Straw and Pipe Cleaner Geometry

Creative Wednesday

Teaching shapes is fun. Using simple materials, my 8-year-old charge created squares, triangles, diamonds, quadrangles, and more. Older kids can be more creative and make 3-D shapes such as cubes. Build them, take them apart, and start all over again.

You Will Need:

Pipe Cleaners
Safety Scissors

What to Do:

Show the kids how to cut up straws and pipe cleaners to make geometric shapes. Slide pipe cleaners into the straws to keep the shapes from falling apart.

11 Children’s Books for Earth Day


Weekly Trip to the Library

It is Earth Day! Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22. Worldwide events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Here are some great children’s books that are great to read in honor of Earth Day:

img_58731. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

In the 1980s the cities of Gambia, switched from using baskets made of natural materials to non-biodegradable plastic bags, which led to a problem. The roadsides began to be choked by ever-growing piles of plastic bags. Then, the problem spread to the villages. In Njau, Gambia, a young woman named Isatou Ceesay became concerned; when she learned that these non-biodegradable objects, discarded after breakage and tears made them no longer usable, were attracting disease-bearing insects and that domestic animals often died after eating the bags, she decided to do something about it. Author Paul has written a clear and sensitive account of Ceesay and her fellow activists’ ingenious solution to the plastic bag problem (they wash them, cut the bags into strips, and crochet the strips into small purses to sell in the city).

img_58842. A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch

Based on an actual event, Glashka discovers thousands of whales trapped in a rapidly freezing inlet. She gets the people of her town to help them. This is an inspiring story that follows Glashka and her people as they come to understand the importance of all life.

img_58833. The Lorax (Classic Seuss) by Dr. Suess

In his search to find a real Truffula Tree a boy must find the Lorax who is a forest guardian who speaks for the trees and protects the forest. The Lorax tries to save the environment and blames big business and greed for destruction of our environment. Click here to see activities to do with children after reading “The Lorax.”

img_58744. Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter

“Here Comes the Garbage Barge!” ­traces the origin of increased trash awareness, at least on the Eastern Seaboard, to 1987, when the tale of a tugboat and its unhappy haul gripped a nation in the midst of a slow news cycle. It started when the Long Island town of Islip, overcome by its own refuse, shipped 3,168 tons of it down the Atlantic coast, with a plan to dump it in some farmers’ backyards. But North Carolina turned the barge away, as did Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Florida; Mexico and Belize sent out their militaries to keep the barge offshore. The barge returned and spent the summer stinking up New York Harbor while politicians wrangled, onlookers gaped and comedians cracked wise. Six months after its sorry tale began, the barge finally unloaded at a Brooklyn incinerator. The story turns uplifting only after it ends: the incessant news coverage helped inspire Americans to pay more attention to their trash, ushering in the recycling era.

Complete Review by Karen Schumer from New York Times

img_58755. What On Earth Can We Do? by Emily Sper

This book introduces children to actions that help make our planet healthier. They will learn to make less garbage, reuse, recycle, compost, plant a tree, and not to waste electricity or water. There are easy explanations of electricity, carbon dioxide, global warming, and renewable energy, and introduces children to actions that help make our planet healthier.

img_58766. The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches

Told from the point of view of a plastic bottle, kids can share in the daily experiences and inner thoughts of the bottle through his personal journal. The diary entries are fun, while pointing out the ecological significance behind each product and the resources used to make it. Readers will never look at a plastic bottle the same way again!

img_58777. I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)

Max is a little monster who likes to litter and never, ever recycles. Then the electricity goes out and he sees how exciting and beautiful th Earth is.

img_58788. The EARTH Book by Todd Parr

This book includes lots of easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make the Earth feel good — from planting a tree and using both sides of the paper, to saving energy, and reusing old things in new ways.

img_58799. On Earth by G. Brian Karas

With poetic text and gorgeous illustrations, the author explains the Earth and its cycles, making the concepts of rotation and revolution understandable even to the youngest children.

img_588010. Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share by Molly Bang

This is a full color picture book with a simple story of our planet’s natural resources with paintings by Caldecott Honor author Molly Bang. Through the example of a shared village green and the growing needs of the townspeople who share it, Molly Bang presents the challenge of handling our planet’s natural resources.

img_588111. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

One boy’s quest for a greener world, just one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

Do You Correct Your Nanny Kid’s Homework?

Reading the book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey has been life-changing for the way I support my youngest nanny kid during homework. I admit I used to hover, tried to help when they moaned or cried, and would double check […]

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“Mossy” by Jan Brett and Activities

Weekly Trip to the Library Mossy is an eastern box turtle who loves the pond so much that she spends all of her time there. Moss, plants, and flowers begin to take root on her shell. Dr. Carolina and her niece Tory are thrilled to find Mossy in the reeds, and they take her up […]

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Corn Casserole

Cooking With Kids I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love corn. This is a simple and basic corn casserole recipe found on nearly every recipe web site. Children are more apt to try new foods they are allowed to help make. So be sure to have them help gather the ingredients, measure, […]

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10 Ways for Parents to Respect Nanny Professional Boundaries

If parents are reasonable and conscientious about respecting job boundaries of their caregivers, they will get better job performance from their nannies. 10 Ways for Parents to Respect Nanny Professional Boundaries: 1. Sign a work agreement.  Detail the job responsibilities, house rules, emergency procedures, work schedule, vacation and sick time procedures, compensation, pay frequency, communication […]

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Melted Crayon Easter Eggs

Creative Wednesdays I thought I had tried making all kinds of eggs working as a nanny for the past 25-years until I heard about melting crayons on hot boiled eggs. First, I let the kids sprinkle crayons shavings onto eggs. Then they used crayons to draw on hot eggs. Drawing on hot eggs works much […]

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Games and Toys for Passover

Products Nannies Love What I love most about Passover is that it is a wonderful Seder that uses symbolism and a story to teach children about their religious history. Children also learn through play. Here are our favorite games and toys to help teach children about Passover. Here are some children books about Passover to […]

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10 Great Saint Patrick’s Day Children’s Books

Weekly Trip to the Library Saint Patrick’s Day is today in observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into a variety of festivals across the globe celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a […]

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St. Patrick’s Day Counting Fun

Creative Wednesdays Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up making it the perfect time to make this easy counting game. A common symbol of the Irish holiday is the pot of gold protected by leprechauns at the end of rainbows. So we made this simple counting game of putting paper coins on a paper pot. You […]

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