked. Want to know what the low temperature was last Tuesday or what time the city bus is going to pass by your house? For whatever reason, some folks think the newspaper staff might be a good source for this type of info.
Though we don’t know everything, there’s a certain amount of job security that comes from providing people with the information they’re seeking. And, hey, I can Google as well as the next guy, so I typically try to track down answers when I can.
Maybe I learn something, too.
So, today I took a call from someone who was wondering how to make crystals from epsom salts.
I’d never heard of this before, but I found the answer easy enough. If you’re looking for something to do with the kiddos, it’s a pretty simple science project .
But, I have to say that this crystallization project (i.e. how to make rock candy) looks much more delicious:
If you’re looking for other science fair ideas, Michaels (1729 S. First St., Yakima; 452-6484) is hosting a free Science Fair Demonstration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. Kids can make a free molecule project with Crayola Model Magic, while supplies last.
By Sara Bristol
More than any other subject, this is the story Playdate readers have asked for: help choosing a preschool.
It would be easier if I could just point you toward the best one, but that’s not the way this story goes. There are too many variables, and plenty of good choices.
Instead, I’ve culled some advice and information about the different types of preschools we have in the Yakima area and what kind of questions parents should ask. I’m pretty sure this decision isn’t going to be crucial to your child’s future at Harvard, but you’ll want to choose a preschool that’s safe and suits your family’s expectations, choose a school that you feel good about. Asking other parents for recommendations is a great way to start.
• First order of business: Yes, the time to sign up for preschool is now. Maybe I’m a little thick, but it didn’t occur to me in February that I should be enrolling my knee-high child in school for the fall. Was this in that “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” book? Must have missed that chapter.
Anyway, if you’re thinking about registering for school in the fall, get it done in the spring. Call right away to see if the schools on your interest list are hosting an open house.
• Plan to visit more than one school, and go when the kids are there. Yakima mother “Pete” Jacobson scheduled visits with several schools before enrolling her 5-year-old son, Luke, in a blended preschool-kindergarten class at the Montessori School of Yakima.
“The kids looked so happy,” says Pete, who didn’t know much about the Montessori method. “We couldn’t help it. The kids were just so happy there.”
• Consider schedule and location. Preschool programs typically meet two to five days a week for about three hours. You’ll want to consider your child’s ability to adapt to the schedule, as well as what you’re going to do in that brief window between the car pools.
• Do you want to be involved? For Sandra Simmons, there was no other option: “I just really wanted to participate,” says Sandra, whose 4-year-old daughter, Lily, attends Children’s Center Preschool, a parent cooperative in Zillah. “It’s really fun.”
At the Zillah co-op, as well as the Central Lutheran and Learning Together cooperative preschools in Yakima, parents are required to volunteer several days in the classroom each month and also attend parent meetings.
“You get to be very involved in your child’s day,” says Annette Courcy, teacher at Central Lutheran Preschool. Also, she adds, “the families that you meet and are together with in preschool remain very close family friends throughout your child’s entire school years.”
Many traditional preschools encourage parents to volunteer in the classroom. At others, parents are welcome to observe but may be seen as a distraction in the classroom.
Of course, working parents may not be able to participate and may need a program that offers before- and after-school care. Be sure to ask what options are available at the schools you’re considering.
• How old is your child? In Yakima, Oakridge Montessori School accepts children as young as 18 months and Central Lutheran Preschool offers a Monday morning toddler program for 2-year-olds. Many schools offer preschool programs for both 3- and 4-year-olds, often in separate classrooms. Some schools also offer a “prekindergarten” program for older 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds who will start kindergarten the following year.
A few programs, including the Montessori schools, offer mixed-age classrooms that allow children to stay in the same room for several years. Mixed-age classrooms are designed to let children learn at their own pace, and also encourage older students to help their younger cohorts.
• How much can you afford? Low-income families may qualify to attend federal- or state-funded preschools, including Head Start and ECEAP programs. These schools are free to students who meet the eligibility requirements; call your local school district or EPIC (509-248-3950) for more information.
Cooperative preschools are generally one of the less-expensive options. Be sure to consider volunteer hours and snack contributions when calculating your true costs.
Also, keep in mind that fees are typically proportionate to the number of days a child attends, i.e. daily programs tend to cost more than twice-weekly programs.
• Does your child have special needs? From food allergies to physical disabilities, you’ll want to make sure the school you choose is well-equipped to handle your child’s needs.
Elise Cardenas, a former preschool teacher, has been very happy with her son’s developmental preschool for children with speech and hearing problems at Yakima’s Whitney Elementary.
Gabe, now 4, suffered seizures as an infant that led to delays with his speech and language comprehension.
“I really felt like he needed some sort of preschool, but I didn’t feel like there would be very many teachers who could handle somebody like him,” says Elise, who learned about the Whitney class through Children’s Village.
