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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wooden Dinosaurs - Just what I've been looking for!

I check to see what's new at Oompa just about every day and today I was pleasantly surprised to find a wooden dinosaur set! For about a year now I've been on the lookout for wooden dinosaurs. This is the Wooden Dinosaur Animal Set from Cheekeyes ($29.99). I am so excited about them, they're adorable! Check out all the accessories from Cheekeyes like their Prehistoric Tree Set or the Dino Volcano. They make a perfect setting for these wooden dinos!

To make this even better, Oompa is having Double Points Days until Sunday at midnight!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Poetry for Preschoolers

I'm in love with Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, a collection of poetry from children's authors. Each poem is beautifully illustrated and as the title suggests, it truly is geared to the toddler-preschool age group.

In reading poetry to children, they hear words and syntax that differs from the way we talk every day. They develop an ear for it and this helps them become better listeners and readers. Poetry often has rhyming words. Rhymes are especially important to young listeners and rhyming is critical in early childhood to help build later reading and spelling skills. Listening for rhymes and "matching" up rhyming words is a great skill for pre-readers.

The poems in this book are perfect for younger readers, my 3 year old son often chooses this book as his night time story and we read about a dozen or so poems in one sitting. The book is organized into different sections like 'my family' and 'all about me', themes familiar to this age group.

As children get older you can introduce them to Shel Silverstein, a classic children's poet. His poems are wonderful but sometimes above little one's understanding or breadth of knowledge. I love his poems because you often have to guess from the context clues what the subject of the poem is. This is another great skill poetry teaches, metaphors in reading and comprehension. I also love Jack Prelutsky's poetry collections so be sure to check them out as well. His poems deal with childhood themes and subjects with a great touch of humor.

To end, I'd like to share my favorite poem as of late:

There Was a Child Went Forth
by Walt Whitman

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of
the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor
falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the fa├žades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away
solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back(pack) to School Time

Can you believe summer is almost over and our kids will be starting school soon, if not already? Where did the time go? Hopefully you had as great a summer as I did, lounging by the pool, playing with friends, and having fun with family! I get so excited around this time. I loved buying new school supplies each year in August. I read once that children who get new school supplies each year actually do better in school. It gets them excited to learn and be back in class. Who doesn't love opening a new pack of crayons with sharp tips? Or labeling and organizing all the supplies? So, this post is in celebration for back-to-school! Who needs a new backpack?!

Each backpack is a different size! Make sure to check the site's dimensions on it to ensure a good fit for your kid. Some are better suited to preschoolers while others are for younger or older elementary. For example, the preschool backpacks may not be able to accomodate a standard 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper or folder. Happy shopping!

Fleurville Kid's Pack Lunch Bag
Silver/Pink and Silver Navy from Oompa ($31.99)

Fleurville Green with Pink Ogo from Oompa ($65.99)
several styles available

Dante Beatrix Little Monkey Backpack at Neiman Marcus ($36)
several styles available, see Oompa too
We got ours today and I couldn't be more happy with it!!!

GlyphGuy Blue Backpack at Oompa ($29.99)
other colors available, this is also a great boy bag

Cath Kidston ABC Kids Rucksack
made from easily cleaned oilcloth
more styles on website

Several colors available, a good boy backpack
also in girly polka dots

Gap Printed Junior Backpack ($16.50)
different sizes and styles are available

Gap Sporty Backpack ($19.50)
different sizes and styles are available

Gap also has matching lunch sacks

Hanna Andersson Be Right Backpack ($29.50)
Several styles available, in boys too

Garnet Hill Backpack, Purple Zinnias ($32.00)
Several prints available, make sure to check out the Blue Rockets