You’re Invited!

I’d like to extend a personal invitation to Peace, Love and Literacy readers.

There are a ton of exciting things going on over in the Peace, Love, & Literacy Facebook Group, and I’d love for you to join us. You’ll find exclusive content that you won’t find on the blog,  member-only events, and a community of families and educators who, like you, care about raising compassionate children through story and art.
In honor of Multicultural Book Day, this coming Monday, January 30th at 9:00 pm, I’ll be hosting an online “Raising Children of the World Book Event” exclusively for members of the Peace, Love and Literacy Facebook Group.  We are all working towards raising compassionate, empathic, and global children. Diverse and inclusive literature is one way to bring the world into your home for your family. It has never been more important for all children to see themselves reflected in the books that they read, and for all children to see #allchildren in literature.

We’ll have good conversation with friends, great info about diverse and inclusive literature, free, downloadable resources to help you start conversations with your children around books, and prizes — One attendee will win a copy of The Barefoot Book of Children, and another will win our grand prize: the host rewards for the event!! Everything happens online, so you can join us without even leaving your couch!

Don’t miss it! To attend, hop on to the Peace, Love, and Literacy Group this weekend, and I’ll get an invitation sent out to you via Facebook. Can’t wait to see you there!

 

 

www.facebook.com/groups/peaceloveandliteracy

DIY Cushioned Toy Storage Bench Tutorial

I am so excited to share this cushioned storage bench tutorial with you! This has been on my to-do list *forever* and it kept getting bumped in favor of the 10,000,000 other things on our to-do list, but it’s finally done, and I am *so.glad.*

We’ve been in desperate need of a real system to organize Violet’s toys and books. While we do utilize “The Big Switch” (rotating Violet’s toys and books) we still have lots of balls, blocks, legos, puppets, stuffed animals, books, you name it, around the house, and we do like to try to keep things pretty neat and tidy. I’ve tried a bunch of different options, like open-top fabric storage bins, and while I like them, I also like things to have clean lines and be stored out of sight… which brings us to the storage bench.

This bench was very easy to put together, offers a great out-of-sight storage solution for toys and books, and an added bonus: extra seating for guests in our (relatively) small New York City apartment.

Ok, onto the tutorial and resources:

Step 1:

Firstly, gather your materials.

You’ll need:

  • Ikea Kallax Book Shelf (Target, Walmart, and Amazon also carry similar shelves, but I felt that the Ikea option was likely the sturdiest for the best price.)
  • Ikea Drona Storage Bins (Again, there are lots of other options, but we went with the Drona bins to be sure they fit properly in the Kallax shelf, and they seemed to be the best bang for your buck)
  • Ikea Capita Legs (6 total)
  • Upholstery Foam (we went with foam from Home Depot, and we picked up MDF and had it cut while we were there!)
  • A piece of MDF, cut (for free at Home Depot) to the length and width of the Kallax shelf
  • Batting (This helps the fabric lay smooth)
  • Fabric (We used indoor/outdoor fabric from waverly — we ordered 3 yards to make sure we had enough)
  • Staple Gun
  • Electric Carving Knife
  • Screws, screwdriver/screw gun
  • Sharpie Marker

Step 2:

The second thing that we did was trace the MDF onto the foam with a sharpie marker. We cut the foam to size along the drawn line with an electric carving knife.

Step 3:

Lay your batting down on the table, and place the foam on top, and the MDF on top of the foam. Staple the batting to the underside of the MDF on each side. Be sure to pull the batting tight.

Step 4:

Repeat step 3 with your fabric. Lay the fabric down on the table, and the batting/foam/MDF combo on top. Cut the fabric to size, ensuring you have enough to wrap under. Wrap the fabric starting with the long sides over the edge to the underside of the MDF pulling the fabric tight, fold the edge of the fabric over (to be sure that the fabric stays strong) and staple in place. The short ends of the cushion can become difficult, but I found that wrapping it just like I would wrap a gift worked the best.

Step 5:

Now that the cushion is done, put together the Kallax shelf according to the directions.

Step 6:

Attach 6 Capita legs to the bottom of the Kallax shelf — 2 at each end, and two in the middle.

Step 7: Secure the Cushion to the top of the shelf with screws, using screws that are long enough to go from the underside of the top of the Kallax shelf through to the middle of the piece of MDF.

Step 8: Fill your bins with toys & books!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below!

Check out our Pinterest boards for more inspiration on toy storage.

 

 

 

Yoga with Toddlers!

Yoga, mindfulness and meditation are everywhere we look these days — we all know the benefits for adults: improved flexibility, posture, strength, and a “grounding” that can only come from commitment and practice. An awareness of ourselves, our body, and our breath that can serve us well at rest and at work. An appreciation for our world, empathy, kindness, and connectedness. All of these benefits apply to children’s practice of yoga as well, but if you’re a #toddlermom, well, you know that this is no easy feat.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite yoga resources that we have at home, and are excited to share them with you.

When I first started my yoga practice at home, I started with Rodney Yee’s A.M. P.M> Yoga. It as a great way to get introduced to yoga, and to see the flexibility, the benefits and the practice aligned with my daily life: help you wake up, help you wind down.  It was a great way for me to start, and the same goes for young kids. This set of books is a great starting point, and it was our first kids’ yoga book as well. Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga compliment each other really nicely, as a gentle yet energizing set of poses in Good Morning Yoga, and a slow down, relax and get ready for bed sequence in Good Night Yoga. There’s a simple story line, with optional blocks of text on each spread that go into more depth of each pose and breath, which makes it a nice option for kids to grow into as young yogis and as developing readers.

 

I Am Yoga is probably my personal favorite of the bunch, as I’ve got a soft spot for watercolor. The illustrations in this text are sweet, and the message is fantastic. It teaches children the ways in which yoga can help them deal with their emotions, in a way that is very subtle. This book certainly speaks to the heart, and is one that children and their parents will enjoy. My favorite spread is the warrior pose series, and it reads “I can stand up for me, I can stand up for others, I can stand up for peace.” Beautiful book!

Violet’s favorite is ABC Yoga, and I can see why! It makes yoga relatable and exciting for kids, as it equates each pose with an animal. Assigning animal characteristics and names to each pose gives kids something more tangible and child-friendly to connect to. When they act out each animal in a series of fun poses, you’re sure to grab their attention.  This book is in a board book format, with sturdy pages, and large illustrations.

Barefoot Books has a nice selection of yoga materials, including the book My Daddy is a Pretzel, Yoga Pretzels, and Yoga Planet, all of which can be found here.  The card decks are a great option, because you can pick and choose which poses you want to do (some of them are challenging for young children, but are a great resource to have around as they grow in age and in their practice) whereas in a book, the poses can be a part of the storyline. The cards are durable, will stand up to both sweat *and* toddler shenanigans, and are organized by element (air, water, earth…) which is a nice feature that can lead into discussions about yoga and mindfulness’ connections to our natural world.

Watch out for a future post on our Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Guide for Young Children, or check it out here if you just can’t wait!

We’d love to know about your yoga practice at home, leave us a comment below!

Links:

ABC Yoga

I Am Yoga

Good Morning Yoga

Good Night Yoga

Yoga Planet

Kids’ Yoga Mat