Podcasts! 7 Shows Hosted by Diverse Moms 25 Best Listens for Kids this Summer
The Summer Issue
Helpful Apps for Kids with Special Needs
Black Lives Matter Anti-Racism Books for Tots Through Teens
Take a Day Trip to a Ruined Castle in Connecticut!
The Best Sunscreens for Kids
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Stories & columns
6 | Sunscreens The best kid-friendly sunscreens for summer 2020
4 | Editor’s Note July Time for a Change
8 | Apps From potty training to the state of the world, you’ll love these seven podcasts hosted by diverse mothers
10 | Day Trip Travel with the familyto Danbury, CT to visit Hearthstone Castle
12 | Mom Hacks DIY Shibori is a cool tie-dye craft for the entire family
18 | Camp Day camp amid COVID-19
16 | Education Helpful apps for kids with special needs
14 | Ask The Expert Supporting your childwith special needs in the new COVID-19 world
22 | Books Diversify your bookshelf with these anti-racism books for kids and teens 24 | Apps The best podcast for kids
20 | Summer Self-care Move your focus away from being “bikini ready” and take care of yourself 30 | Last Word
28 | Family Fun Fun and games for a summer staycation
July 2020 | Westchester Family
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Westchester Family WestchesterFamily.com Publisher Clifford Luster firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Editor Donna Duarte-Ladd email@example.com Digital Editor Katarina Avendaño Contributing Editor Serena Norr Digital Director Erik Bliss
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Time for a Change We are heading into summer after a series of wake up calls. We have been learning to responsibly live with a pandemic, the importance of social distancing, and, most importantly, how to support our Black community. As the city erupted with a fury for change after the murder of George Floyd, there is no doubt that the status quo is not okay. This matters not just for day-to-day life but LIFE, and how we choose to live it. How will we leave this world for our children and their children? As parents, we must do better. As a minority, I can personally attest that I have felt the effects of racism, yet this does not mean I have all the answers, nor should I stop learning how to better support or teach
my children how to be allies to our Black community. There is work to do, but we all know that as parents, there is no better motivation than building a strong today and future for all our kids. Yes, mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me. Alice Walker
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July 2020 | Westchester Family
The BesT Kid-Friendly
Sunscreens By Courtney Ingalls
s NYC starts to reopen and we venture outside, it’s important to remember our sunscreen! Prepare for the hot summer days by lathering your kids up with some of these kid-friendly sunscreens to protect your kids’ skin from the sun’s harmful rays! These sunscreens are gentle on kids’ skin and are free from harmful chemicals, so you and your kids can focus on having a fun-filled summer!
Babo Botanical Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50 broad spectrum
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen Lotion: SPF 30 broad spectrum
Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Lotion: SPF 50 broad spectrum
Anthelios Sunscreen for Kids: SPF 60 broad spectrum
This vegan sunscreen is another perfect choice for babies that have sensitive skin! Babo Botanicals is gluten, soy, and dairy-free. The sunscreen is ultra sheer and lightweight, making it easy to apply on young kids. $12.99, thrivemarket.com
Having a sunscreen that will be gentle on your kid’s skin is something that many parents look for. All Good adds chamomile to their sunscreen which is perfect for sensitive skin. This mineral sunscreen lotion is UVA/UVB protected, water-resistant, lightweight, nongreasy, and is made with reef-safe ingredients. All Good makes sure that your skin feels great while also being protected! $15.99, allgoodproducts.com
This plant-based sunscreen seems to be a favorite for many parents! Babyganics is made with certified organic ingredients such as cranberries, raspberries, seed oils, and sunflowers. This sunscreen is a little thicker than other brands, so you only need to apply a small amount to your kids for full coverage! $9.99, target.com
With one of the highest broad spectrums, La Roche-Posay Anthelios uses Cell-Ox Shield® technology that protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen is pediatrician tested and uses antioxidants that will help protect your child’s sensitive skin from future sun damage. This sunscreen is water-resistant and can last up to 80 minutes. For kids 3 and up.$19.99, laroche-posay.us
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
Badger Kids Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: SPF 30 broad spectrum
Hello Bello Sunscreen Lotion: SPF 50 broad spectrum
With this sunscreen being biodegradable and coral reef free, you can protect the environment while soaking in the suns rays! Badger kids sunscreen has a Zinc Oxide formula that is phthalate-free and also is scented with orange tangerine and vanilla! This cream is a little thicker than others so a little dab goes a long way! $16.99, badgerbalm.com
Hello Bello is the only FDA approved sunscreen that protects against all three types of UV rays. This sunscreen is made to protect both adults and kids and is made with ingredients such as green tea, avocado, and cucumber extract so your skin will stay soft and healthy! It is suggested that you reapply the sunscreen after excessive sweating, water or towel dry off. $9.78, hellobello.com
Baby Bum Sunscreen Spray: SPF 50 broad spectrum
Tropic Sport Sunscreen: SPF 30 broad spectrum
Baby Bum is a 100% mineralbased and reef-safe sunscreen that protects against UVA/UVB rays. It protects and also hydrates the skin with coconut oil and shea and cocoa butter. This lotion is lightweight, non-greasy, and fragrance-free so parents can feel good about protecting their kid’s skin! When applying to kids, make sure you apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure. $13.99, target.com
If you are looking for a sunscreen that is good for your kids and the environment, then Tropic Sports Sunscreen is the one for you! It is reef safe, eco-friendly, and waterresistant. Tropic Sport has also scored #2 on the EWG.Org, making it a sunscreen that has a lower hazard ranking! $29.99, tropicsport.com
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7 Podcasts Hosted by Diverse Moms From potty training to the state of the world, you’ll appreciate them all, one listen at a time By Donna Duarte-LaDD
istening to podcasts is something I can do regardless of how crazy my day is, even with a four-year-old attached to me like velcro. So whether this is when the last child finally falls asleep (yes!) or when I am doing mindless work – I tune in, listen to other parents, and their stories. Some of these podcasts I listen to pretty consistently while others are newly added to my repertoire. I want to know more. To learn more. Where can I achieve a deeper understanding of what others go through, especially from other mothers’ experiences and perspectives? These moms share everything from potty training to the more serious matters such as the state of the world. And I appreciate them all; one listen at a time. Talk Cool Moms One of my personal favorites, a bi-weekly podcast hosted by “we’re not like regular moms; we’re cool moms” – Elise Peterson. Episodes share stories from pregnancy and loss to coping with transitions. What I appreciate about this podcast is that the discussions demystify what motherhood truly is with frank conversation and truth. Available on Apple Podcasts.
state if the world (Black Lives Matter — A response to the George Floyd murder) to chatting with author Nefertiti Austin of Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting on her black mom experience and her road to adoption and parenting. This podcast is raw, open, and most importantly, an honest listen. Available on Stitcher.com.
Mom Life Yo This energetic listen was created by Breegan Jane and T Lopez as a judgment-free space that unites mothers. Sharing conversations with other mothers with everything from feeling comfortable with your doctor to hearing CEO and Founder of We All Grow Latina Network, Ana Flores, sharing on reshaping the life you want by following your gut coupled with instinct. Podcasts are insightful — the takeaway being you feel encouraged and energized from these insightful mom conversations. Available Mom Life Yo.com.