• What are your expectations? “We are helping the child learn to love school more than anything else,” says Central Lutheran’s teacher Annette. Her program is designed to familiarize children with classroom routines, learn to get along with their peers and have fun.
“We throw a little bit of academics in there, too, but we feel the socialization and desire to learn are the most important.”
A couple years ago, Danielle Polage pulled her son Kyle from one preschool because she felt there was too much work.
“A big, big no for me is worksheets,” says Danielle, a cognitive psychologist and professor at Central Washington University. “If people tell me worksheets are coming home, that’s not the school for me.”
Look at the art, she suggests. “If I see my kid’s project coming home perfect, I know they didn’t do it.”
Danielle’s daughter Elyse attends Mt. Olive Lutheran Preschool. She likes the school’s balance of fun and learning, which includes hands-on science projects as well as Bible stories and songs.
“The No. 1 thing for me is to make sure the kids are having fun,” says Danielle. “Some people like complete structure and that their kids walk in complete silence and straight lines.
“I’m not like that,” she says. “Silly and messy are my No. 1 priorities for preschool. At some point, school becomes boring. And I want to prevent that from happening as long as possible.”
For more information about Yakima-area preschools, visit click here.
Raising children has phenomenal rewards (of course), but the damage to a parent’s pocket book can be proportionately draining: diapers, day care, shoes and sports fees … The list of child-rearing expenses is never-ending.
Thankfully, the Tax Man recognizes this. When April 15 rolls around, parents may be able to claim some extra credits for all their hard work. You’ve earned it!
Playdate asked “Pete” Jacobson, a Yakima CPA and mother of three, for some tax-saving tips for parents. Federal tax code is extremely complicated and constantly changing, so be sure to ask a tax adviser if you have any questions.
• In addition to the standard exemption for qualified dependents, parents maybe eligible to claim the federal Child Tax Credit, which reduces your federal income taxes by $1,000 for each child under age 17.
• Parents who are working or going to school may qualify to claim up to $2,100 from the federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. The credit helps offset child-care expenses — including preschool — for children under age 13. The credit is for up to $1,050 for each of your first two children; the exact amount depends on your income and actual child-care expenses.
• Is your family’s adjusted gross income less than $48,279? You may be able to claim up to $5,657 from the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Again, the exact amount depends on your income.
• The Making Work Pay Tax Credit should show up on your 2009 tax return as $400 for individuals making less than $75,000 and $800 for married filers with income less than $150,000.
• Did you buy a house in 2009? First-time homebuyers and qualified buyers who purchased an upgrade home in 2009 may be eligible to receive a refundable tax credit of up to $8,000. This deal has been extended to folks who have a contract to buy a home on or before April 30, 2010.
If the purchased home is maintained as a principal residence for 36 months, the credit does not have to be repaid.
— Sara Bristol and Pete Jacobson
OTHER WAYS TO SAVE
• Take advantage of any employer-sponsored cafeteria (125) plans for day care and medical expenses. Cafeteria plans are superior to deductions of these expenses on your tax return because they will save you social security and Medicare taxes. If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, take advantage of tax savings with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Contributions and earnings in an HSA that are used for qualified medical expenses are not subject to income tax.
• If you have children, no time is too soon to think about saving for college. The Washington GET program is an excellent option for buying tuition while your children are young. Other 529 Plans are good options if your children are already in high school.
When buying into the GET plan, you are betting that tuition rates will go up faster than values in the stock market. When buying into a traditional 529, you are betting that the stock market will outpace the rise in tuition rates.
Either way, you will benefit from having prepaid your child’s tuition early and over time. While the money paid into these plans is not deductible, earnings or value increases in these plans are never taxable when used for qualified college expenses.
— Pete Jacobson
Even if you never said it, bet you thought it: My kids are never going to behave like that.
And then one day, you find yourself standing on Aisle 9 with a cart full of groceries, a screaming brat and a sinking feeling of helplessness in the pit of your stomach. You’ve just crossed over into The Tantrum Zone.
Parenting wasn’t supposed to be like this, right?
And it doesn’t have to be, according to Lisa Souers, program manager of the Valley Intervention Program (VIP) at Yakima’s Catholic Child & Family Service.
VALLEY INTERVENTION PROGRAM (VIP) | Behavior management training for families with children ages 2-6 who need help with their behavior. Programs include:
Health insurance and medical coupons are accepted. For more information, visit ccyakima.org/family or call 509-965-7100.
The key to eliminating bad behavior, she says, is to reward good behavior.
“Little kids just want attention,” Souers says. “So they have to learn how to get appropriate attention and the parents need to learn how to give appropriate attention.”
VIP offers a daytime preschool/child-care program as well as evening parent programs for families with children under age 6 who are having behavior issues, including defiance, tantrums and aggressiveness.
