Let Your Kids Get Dirty

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Maytag. All opinions are 100% mine.

Muddy miles

Kids are filthy.

There’s just no getting around that fact. From toddlers to teens, your kids are going to find all sorts of different ways to dirty themselves up. Parents should be patient and remember that a little bit of dirt, or maybe a lot of it, isn’t going to hurt. In fact, getting dirty can be quite fun. Continue reading

Intense In Tents – A Review and Giveaway

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I’ve always loved tents.

One of my very earliest memories of childhood was draping a large table cloth over a folding card table and crawling underneath with a pile of pillows and a shoebox filled with toy cars and plastic soldiers.

It was my space. Mine. Everyone else had to stay out. Except for the occasional imaginary friend or an unsuspecting curious cat. Continue reading

Heidi Swedberg’s Play!

I was a fan of Heidi Swedberg long before she sent me her CD to review.

She reeled me in back in the 90’s with her effortless performance in the role of Susan Ross, the sophisticated and ever-patient girlfriend of George Costanza, on the TV show Seinfeld. Since her infamous departure from that show (death by envelope glue!), Swedberg became one of those actors I would always enjoy spotting in various TV and movie roles, from ER to Bones to Galaxy Quest.

So, I was happy to hear that she had recently turned her talents to teaching music to kids.

And that she wanted me to review her debut CD, Play!

I was even happier to find the CD to be just as effortless as her acting. The disc is filled with classic kids’ songs, set to the amiable voices and playful ukulele strumming of Heidi and her band, The Sukey Jump Band.

Songs like “Froggie Went a Courtin’,” “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and “Muffin Man” are given a complete ukulele makeover, with quirky arrangements and foot-tapping beats. Not to mention plenty of glockenspiel, saw, and slide whistle. Heidi also tackles ballads like “Down in the Valley,” and “Dream a Little Dream” with a simple sweetness that will have your young ones smiling the whole way through.

But Heidi encourages kids to do more than just listen. Hence, the title of the disc.

Yes, you might just have to buy your kids a ukulele so they can play along. Chords and lyrics are even provided with the CD.

She also sells a very reasonably priced ukulele on her website.

Whether they just listen or learn to play, your children will love these songs. They’re perfect for the younger crowd, from toddlers up through the elementary school years.

Of course, you’re never too old to pick up a musical instrument. Why not join your kids and form a ukulele orchestra for your next family sing-along?

To help one of you out, I have a copy of Play! to give away. Just leave a comment on this post telling me you’re a ukulele kind of person.

I’ll pick a winner next week!

In the meantime, visit CDBaby to hear samples of Heidi’s songs.

Guns N Kids

When my son was born, both my wife and I agreed that we would discourage him from playing with toy guns. We simply wouldn’t have them in the house.

I’m not talking about hunting. No, I mean games of “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians.” We were nervous about the effects of that kind of imaginary violence on our child.

In other words, we were new parents who were totally clueless.

Because since then we have realized two things. First, there is not one darn thing you can do to prevent a boy from playing shoot-em-up games. From almost the time he learned to walk, my son was running around saying “Bang Bang” with a spoon or Lego or some other object in his hand.

I have no idea where he learned it. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe prehistoric toddlers ran around their caves with a stick in their hand yelling “Bonk Bonk!”

Even when we took away the toys, he found other things to turn into guns. He would even roll his napkin up into a tube and use that to shoot bad guys.

That leads me to the second thing we realized. Playing with toy guns is not going to warp our kids’ minds. I believe it does just the opposite, as a fertile imagination can only be beneficial to a child. Shooting outlaws and monsters is not going to turn them into homicidal psychopaths or make them indifferent to human life.

I should’ve just remembered my own childhood. Yup, that’s a 7-year-old me in that photo. I turned out okay. Right?