The Latina Mom Legacy Janny Perez focuses on growing up Hispanic and multicultural moms. These moms share on everyday life with the issues many of us are dealing with from money saving tips to living with the new norm of coronavirus. A recent conversation with Laura Diaz-Alberto A Black Latina Mom’s Perspective on Race in America and the Latino Community touches on each person doing their part when it comes to the black community and admitting if you are the problem when it comes to race. Avaialble on Apple Podcasts.
Woke Mommy Chatter A show we can all benefit from listening to, especially with the turmoil the world is in with the recent killing of George Floyd. Woke Mommy Chatter is a podcast for socially conscious mothers that focuses on black and brown lives. Subjects range from the current
Experiencing Motherhood Single & Black A podcast for single moms with a focus on single parenting. Also, the creator of Experiencing Motherhood Single & Black, Kim, shares on her journey as a millennial single black mother. This podcast shares tips to help
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
to educate and offers support while touching on issues with topics that are relevant such as Saving Money on Grocery Shopping and CoParenting from a Single Dad’s Perspective. Available on Apple Podcasts. Mommifaceted Mommifaceted shares how on real motherhood and its journey. With stories from successful black mothers, topics touch on Managing All the Different Parts of You + Mental Load and Motherhood with Dr. Jessica Young Brown to Keeping Your Marriage Strong During the Quarantine. Conversations are full of tips and wisdom learned from the hard lessons of dealing with mom guilt to changing the narrative of where you are at life. Available on Apple Podcasts. FAM: For All Moms A great podcast to listen to if you’re missing those playground meetups with your besties. Topics such as Stop Should-ing on Yourself and Talking to Your Kids About Tragedy touch on experiences and situations we all have or go through. Hosts Susan and Sharzad are relatable and open about their own lives, including the embarrassing moments — truth we all need a dose of these days! Available on Audioboom.com
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July 2020 | Westchester Family
Day Trip to a Castle! Families can explore both the incredible ruin of Hearthstone Castle and lovely Tarrywile Park in Danbury, Connecticut By Serena Norr
he mantra for 2020, whether we all like it or not, is all about adapting and going with the flow. For our family that has been about enjoying the resources around us and getting outside and exploring as much as possible by checking out mini hikes in the area–many of which weren’t on our radar prior to the pandemic. One of our recent favorite adventures was a short drive to Danbury to visit the Hearthstone Castle and Tarrywile Park(tarrywile.com/the-park) in Danbury. We started by visiting the abandoned Hearthstone Castle. Once a lavish summer home, the castle is now rotted and covered in graffiti that you can view and walk around.
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
I would suggest visiting the castle with older kids as there is a lot of broken glass and open wood planks around the space. You can get pretty close to see inside of what was, which incredibly used to have 17 rooms, 9 bedrooms, a library, a billiard room and a secret room. After the visit to the castle, we took a short drive (around five minutes) to the gorgeous Tarrywile Park. A former dairy farm, the park encompasses 722 acres, including 21 miles of hiking trails. This one was particularly interesting as most of the hikes we have checked out have been very woodsy. This one started out at the former barn, which led to a playground area (currently closed) and then to an open field with massive trees in the background.
It definitely didn’t feel like we were in Connecticut as soaked in the views from the beautiful pond, looking at the fish and frogs. We took one of the easier trails, which went around the pond. While it was easier, we did come across several people, some who weren’t wearing masks, but everyone was very respectful about moving to the side and letting one another pause and then pass. Parts of the lake were also open where we could stop along the pond and take a moment. This trail was also very narrow and rocky and included a few small bridges, but relevantly flat and not hilly — making it pretty easy for the kids. The park also has picnic areas and some benches throughout the space which is currently open for use. The scenic park is also the home of the Tarrywile Mansion that is closed but you can view from afar. They also have certain protocols to follow during COVID-19. Please read them over (tarrywile.com/2020/05/covid-19-update) before you visit the park. Hearthstone Castle is located at 18 Brushy Hill Rd, Danbury, CT 06810
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July 2020 | Westchester Family
DIY Shibori Tie-Dye Try this fun, fashionable craft at home with the family By Diana amaya
ike many fashions born from necessity and practicality, the Shibori method of tie-dye has endured the test of time. From Chinese origins to feudal Japan to the fashion runways and the like, Shibori is here to stay. While tie-dye has seen many a resurgence throughout the decades, the fun colorful styles reminiscent of the flower power era are not for the faint of heart. For those who prefer cool blues, tonal looks, and easy-to-wear styles, there is Shibori, a traditional Japanese method of indigo dyeing that packs major style and makes a great summer activity for the whole family. Ready to get in on the Shibori fun? We’ve broken down the basics, including how to dye your own pieces at home and alternative materials you might already have (save yourself a trip to the store)! A Brief History Though Shibori dates back to the 8th century, the dyeing method is most commonly attributed to 17th century feudal Japan during which many people could not afford expensive fabrics like silk. As an alternative they revived their cheaper fabrics by repairing and redyeing to make clothing look new, and so the art of Shibori evolved. Shibori comes from the root verb shiboru, “to wring, squeeze, press” and refers to a manual resist dyeing technique that involves folding and binding fabric, resulting in impressive beautiful patterns. Traditionally, Shibori patterns are created with indigo dye, but feel free to experiment with other colors! What to Dye? The possibilities are endless, just make sure to use natural fibers like cotton and linen for best results. Some fun small projects to start with include napkins, T-shirts, sweatshirts and socks. Or you can start with a large piece of fabric and turn it into stunning home accents like pillows, or even just a decorative
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
cloth to drape over your favorite chair or the foot of the bed for an extra pop of color! Folding Techniques (and How-To) Different patterns are created with different folding techniques, and a Google search will yield countless results. To keep things simple we’ve highlighted the three most common here, but don’t be afraid to experiment! Accordion Fold : Also known as Itajimi, this technique starts with folding the fabric lengthwise like an accordion. Then fold it again in the other direction, also like an accordion. Most instructions will have you searching for square wood blocks to bind them, but any flat square-shaped object will do, even good old cardboard (just cut it into a square slightly smaller than the size of your folded piece). Bind it all together with rubber bands or string. These create resistance to dye, so the fewer bands/string, the more exposed fabric for dying. Also, different shaped binding materials will yield different results. There’s a lot of room for experimentation which is all part of the fun! Tying Circles Technique : Start by
laying your fabric flat on your work surface. Twist finger-sized bunches of fabric and secure with rubber bands or string. You can twist fabric randomly or in rows for a slightly more uniform pattern. It’s really that simple! Experiment with different sizes and circle placement to your heart’s desire. Pole-Wrapping Technique : Otherwise known as Arashi (Japanese for Storm), this technique starts by wrapping fabric around a PVC pipe. If you don’t have PVC pipe, try a broom or mop handle, or even a tall cylindrical liquor bottle. Wrap the fabric around the pipe either parallel to the pipe edges or at a diagonal (there are no rules!), and tie a string around the bottom of the fabric that will hold the fabric in place. Continue wrapping the string upwards around the fabric, and then scrunch the fabric down (like a sleeve on your arm), and pull the twine to tighten before tying the string around the top of the fabric. Depending on the length of your piece, it might be easier to scrunch in sections until all the fabric is compacted before tying off the top.