Though each situation is different, “the common theme is that these preschool kids are running their parents,” says Souers. For the past 15 years, she’s been teaching Yakima-area parents how to regain control of their children while the kids are still young and eager to please.
In a nutshell, the VIP model teaches parents to deny attention for negative behavior (unless there’s a safety issue) and to heap copious praise on children when they behave as they should.
“If you notice good behavior, you’ll get good behavior,” Souers says. “Kids love to be caught being good.”
That’s the trick, of course; when kids are behaving as they should, it’s easy for parents to ignore. After all, that’s a perfect opportunity to make dinner or sneak a few minutes on Facebook, right?
Souers says, “We always pose the magic question to parents: Is this a behavior you want to continue? If the answer is yes, you better reinforce it. If the answer is no, take a deep breath and decide what to do next.”
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Counting to 10 is easy. Knowing what to do next, that’s the hard part. We asked Souers and Yakima family life educator Laurie Kanyer for some practical advice:
First, they said, make a habit of giving your children recognition for behavior you want to encourage:
- Give praise. “Be specific about what you liked,” says Kanyer. When you use generalized praise, such as “good boy,” the child may not understand which behavior you are praising. Better would be: “Good job sharing. I like it when you play together.”
- Give rewards. Rewards include stickers, a small treat or a special activity with you. To be effective, use a reward right away to reinforce a specific good behavior. For example, “Thanks for helping me put away the laundry. You can pick out a puzzle for us to do together.”
Now, let’s say you’re planning to head to the grocery store, kid in tow. To stave off a shriek-fest, the experts say you’ll need to plan more than your shopping list.
“I’m all about what we do before,” Kanyer advises.
- Make sure the child is well-rested and fed. Have a snack within reach.
- Before you get ready, give the child a schedule. “Even young children can read symbols,” Kanyer says. Tell them you’ll be going to the store later. When it’s time to get ready, touch the child (this triggers different brain waves, she says) and give a reminder about your plans: “I need you to think about what you need to go to the store. I’m going to need my list and a coat.” Remember to praise when the child starts getting ready.
- At the store, Souers suggests letting the child hold a favorite toy — as long as the child’s behaving. (“I know that Tyler can hold Teddy as long as he uses a quiet voice in the store.”) A free cookie from the bakery at the end of the trip can be another easy reward.
So, that sounds good, right? But let’s say you haven’t even made it out of the house because your Terrible Two-year-old is throwing the most ginormous hissy fit of all time just because you’re trying to put on his shoes.
“Stay calm and balanced,” Kanyer says. “Do not become a 2-year-old. Do not join them in their emotional turmoil.”
Ignore the tantrum, Souers says. Say once, “When you use your quiet voice, Mommy will talk to you.” If there’s a sibling, you could add: “I like how brother is using nice quiet words. I can talk to brother.”
Then wait it out. As soon as the tantrum stops, praise the child: “Nice job being quiet. I love your quiet voice. What do you want?”
“The key is,” Souers says, “they have to be reinforced for being quiet or it will never make a difference.”
What is the difference between a reward and a bribe? A reward is given after a child has behaved well or finished a task. A bribe is given ahead of time to stop misbehavior.
- “Love & Limits,” by Elizabeth Crary.
- “1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12,” by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan.
- “Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training,” by Karen Pryor.
- “Llama Llama Mad at Mama,” by Anna Dewdney. Mama gets so busy at the Shop-O-Rama, she doesn’t notice when her little llama starts losing patience. When small annoyances finally push him into a full-blown tantrum, Mama keeps her cool and uses her skills to quickly calm him down. And, she also realizes they need to make shopping more fun.
While you’re waiting for the next issue of Playdate to come out tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 27), I thought you might enjoy a little peek behind the scenes of what we’ve been up to the last couple weeks. One of the really fun parts of working on Playdate is the page design, where we finally get to see the stories & photos come together to create a (hopefully) attractive & interesting package.
Sometimes it’s fun to kick around a few ideas. In this issue, our “cover story” is called “The Tantrum Zone.” Here are two different concepts the designer (TJ Mullinax) tried on for size:
Which would you choose? Be sure to let us know what you think about our choice when you pick up a copy of the new issue later this week.
Here’s a message Michelle posted on Facebook on Sunday:
“I’m totally celebrating the fact that tomorrow is my last chemotherapy treatment – I MADE IT! The 7 weeks of radiation that I’ll do next will seem like a cakewalk compared to chemo. Thanks to everyone praying for me and sending me good vibes – it is really working because I feel stronger than ever, and I still have my … eyebrows! Plus, I’m totally chemolicious, baby!!!”
5 ideas to make bath time a splash
1. WAVE YOUR WAND. Of course, adding a little tear-free shampoo or bubble bath to the water always gets the party started. But letting the kids blow bubbles with a bubble mixture and wand inside the house is even more magical. Just watch out for a slippery floor if too many bubbles escape from the tub.