How to Do Shibori Tie-Dye What You Will Need: Indigo dye and optional fixative for longer-lasting color. We recommend a Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit jacquardproducts.com). Two small wood blocks, cardboard, or flat solid shapes — Magna tiles anyone? Rubber bands, twine or string Rubber gloves Two medium to large buckets to hold water and dye A PVC pipe or cylindrical item like a tall recycled bottle Plastic drop cloths for your work surface (an old shower curtain works too) Scissors Natural fiber cloth, clothing or accessories How to: Gather your supplies and prepare your work surface with a drop cloth. If you’re blessed with an outdoor space in which to work, even better! Follow dye instructions to prepare your indigo dye in one bucket, and cold clean water in another. The sink works for your water as well if you’re working indoors. Start with clean and dry fabric and prepare it with your desired
folding method. Submerge in clean cold water to rinse and squeeze out the excess. Now to the fun part! Wearing your rubber gloves, submerge your fabric fully below the surface of the indigo dye. Most instructions will have you hold the fabric with your hands below the surface for 10 minutes and warn of sediment at the bottom adversely affecting the dye. However, according to Kisha Gianni there is no need to worry. Feel free make things a little easier and dye multiple items at a time, weighing them with heavy items to prevent them from floating to the top. Remove fabric after 10 minutes and set it out to oxidize for 20 minutes. Don’t remove your binding just yet — tempting, we know! You’ll start to see a richer hue as it oxidizes. Repeat the dying process for another 10-20 minutes for a deeper indigo. Set aside dyed fabrics to oxidize for another 20 minutes to one hour (longer for a deeper indigo). Rinse your bound pieces with clean water and squeeze out the excess. Now the great unveiling! Snip away at your rubber bands and twine and admire your creations. Set aside or hang your fabrics to dry. Once fabric is dry, you can hand wash your pieces with mild detergent or wash them in the washing machine with cold water and without detergent. Dry your fabric; line dry or set to a low setting on the dryer, then heat set the dye with an iron on the hottest setting.
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ask the expert
Supporting Your Child with Special Needs in the New COVID-19 World By Ann-Marie Sabrsula, M.A. Education Coordinator, The Arc Westchester’s Children School for Early Development
hen the COVID-19 health crisis caused schools to close, it placed all of us in unknown territory when it came to accessing support for children with special needs. Students receiving services at the time of the closure had an active Individualized Education Plan (IEP) detailing all the supports they were in need of, which was written for established service delivery models such as specialized programming, inclusive classrooms like we have at The Children’s School for Early Development, or related services delivered in the home or community (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.). Once schools and programs closed, educators and programs across Westchester County were tasked with lifting those services from the IEP and transitioning them to remote or distance learning – a modality that was never intended for providing special education services. Under these new parameters, the mandate was to provide students with a “continuity of learning” that would allow them to access as much support as feasible given the unprecedented circumstances. As a result, web-based platforms such as Google Classrooms and Microsoft Teams were selected as a window through which the child’s program could virtually be accessed. All related services were also to be delivered through synchronous (live) video-based communications or “telepractice.” Needless to say, the learning curve on both sides of the screen was steep. Teachers and related service providers needed to quickly learn how to provide instruction and therapies at a distance without the human connection that is so important to establishing and maintaining rapport with students. In turn, parents and caregivers needed to learn how to be an instructional facilitator and therapeutic partner so that their children could continue to work on their educational and discipline-specific goals while they were home and away from the classroom. Student response to this
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
If we are having a hard time trying to make sense of it all, imagine what your young child might be experiencing. new modality has been quite varied and, for many, it is difficult to maintain their attention and summon up the self-regulation to sit at a computer and actively participate. This placed new and additional burdens on families who were attempting to manage other unexpected and, oftentimes, significant challenges due to the pandemic. Access to technology in order to participate in distance learning posed a challenge for some families as well. With the Executive Order that Governor Cuomo issued on June 5th, the prospect of having in-person special education summer services for those students who qualified for the extended school year became an option. As a result, some school districts and programs will now be providing summer services on-site as they originally planned. For many, however, it was felt that they would not be able to confidently provide the mandated multiple health and safety measures by the start of the summer session on or about the first week of July and, as a result, have chosen not to do so. Understandably, many families are deeply disappointed by this decision as they feel that distance learning is not a good fit for their children with special needs, that they are not making progress towards their educational goals, and that their children have regressed in their overall skills. As we continue to work towards inperson education and services for children
with special needs, here are just a few strategies and tools you can use to help your children continue to build their skills. Give Yourself a Break As parents of children with special needs, you take on a level of responsibility for your children’s developmental successes that those with typically developing children do not. Under normal circumstances this can be a challenge, within the context of distance learning in a pandemic, it is daunting. The pressure that some parents carry where this is concerned can be overwhelming. I recommend (and even ask our parents) that they “take themselves off the hook.” Taking steps like reaching out to their child’s teachers and providers to share their experience with them and ask for their help to reduce some of the burden would be a great place to start. Digital channels like Zoom are not there just for our students. They can be used to virtually bring the team together to support the family as a whole. Be kind to yourself and know that those of us on the other side of the screen recognize without judgment that you are doing the best you can. Leverage Digital Resources During the closure, many websites and learning apps have been made available to families (and programs) at no cost. For young children, websites such as ABCya, Starfall, ABC Mouse, Scholastic, Tumblebooks, and Epic Books are now easily accessed by families on their own or through their child’s program. Regarding fun yet educational games to play at home, our teachers recommend Go Fish, Memory, Zingo, Bingo, Uno, Candyland, Dominoes, and Hoot Owl Hoot. Some apps that are recommended by speech therapists include Splingo (Pronouns, Language Universe, Categories, Actions), Speech with Milo Articulation, Speech with Milo Sequencing, and Articulation Carnival. Don’t Forget About Self Care — For You and Your Kids This is an unprecedented time for all of us. As adults, we may be finding it difficult to
process the depth of what has been happening and the profound and significant effects we are faced with as a result of a global pandemic. If we are having a hard time trying to make sense of it all, imagine what your young child might be experiencing. Keep in mind that children may not always be able to express what it is that they are feeling. As a result, we may need to consider their behavior as a barometer for their inner emotional experiences. Occurrences like changes in sleep or eating patterns or an increase in emotional responses may be outward indicators of their internal fears. Acknowledging their experiences and validating their feelings are simple yet profound ways of helping them to feel better. Adjusting expectations around previously established skills or behaviors is also a way of accommodating our children’s needs at this time. Parents can also find social stories online that are specifically written to help
children understand the virus, how we need to take care of ourselves, and why the world seems so different right now. Knowing When to Go Back to InPerson Services and Education The future of education in a post-COVID world is unknown to all of us – including those who will be making decisions and shaping instructional programs under these unique circumstances. All individuals involved will be making the best and most informed decisions as possible given what we will know at that particular point in time. That being said, we may very well be looking at a variety of program models that will account for parent concerns around returning their child with special needs to school. Many models currently being considered are “hybrid” models that will include a combination of both in-person and distance learning with the ratio between the two having yet
to be determined. Additional specialized models in consideration of children with underlying medical conditions are also being explored. Regardless of the chosen approach, all school-aged and early childhood programs have an exhaustive and highly detailed set of guidelines that they are mandated to follow and protocols to put into place to keep all students and staff healthy and safe. While it is expected that this information will be shared with families, if parents have any additional questions or concerns, they should contact their school or program administrator to access that information. Remember that you as parents are active and important members of your child’s educational team and their district’s committees on special education. Parents should feel confident in their ability to advocate for their child and communicating their comfort level around a return to inperson learning is well within that role. July 2020 | Westchester Family
Helpful Apps for Kids with Special Needs By Regan Mies
f your child with special needs is struggling while remote learning, these 22 free, paid and subscription-based apps can help them gain independence, build important skills and grow their confidence from home. Free Apps Vizzle home.govizzle.com
Vizzle is an online learning platform and app for students with special needs. Its library of 15,000+ lessons includes games and activities that collect your child’s data and instantly personalize their curriculum of concepts and skills. Vizzle’s highly-visual and gamelike interface encourages lesson play and independent learning. One year of access usually costs $75, but due to COVID-19, your child can use Vizzle for free through August 1, 2020 to continue learning and reinforcing new skills from home. Learning Ally learningally.org
Learning Ally is a non-profit education solutions organization that provides resources to students who struggle to learn and read due to a reading deficit. Because of COVID-19, Learning Ally is currently offering their Learning Ally Audiobook Solution to students and families at no cost through August 1, 2020. These humanread online audiobooks can help your child with dyslexia or other reading deficit grow their confidence and ability when reading independently. soundingBoard apps.apple.com/us/app/soundingboard/ id390532167
SoundingBoard is a free app that lets your child turn their iPad or iPhone into a custom communication device. The app comes with preloaded pictures, sayings and boards, and it also lets individuals input and create their own personalized words and boards. Developed for children and adults on the autism spectrum or with other special needs, SoundingBoard is one of the best free AAC tools.
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pAid Apps Artikpix apps.apple.com/us/app/artikpix/ id383022107
ArtikPix is an articulation app with flashcard and matching activities that will especially benefit kids with speech-sound delays. Your child’s scores will be saved with their profile, and progress can be audio recorded and saved to your camera roll. The “b” deck of cards is available with the free download, and the additional 23 decks are available through in-app purchases at $2.99 per deck or $29.99 for all of them. easy dyslexia Aid: dyslexia & dysgraphia support apps.apple.com/au/app/easy-dyslexiaaid-dyslexic-dysgraphia-support/ id1088194043
Easy Dyslexia Aid offers voice transcription in the OpenDyslexic font and customizable color overlays. The font was created to indicate direction and to reinforce the line of text, which aids students of all ages in recognizing letters correctly. For $4.49, the Easy Dyslexia Aid app can support children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia while remote learning. proloquo2Go apps.apple.com/us/app/proloquo2go/ id308368164
Proloquo2Go is a widely-used communication app for those who don’t speak or have trouble being understood. The app can be useful for individuals with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Angelman syndrome and other speech difficulties. The AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) tool is easy to use and contains a vocabulary of over 10,000 words and images. Although expensive at $249.99, Proloquo2Go is often recognized by teachers, parents and therapists as the gold standard in AAC solutions. Articulation station pro apps.apple.com/us/app/articulationstation-pro/id491998279
Developed by certified speech-language
pathologists at Little Bee Speech, Articulation Station Pro uses 8 engaging activities to teach your child pronunciation and articulation. The customizable activities include matching games, flashcards, rotating phrases and more, and the app’s high-quality images and 22 comprehensive, 60-word sound programs really make it stand out! You and your child can try Articulation Station’s free app before downloading Articulation Station Pro for $59.99. Autism Core skills apps.apple.com/us/app/autism-coreskills-academic-communication-socialskills/id1065012646
Autism Core Skills will teach your child, preschool through first grade, academic and social skills from colors and shapes to sharing and following rules. Themes like trains, animals and sports will keep your young learner engaged, and all lessons’ difficulty levels can be adjusted to ensure your child is learning at the right pace. Data from your child’s lessons is processed in easily-
The Zones of Regulation is available for $9.99 in the app store. Dexteria Dots: Get in Touch with Math apps.apple.com/us/app/dexteria-dotsget-in-touch-with-math/id815345306
Dexteria Dots introduces a new approach to numbers and math. Children ages 2 to 8 can discover a deeper understanding of fundamental math skills like addition, subtraction and number sense through intuitive touch, visual memory, visual tracking and fine motor skills. All levels of the game will encourage your child through fun sounds, visuals and rewards. The app can be purchased on the app store for $2.99. Social Adventures apps.apple.com/us/app/socialadventures/id468235375
The Social Adventures app teaches social skills and friendship to kids ages 3 to 13 with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, NLD, sensory processing disorders and social anxiety. The app has over 80 activities, with clear step-by-step instructions, can be used to facilitate interaction and roleplay in classrooms, on playdates or within your family. Social Adventures’ engaging multidisciplinary, multi-sensory approach to social skill mastery can be downloaded from the app store for $7.99.
understandable graphs and charts. A basic, one-student account costs $4.99 and will also give you access to Autism Core Skills’ additional printable curriculum. Touch and Learn: Emotions apps.apple.com/us/app/ id451685022?ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Touch and Learn: Emotions helps kids with special needs read and understand body language and emotions. The app has 100+ photos to introduce new concepts and emotions at a pace that’s customizable to your child. The Touch and Learn interface is simple, fun and easy to use. If recognizing emotions is tough for your child with special needs, Touch and Learn: Emotions is an effective and accessible tool for only $1.99. Choiceworks apps.apple.com/au/app/choiceworks/ id486210964
Choiceworks can help foster your child’s independence and positive behavior at home. Created with the help of leading hospitals and
child development specialists, Choiceworks is a tool to help your child complete daily routines, understand their emotions and improve their waiting skills. The app utilizes 4 boards (Schedule, Waiting, Feelings and Feelings Scale) and 180 images, which allow for “limitless customizability” to best support your child with special needs; it costs $14.99 in the app store. The Zones of Regulation https://apps.apple.com/au/app/thezones-of-regulation/id610272864
The Zones of Regulation app will help your child learn to regulate their behaviors, understand their emotions, manage their level of alertness and increase their selfcontrol and problem-solving skills. The app, geared toward elementary and high school students, encourages users to reflect on how their body feels during different situations, helping them gain insight into the cues that accompany each emotion. Users can then conceptualize how they’re feeling by sorting their emotions into four color-coded “zones.”