2. RAID THE KITCHEN. Measuring cups, whisks, funnels and plastic bottles are all super fun in the tub. Make a game by asking your child to count how many 1/4 cups fill a cup, etc. Dollar stores and second-hand shops have cheap kitchen tools if you don’t want to use your own. Also, don’t use anything sharp or made of glass.
3. GO FISH. Cut some fish shapes from sponges or craft foam. Give the child a small net (costs $1 or so in the pet department) to catch the fish. For preschool-aged kids, cut out ABCs and ask them to tell you the name of each letter they catch. A fun bonus: Shapes cut from craft foam will cling to the side of the tub like stickers when they’re wet.
4. WATER COLORS. Earlier in the day, add a few drops of food coloring to water in an ice cube tray, then freeze. Kids can drop a cube or two in their bath water to experiment with color blending.
5. BUBBLE BARBERSHOP. Why just shampoo when you could design a new crazy ‘do? Help the kids shape foamy unicorn horns or spiky Mohawks, then lather up a bubble beard and mustache. Have a shower mirror handy so they can see their sudsy styles. When the show’s over, give each kid a popsicle stick to “shave” the bubbles off their face or arms.
Best part about these projects? The clean up is easy!
December 29, 2009 by Robin Beckett
Quite a few local bookstores and libraries host regular story times for children. The free events are a great way to introduce children to books and reading. Oftentimes the event features a craft, songs or other interactive activities. In the summer, Yakima Valley Libraries host a summer reading program with rewards for children who pledge to read over the summer.
ATTENTION!!! Please call to verify the schedule. We try to stay current, but gosh it’s hard…
BORDERS STORY TIME. Borders Books hosts story time at 11 a.m. Saturdays. Located at 1700 E. Washington Ave., Union Gap; 248-4018.
IMAGINATION LIBRARY STORY HOUR. Circle of Success, an early education program, offers a story hour for children up to age 5 the second Wednesday of each month. At 10 a.m., the program is in English, followed by Spanish at noon. This program meets at the Yakima Valley Museum, 2105 Tieton Drive, Yakima; 509-965-7100 ext.1019.
INKLINGS TODDLER STORY TIME. Inklings Bookshop hosts a toddler story time at 10 a.m. Tuesdays. Located in the Chalet Place shopping center, 5629 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 965-5830. (NOTE: For an extended excursion, break next door at Starbucks before crossing the parking lot to the Summitview Library, which typically holds a preschool story time at 11 a.m. Tuesdays.)
OUT ON A WHIM. Out On A Whim Children’s Bookstore and Imagination Station offers story time at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Located at 108 S. Third Ave., Yakima. 576-3635.
YAKIMA VALLEY LIBRARIES
Moxee Library, 255 W. Seattle, Moxee; 575-8854. Preschool story hour and craft, 10 a.m. Wednesdays.
Selah Library, 115 W. Naches Ave., Selah; 698-7345. Baby Lapsit, 10 a.m. Wednesdays. Preschool story time and craft, 10 a.m. Thursdays.
Summitview Library, 5709 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 966-7070. Preschool story time, 11 a.m. Tuesdays.
Sunnyside Library, 621 Grant, Sunnyside; 837-3234. Preschool story time, 10 a.m. Fridays.
Terrace Heights Library, 4011 Commonwealth Drive, Yakima; 457-5319. Preschool Story Time, 10:15 a.m. Thursdays.
Union Gap Library, 3104 S. First St., Union Gap; 452-4252. Preschool story time and craft, 10 a.m. first Tuesdays.
Downtown Yakima Library, 102 N. Third St., Yakima; 452-8541. Baby lapsit, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Preschool story time, 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.
In case you didn’t see Michelle’s letter to the editor in Sunday’s Yakima Herald-Republic:
To the editor — Re: The Nov. 17 Associated Press article about new guidelines for screening mammograms.
Apparently, the federal Preventive Services Task Force under the Obama administration knows more than the American Cancer Society when it comes to screening women for breast cancer! Is it just me, or is this statement outrageous? According to the Associated Press, under the new guidelines recommended by this task force, women do not need mammograms in their 40s and should not even bother with performing self-breast exams.
Oh, really? Never mind that a self-exam and mammogram found my cancer at age 39 (and I was not in a high-risk category); it seems that the new guidelines are nothing more than a cost-saving measure to pay for universal health care! If thousands of women between ages 40 and 50 die due to these new guidelines, then that’s a sacrifice we need to make for universal health care? No way! Thanks, but I’ll still be following the guidelines of the American Cancer Society and not some politically motivated task force.
It’s sad that after a decade of gains being made by women taught to perform self-exams and get recommended mammograms that we now have government saying, “It doesn’t matter.” Well, it will always matter to me!