ABA Flash Cards & Games: Emotions apps.apple.com/us/app/aba-flashcards-games-emotions/id446105144
This app uses over 500 high-quality, handpicked images to teach 100+ emotions to children who find it difficult to read facial expressions and identify feelings. The pace, presentation and content of the game are all easily customizable. ABA Flash Cards and Games is a multi-sensory tool that uses images, words and audio to keep your child engaged and having fun; it is available for $0.99 in the app store. The Mood Meter apps.apple.com/us/app/mood-meterbuilding-your-emotional/id825930113
The Mood Meter is easy to use and will help your child identify and address their emotions throughout the day. The Mood Meter can also help your child expand their emotional vocabulary and recognize patterns in the way they feel. In addition, the app offers helpful and effective strategies for managing emotions. The Mood Meter can be purchased in the app store for $0.99. July 2020 | Westchester Family
Day Camp Amid Covid-19 What you need to know to safely plan your child’s summer BY JESS MICHAELS
ith children out of school and at home for the past four months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have been eager for their children to go to camp this summer and return to some sense of normalcy. In early June, Governor Cuomo announced that New York day camps would be able to open beginning on June 29th, giving kids the opportunity to be in a structured, monitored, outdoor educational environment with their peers. Most camps that are operating this summer will be opening in mid-July as they needed time from Cuomo’s announcement to put new regulations in place. New York day camps will look a little different this summer, however, the foundations of camp as a place to connect with friends, take a break from technology, learn new activities, be outdoors and gain important life skills, will certainly remain and will feel more important this summer after being in isolation than ever before. Here are some of the changes that camps will be making this summer based on state regulations and best practices from the CDC and the American Camp Association for creating a safe environment for your children this summer at camp. Shortened camp season – Due to the late announcement that camps will be able
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to open, may camps had to push back their start dates and will be offering a shorter camp season Set session dates – In the past, camps have given parents flexible options with the number of weeks they can attend. This summer, many camps are asking families to commit to a certain number of weeks Masks – While children will not have to wear them, all camp staff will be required to wear masks at all times Activities – For safety precautions, certain contact activities will not be part of the camp program this summer and all activities will take place outside Additional handwashing & hand sanitizing- Throughout the day, children
will be washing their hands and using hand sanitizer Sanitizing facilities – There will be increased sanitizing and cleaning of facilities and equipment throughout the day Daily screenings – Temperature checks will be required daily. Some camps will do this onsite while others will ask parents to take temperatures at home and complete a form online before their child’s arrival at camp Transportation –Some camps will not be offering bus transportation this summer and will be asking parents to drive their children to camp
Smaller camp groups – Camp groups will be no larger than 10 children per group and campers will stay with their cohort throughout the day. Children will not have to social distance within their cohort but will not mix with other camp groups No field trips – This year, there will be no out of camp field trips Rainy days – If the weather forecast predicts a significant and prolonged rain, camps will be cancelled for the day since all activities will take place outside. Many camps will build in 2-3 rain days and credit families back for any rain days over that number.
Many parents may be wondering whether sending their child to camp is safe. Susie Lupert, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ says this to parents when deciding on camp this summer, “While no environment is 100% safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, summer camps that are licensed by the Department of Health and Accredited by ACA are supervised environments for children where the risk will be mitigated with daily health checks including temperature checks, small group sizes, medical staff on site, additional hand hygiene and sanitizing of facilities, and outdoor activities only. Children have been isolated at home for months and we feel the benefits of camp for children’s mental well-being far outweigh the risks. As families are beginning to go to the beach and the parks, we see summer camp as a safer environment because they are monitored environments with set protocols in place to keep children safe.”
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37-02 Main St., Flushing, NY 11354 (718) 359-8300 • www.thewindsorschool.com July 2020
| Westchester Family
Summer Self-care for MoMs This season, move your focus away from being “bikini-ready” and take care of yourself
By Marina Trejo
ummer 2020, an unprecedented summer, unlike any other in recent history. After months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have dealt with a national quarantine, fears of getting sick, the stress of overwhelming our nation’s hospital and essential workers capacity to do their jobs, school closures, unprecedented unemployment, navigating the stresses of full-time work at home, while monitoring the schooling of kids, what we have generously termed ‘remote-learning’ school all at home under one roof and the to top it all off, nationwide civil unrest., police brutality and the sickness we have now come to understand as our country’s racist foundations that continue to overwhelm and strangulate this country’s citizens. So how do we as parents stay well, healthy, stress-free while the uncertain future looms large? Kids are at home with no routine or schedule on-site with most camps closed, how to actually manage a health routine when there may be little to no support available? First, defy the odds. Perhaps this can be a summer when we really start to look at all the old and tired out slogans of “Summer Bikini Ready” “Beach Body Perfection” ‘Best Summer Vacations” “101 Summer Meals” and throw them to the curb for real. This summer is all about dealing with the cards we have been dealt and ushering in quantitative dollops of calm management, pragmatism, and ease. I’ve always been interested in long term solutions that require investigation, thoughtfulness and being true to one’s capacity. When I feel overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed, I realize that is not the ideal time to start a new regime and be hard on myself about where I feel I am failing. Instead, I look for ways I can
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give my body true rest, create space, all while making small decisions that can have impact for the immediate future in order for me to ‘get back on track’. What does that translate to and what kind of playbook to go by? When it comes to tips on how to navigate this Summer and how to manage it all, I’d first like to point out that it may be different but not impossible to take care of you. First, start by prioritizing what you need the most:
consume (be aware they can have laxative effects!), how much watermelon can you consume daily, and notice the effects the fiber sugars and water have on your mood. Reach for a handful of fruit before anything else and simply notice the effects it has on your cravings. The more hydrated and sated you are from filling up with fruit, the less power your cravings have on your hormonal system.
Sleep Simply aiming for a well-rested summer actually requires much due diligence and planning. Longer days filled with daylight make it easy to stay up late, sleep in late and all routines undone. All fine until you find yourself eating breakfast at 2 pm and chaos has somehow become your new home. So whatever your bedtime/wake up time is, make it a consistent one that your whole family can do. And if you find yourself able to wake up earlier than the rest of the family, make time for five minutes of deep breathing through your nose, long slow, and deep nasal breathing is ideal and will have a soothing effect on your nervous system. Make it as much of a daily habit as brushing your teeth each morning. The consistent routine of checking in with your breath will have cumulative effects that go beyond your rising morning.
Movement Can’t get to a class in person because of COVID, Zoom, and Instagram workouts with your favorite teachers are impossible with the kids now taking up every nook of the house (or just burnt out from so much amped up screen time?)? Make your own favorite playlist and create a daily dance party for yourself and/or together with your family. Yes, you have heard it before, but honestly, I can’t think of a better activity to do daily that can reset moods, change the energy in the house, it allows for versatility of body movements too! You can dance in your bathroom, kitchen, garage, backyard, or bedroom. You can do it alone. You can do it with your kids. You can get everyone to pick their favorite songs and all of a sudden you have an instant heart raising, moodboosting, bad mood relieving outlet. It is straightforward, fun, and actually works wonders. Aim for 15 minutes once a day.
Hydration Even if you are intimidated by the eight glasses of water per day adage, summer is an ample time to ramp up your fruit intake, and instead of eliminating the BBQs, the extra potato chips, rosé and s’mores, go for bulking up your daily fruit intake. Make a game out of how much stone fruits you can
Stretching Again go for do-able, manage-able, nonoverwhelming stretch strategies. My favorites are pinky balls or tennis balls for my feet and a foam roller for the back shoulders and hips. I keep them in a bowl in my kitchen or by my sofa so I don’t have to look for them and they stare at me when I am snuggled up
the grocery store doing this, so depending on your comfort, you really can do these almost anywhere. A new mindset is going for sustainable, healthy habits, not perfection. Simplicity Simplicity, start and end your day with paper and pencil. Write down three things you are grateful for. Write down three beautiful things that happened in your day. You can do it alone or ask your kids to participate as well. It is honestly one of the easiest yet most profound things you can do to begin and end your day with. And yes, there will be those days where it will feel redundant, but you will start to become more curious, more creative, and actually start to look for ways to be more grateful. The habit of focusing on the ‘glass is half full’ has residual effects. It really is a daily practice. My hope for you is that all of the above will lead to more feelings of space and energy for your body, your home, and your Summer. When we feel that we can achieve the small things, the bigger goals become more in focus with a more natural ability to do. Perhaps you will then have the energy to train for that marathon you were always curious about attempting. Perhaps you and your family will realize that you have the time to volunteer for a local charity or a cause you didn’t think you had the time or energy for prior. Perhaps you will simply realize that the small elementary gestures and habits can lead to bigger ground swelling movements that we can all participate in and take part in. That is such a gift of profound true health and wellbeing.
on my sofa. Stand on the balls and gently massage your feet (one foot at a time!) as if kneading bread, make sure you have something to hold on to for balance. One to two minutes per foot is plenty. Foam rolling out your upper back, hips, and side of the legs is straightforward. Find the sorest areas and roll for five minutes per day, you can do for longer but five minutes daily is absolutely effective. Don’t have any props? Upper back and shoulder area tight? Aim for two minutes of arm lifts over your head, keep your feet
planted on the ground wide and stretch for your ceilings as tall as you can. Add in some deep, slow nasal breaths and imagine your lungs filling up with air and then squeezing the air out. Keep in mind, lungs are internal, angel shaped winged organs that have incredible capacity, I like to envision my internal wings expanding. Finish out your arm lifts with some simple shoulder and neck rolls to iron out the upper body kinks. Do several rolls each way, each side. And yes, I have been known to be that weirdo at
Marina Rae Trejo of The Bent and the Straight has been studying movement and wellness since childhood. She was first exposed to the Pilates method as a teenager by the beloved and late Julian Littleford, of JL Body Conditioning, Del Mar CA. Marina has continued her examination of alternative modalities and holistic health practices, studying anatomy with Irene Dowd of Movement Research, receiving her 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification through Om Yoga, New York NY 2003 and completing the inaugural teacher-training program with The Class by Taryn Toomey, New York NY in 2015. She is a licensed board-certified esthetician through the State of New York, 2011. She currently offers virtual group classes, on-site private sessions in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and provides nutritional and skin care consulting. To learn more about Marina and The Bent and the Straight- go to marinatrejo.com/ philosophy July 2020 | Westchester Family
Anti-Racism Books for Kids and Teens Diversify your bookshelf with helpful reads By Donna Duarte-LaDD & Katarina avenDaño
ith racism being at the forefront in the news these last few weeks, many families are having hard conversations on what being anti-racist entails with our kids. Books serve as one of the best tools to educate, and with the recent senseless killing of George Floyd, many of us are looking to broaden our understanding via storytelling. How important are books on racial diversity for our kids? Very. Iman Powe-Maynard, a librarian with the Brooklyn Library Paerdegat Branch, shared, “Young children absorb information like sponges. The books we choose for them reflect what we want them to know about the world they live in. Reading and talking about racial diversity allows kids to be mindful and respectful of our differences, and teaches them important lessons on the dangers of inequality and injustice. Having these conversations are imperative in raising young, educated allies.” Here are 12 books to add to your family library:
The Snowy Day, by Erza Jack Keats
This award-winning book was first published back in 1962 and continues to be beloved by generations. The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing when it was first released and is the first picture book with an African American protagonist to win major awards. The book tells the story of a small boy named Peter as he experiences snowy days and reminds us of the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Ages 0- 3
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Antiracist Baby, by Ibram X.Kendi, Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
This baby book by New York Times bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi is available June 16th and couldn’t have come out at a better time. Mr. Kendi, who is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, has written his first children’s book Antiracist Baby that educates the reader about race and racism at the earliest age. Visual artist Ashley Lukashevsky artfully illustrates the book. Ages 0 -3.
Shades of Black, by Sandra L. Pinkney, Photography by Myles C. Pinkney
Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Recommended by the Brooklyn Library this book celebrates and shows the diversity and beauty of the African American heritage. The text shares the worthiness of each child; this is a perfect read for young children. Ages 0-3.
This charming book touches on hair and love. Notably, a Black girl’s hair and a relationship between her and her father. Daddy gives his daughter a special hairstyle that helps build her selfconfidence by embracing her gorgeous hair while nurturing their relationship. Ages 4-8.
B Is for Baby, by Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank, Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, by Anastasia Higginbotham
A sweet story about Baby and Baby’s big brother who on his way to the next village, has a curious stow away on his bicycle. The story of Baby’s adventures is told in “B” words as Baby and the reader travel and take in the beauty of Africa. Ages 3-7. I am Enough, by Grace Byers, Pictures by Keturah A. Boo
This popular book, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, is a lovely read that focuses on the beauty of Black girls. Authored by activist and actress Grace Byers with essential messages written in uplifting affirmations is a positive read for all. Ages 4- up. The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by E.B Lewis
This book tells the story of a young white boy who sees police shooting a brown person whose hands were up on the TV. Concerned about what he sees, his family deflects what is happening, especially the rallies in response to the police shooting, stating that they simply, “can’t watch the news.” This book teaches kids about white supremacy, police shootings, racism that exists within society, and raises awareness about these matters. Ages 8 -12. Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice, by Veronica Chambers
In a time of unrest, this is a beautiful read for teens to young adults on ordinary people such as Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, who stood up for what they believed in and became activists. This book by acclaimed author Veronica Chambers shares stories that will teach how one person can speak and rise to the injustices of the world. Ages 8-12. The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas
Brooklyn author and New York Times Bestseller Jacqueline Woodson’s shares a story on an interracial friendship that the reader can experience through the eyes of a child. A great book to discuss with your child about race, friendships, segregation, and more. Ages 5-8. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, by Ilyasah Shabazz, Illustrated by AG Ford
Malcolm X, the human rights activist, and American Muslim minister’s name, is at the forefront of activists who fought for the civil rights of Black Americans. He is a vital part of history, and this book written by his daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, touches on the early years with his parents and on how much they shaped him on who he was to become later in life. Ages 6-10.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this story is about a 16year-old girl named Starr who lives in a poor neighborhood but attends a fancy prep school. One day, her friend Khalil was fatally shot when he was unarmed. After his death makes national headlines, some are calling him a thug and cops are intimidating Starr and her family. The real question that everyone wants to know is what exactly happened at the scene, and only Starr knows the truth. Starr is caught in the middle as she struggles for justice. For teen-young adult. March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
This book illustrates to readers the life-long journey of John Lewis and his struggle for civil and human rights. Book One goes into depth about Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his memorable meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., the beginning of the Nashville Student Movement, and the battle for desegregation through nonviolent actions. For teen- young adult. July 2020 | Westchester Family
Podcasts for Kids
Our ultimate guide to 25 terrific podcasts to keep the kids learning and listening this summer By Regan Mies
ith an incredible variety of creative topics, themes and genres, these podcasts for kids are the perfect way to keep your child engaged and entertained while at home! Cook with the Mystery Recipe Podcast’s mystery cook-along and learn the answers to big science questions with NPR’s Wow in the World! With episodes that inspire through music-making, storytelling, research, creativity and more, there’s sure to be the perfect podcast for every young listener. Story PodcaStS
Story Seeds storyseedspodcast.com
Rather than simply sharing stories, the Story Seeds podcast takes things one step further and shows how stories are made! In each episode, one kid from ages 6 to 12 will be paired with a children’s book author. Listen as they first brainstorm and then make their way through the writing process until finally, at the end of every episode, there’s a readaloud with the author and their brand new story! Each episode is about a half-hour long and is full of creativity. Girl tales girltalespodcast.com
The Girl Tales podcast offers “feminist fairy tales for a new generation.” No damsels in distress here! Each episode lasts about 20 minutes and is brought to life with energetic voice actors and professional sound design. New stories debut every month, with the most recent being “M of the Mist,” “Amena Appleseed” and “Elisa and the Swans.” circle round npr.org
Targeted for ages 4 to 10, Circle Round’s 10 to 20-minute episodes tell folktales from around the world through immersive radio plays. Each episode explores valuable themes like
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
kindness and persistence, and each episode ends with a fun activity to prompt conversation between you and your child. Actor Chris Sullivan is featured in the most recent episode, “Chef Know-It-All,” a Hawaiian story about an egotistical, boastful cook. Story Pirates storypirates.com
With a crew of world-class actors, comedians and musicians, Story Pirates takes original stories from real kids and turns them into wild, imaginative audio adventures, each about 30 minutes in length! Kids of all ages are encouraged to submit their very own original stories on the Story Pirates website and hear their work brought to life as sketch comedy or musical theater. What If World whatifworldpodcast.com
For every episode of the What If World podcast, Mr. Eric turns a listener’s “What if?” question into a wacky and exciting story! With the help of goofy characters Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot and Whendiana Joan, Mr. Eric’s 15 to 20-minute stories will explore what might happen… if a tiny dragon lived in your closet, if there was a neverending bowl of ice cream or if cats ruled the world. Your child can call in for the chance to have their own question featured on the show. Story time bedtime.fm
Story Time offers audio short stories for children ages 2 to 13. Each episode is less than 20 minutes long, the perfect length to keep your young listener engaged. These stories are especially great for car rides or before-bed listening. Scripted Series Podcasts the alien adventures of Finn caspian finncaspian.com
Targeted for ages 5 to 10, this serialized science-fiction podcast is perfect for fans of
Scooby-Doo or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With over 100 half-hour episodes, your child will become immersed in the story of Finn Caspain, an 8-year-old boy aboard The Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station. With his friends Abigail, Elias and Vale, Finn explores uncharted space, solves mysteries, and helps the occasional alien along the way. aaron’s World mydogrocket.com
This 50-episode, imaginative, science-themed audio drama for kids was created by Aaron when he was just 6 years old, and by the time it reached its final episodes, he was only 11! Aaron’s World tells of the time-traveling adventures of a boy and his trusty computer companion as they explore the world in the time of dinosaurs; you’re sure to learn something new along the way! tara tremendous wonkybot.com
The Tara Tremendous series is an immersive scripted podcast with nearly 50 episodes so far! Follow 11-year-old Tara Callahan as she navigates her new life after accidentally acquiring the powers of every superhero in the world. With a cast of over 50 performers and loads of mystery, action and adventure, the musically-infused series will entertain the whole family. InteractIve PodcaStS Mystery recipe Podcast americastestkitchen.com
Have fun getting excited about cooking and eating with these 20-minute episodes about the fantastical sides of food with America’s Test Kitchen Kids. Each episode focuses on one ingredient and finishes with a mystery recipe cook-along! Mystery Recipe Podcast has 26 “silly and unexpectedly educational” episodes out now; the latest of which are titled “Starch of the Penguins” and “Carb Your Enthusiasm.”
The Music Box wuol.org
The Music Box, hosted by music educator Faith Murphy, is an interactive podcast that teaches lessons on musical objectives for young learners. Through performing, responding and connecting, kids are encouraged to make music and explore fundamental concepts! The 10-minute episodes can be further supplemented with printable lesson plans on the Music Box website. Noodle Loaf noodleloafshow.com
Geared toward kids ages 3 to 9, the Noodle Loaf podcast is full of singing, dancing and play! Led by a music education specialist and
his goofball kids, each Noodle Loaf episode encourages your family to join in for 10 minutes of creative fun. Smash Boom Best brainson.org
In this family-friendly debate show, debaters use facts and passion to make their case: Cats or dogs? Pizza or Tacos? The fun and silly competitions will teach young listeners how to defend their own opinions along the way! In two of the podcast’s recent 40-minute episodes, participants debate about Sharks versus Skunks and Chocolate versus Cheese. On the Smash Boom Best website, you can download score sheets to fill out as the episodes progress or submit your own debate
opinions and ideas! EducaTioNaL PodcaSTS Tai asks Why cbc.ca
Join curious Canadian 11-year-old Tai Poole as he asks life’s biggest questions. In his award-winning podcast, Tai searches for answers through conversations with professors and experts, with psychologists and astrophysicists — even with his little brother! To give you a taste of the types of questions Tai braves, the latest of his 20 to 30-minute podcasts are titled “This is why songs get stuck in your head — even when you don’t like them” and “Why the night sky is so dark — even when it’s full of stars.” July 2020 | Westchester Family
you’ll have the chance to listen to NASA’s Chief Scientist, Jim Green, answer questions about space exploration!
With the help of real-life scientists, hosts Lindsay and Marshal lead Tumble’s 15 to 20-minute episodes and teach kids about science through stories about scientific discoveries and mysteries. Recent podcast episodes covered “The Tale of the Interstellar Visitor,” “Answering Kids’ Coronavirus Questions” and “The Science of Smell.”
INSPIrINg POdCaSTS Best day Yet: Positive Thinking for Kids podcasts.apple.com
Elementary librarian and author Marjorie Stordeur believes that before kids can learn to be kind to others, they must first learn to be kind to themselves. Best Day Yet releases 5 to 15-minute weekly episodes wherein Marjorie and her two kids will guide listeners on “affirmative adventures.” The show teaches skills that will be helpful for all kids, like positive self-talk, but it’s especially impactful for kids who might struggle with anxiety or self-doubt.
Brains On! brainson.org
Brains On! is American Public Media’s science podcast for curious kids. Hosted by kid scientists and public radio reporters, the podcast asks questions about the world and “goes wherever the answers take us!” Some of the most recent 30 to 40-minute episodes are titled “Thinking Ink: the Scoop on this Colorful Stuff,” “Can You Dig to the Center of the Earth?” and “Joy Overload! The Science of Tickles and Cuteness.”
The dream Big Podcast dreambigpodcast.com
In The Dream Big Podcast, fifth-grader Eva and her mom Olga interview worldclass performers like Kobe Bryant and Mel Robbins to inspire young kids to pursue their passions and dream big! Other times, they share encouraging stories and simply chat about life. Young listeners will stay inspired through Dream Big’s over 200 episodes; at 20 to 30 minutes each, they’re the perfect length to keep your kids engaged and encouraged.
Wow in the World! npr.org
NPR’s kid science podcast, Wow in the World!, explores the wonders of the world around us. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz will bring you and your child along to “go inside our brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology. Two recent 10-minute episodes are titled “I Have a Need for Trees” and “The Stars of Space.”
the world is fascinating and knowledge is power!”
The Past and the Curious thepastandthecurious.com
Ear Snacks earsnacks.org
This podcast shares bite-sized, inspiring true stories from history about the incredible achievements of all types of people. The Past and the Curious is for anyone who loves a great story. Made for curious children, parents and teachers, the podcasts’ creators believe “stories from our collective past have the power to transform people today.” Listen to their newest episodes about hands, bears and basketballs!
In Ear Snacks’ 15 to 30-minute, familyfriendly episodes, Andrew, Polly and their friends chat about music, science, art and culture. Through award-winning music and conversation, young listeners will learn about all facets of the world. For example, Ear Snacks’ three most recent episodes cover joy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the number Pi.
But Why is a podcast produced by Vermont Public Radio and led by its kid listeners! It encourages kids to submit their questions about big and small topics like space, words and nature — even about the end of the world! During the COVID-19 crisis, But Why is hosting live shows every Friday at 1 pm Eastern Time. On Friday, May 15, the show invites Poetry Guy Ted Scheu to answer questions about poetry. On Friday, May 22,
Created by four veteran broadcast journalists, KidNuz offers five-minute episodes of nonpartisan and age-appropriate current events, top stories, politics, science, entertainment, sports and more to engage the next generation of learners. KidNuz’s goal is to inform without fear and educate without opinion, because “kids are curious,
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
But Why vpr.org
Five Minutes with dad fiveminuteswithdad.com
Listen to Pavlos, Angela and their dad Nick talk about all sorts of things in this kids and family podcast; learn about great ways to build parent-child connections along the way. Five Minutes With Dad has produced nearly 150 episodes so far! With episodes like “Six Ways to Have Fun This Spring,” “Setting Priorities for Kids and Family” and “Making the Best out of New Experiences,” these encouraging podcasts, made for kids, by kids, will give the family something new to look forward to every week. Peace Out podcasts.apple.com
Peace Out is perfect for parents who want to teach their kids mindfulness and selfregulation. Peace Out’s 20-minute relaxation stories will help young listeners learn skills to calm down and relax, skills like visualization and breathing exercises. Their 5-minute “Time to Pause” episodes are perfect for those much-needed moments of calm throughout the day.
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Check out these ideas for fun and games when learning at home BY JANA BEAUCHAMP
hile a new version of summer fun is in the air and things are starting to open up, we still plan to have a lot of time safe at home. Here are some of our favorite resources and fun and games to help make summer staycations extra fun while avoiding the summer slide: American Girl Stay & Play Hub is a content hub for kids to explore, be creative, and learn. One of the first at-home activities was a virtual read-along of Kit with American Girl Author Valerie Tripp. In addition to American Girl’s free online library, the Stay & Play hub offers sing-alongs, free yoga classes, and easy & fun recipes. We also love the endless imaginative play the AG dolls offer and especially love the School Backpack set and Truly Blue Hairstyling Caddy with the Salon Chair & Wrap set for playing in quarantine fashion. Carnegie Hall introduced an ongoing series of free concerts and activities for kids
WestchesterFamily.com | July 2020
and families. Drawn from programs created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), this collection of resources encourages musical learning, discovery, and play for your young ones, from babies and toddlers to students in grades K–5. Your family can sing and move to music from around the world, listen to the soothing sounds of lullabies, get creative with coloring pages, and learn about the instruments of the orchestra in an interactive game. Check out their growing library of free resources for families, and stay tuned for concerts, activities, and more. Crayola developed an At-Home Creative Hub in which parents, teachers, and kids can visit for easy access to educational and crafting resources. From Creative Lesson plans, DIY crafts, How-To Videos, Free Coloring Pages, At-Home inspirational emails and their brand new live “Color & Sing Alongs” — Crayola hopes to provide creative solutions to consumers’ daily routines during these unforeseen times. It houses 100s of Craft Tutori-
als with complimentary How-to Videos and Craft recipes, providing families with fun, clever and easy creative activities, in addition to a varied supply of Free Coloring Pages. Learn Through This campaign is utilizing its VTech and LeapFrog brands to support teachers and parents with the tools they need to keep kids busy, learning, and active while at home. As a company grounded in learning and discovery, VTech and LeapFrog are offering comprehensive resources including free content such as articles, printable activity books and educational activities curated by its team of learning experts; an extended free trial of its interactive learning program, LeapFrog Academy, and recommendations for products that deliver key learning and developmental activities such as reading, writing and role-play. Lite Brite is a bright light in this time at home. The new retro-inspired styling resembles the original Lite-Brite from the ’80s and now features a bigger screen, brighter pegs, and more templates including six retro patterns! Just insert the pegs into the templates or freestyle an original design – then press the button to see the creation light-up in four different ways, from steady to blinking. With an updated stand on the back, kids can easily create and display their masterpieces…then turn off the lights for the ultimate effect! Mattel Playroom is a free online resource
that offers play-from-home activities, games, content and expert advice. Mattel is bringing families activities and content from its iconic brands, including American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends and more. Played by 112 million people each month, Minecraft has made a name for itself as one of the most beloved video games of all time. Now, you can continue exploring the Overworld, build structures, and mine resources — this time through a shared, in-person experience with the Minecraft: Builders & Biomes board game from Ravensburger and developed in collaboration with Mojang. My Fairy Garden’s Fairy Light Garden is an enchanted fairy mushroom home that doubles as a night-light! Creating your own magical oasis has never been easier thanks to the easy-to-follow guide that takes children through each step on how to plant and water the seeds, while also teaching valuable STEM lessons. This set includes everything you’ll need to make a special garden for the fairy Saffron and her beautiful unicorn Calista! Plant your seeds and play in your fairy world
surrounded by the magic of nature. Speak & Spell is back and it’s just like you remember! One of the earliest computer learning systems from the ’70s and ’80s, Speak & Spell was the first educational toy designed to help children learn to spell over 200 commonly misspelled words using a speech synthesizer. Now, a whole new generation can enjoy this classic toy with friends and family for years to come. With multiple play modes and challenge levels, kids will have fun and learn at the same time! The Story Pirates offer “screen time” that parents can trust: live improv performances, educator-approved writing and music classes, and a variety of interactive musical and sketch comedy entertainment for young
My Fairy Garden’s Fairy Light Garden
people, refreshed each and every day. Along with free streaming content via StoryPirates. com, the Story Pirates recently launched a Creator Club. This subscription service features continually updated activities that coincide with episodes of their awardwinning podcast, writing prompts, livestreamed classes, improv, a daily radio show, and a video library to entertain and encourage creativity for kids at home. Another new offering of the Creator Club is Story Pirates University with interactive live-streamed classes taught by expert Story Pirates teachers. Sessions include expository writing lessons, script school, and Music Monday, which features guest composers behind Story Pirates award-winning songs.
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Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible. â€” Carol Moseley Braun
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