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Africa Day: Children’s Books About Africa – We Can Visit in Books

Today, a colleague posted it’s Africa Day. How much does your child know about Africa? And you? Here are some ideas for children’s books about Africa. (Thank you Patrick Makokoro and the Nhaka Foundation for the inspiration for this post.)
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The book A Is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu is a combination of show and tell. The author is also a parent and photographer. While the text is geared for older kids, the pictures can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. The images remind us Africa is a huge continent of many countries with great diversity. We can visit in books.


A fun story with a rhyming text is We All Went On Safari by Laurie Krebs and illustrated by Julie Cairns. This is a counting story with not only the numbers in English but also in Swahili. Read more about the animals, the country of Tanzania, the Maasai people, and check the map included. A YouTube video of the book gives an example of how to say the numbers.

What happens if you lose a tooth in Africa? Is there a Tooth Fairy in Mali, West Africa? The answer to the question is in the delightful book by Penda Diakité and illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité. I Lost My Tooth in Africa tells the story in both words and colorful pictures. Losing a tooth happens to children everywhere in the world and is an exciting time. We don’t stop to think about how cultures can be different for such small details. How else are things different in countries of Africa? How are they the same? lost-tooth-africa

Baba shares two African proverbs with us, “Raising a child is like planting a tree. When it is tended well, you will enjoy its shade.” Families and communities are critical in supporting children’s development. One of the resources we use for raising children is story-telling. Words must go from old mouths to new ears. Our brains are hard-wired for stories, perhaps because we hear stories with our ears, see them on the page and in our mind, and treasure them in our hearts.storyteller-statue

Children’s books about Africa share information about countries many of us can only dream of visiting. Do you know some other stories and books for kids about Africa?


Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th Anniversary –Reminding Us Again

May 1967 saw the start of a neighborhood that now stretches around the world and beyond time. This month marks Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th anniversary. Right when we need him most, once again, we have his reminder to “Look for the helpers,” in the midst of terrible tragedy.


News coverage has shocked us and made our hearts tremble. Even in the midst of this though, the news also includes stories of the helpers. A woman rushed into the area when she heard children screaming and led them to safety, a taxi driver drove people all night to where they needed to go. More people and businesses have responded with whatever they can do. In Mister Rogers words, there are “always people who are helping.”

Whether children know what has happened or not, they are still affected because we are. If they have questions, we can explain something very sad happened and we are sad when we think about the people even though they are far away. In our own neighborhoods, is there someone who we can help? There are many ways children can help, too.

Some simple ways to help are to make a batch of cookies for someone who cannot get out much and deliver the cookies to them. At this time of year, there could be flowers in the garden. Pick some flowers together, put them in a jar, and take them to a neighbor. Kids themselves can help us sort out clothes that are too small for them or toys they don’t use anymore. These can be taken to a thrift store or other charity. Do you have any elderly neighbors that could use a hand weeding a garden? New families in the neighborhood might appreciate an invitation to go to the playground for some fun and sun.

No matter where we live, we might be able to show our kids what it means to be a helper. We have no idea what the future will bring for our children, but we can help them by giving them words and actions to live by. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 50th Anniversary reminds us the world is our neighborhood and in it, there are helpers.

Kids’ April Fool’s Fun – Easy Pranks for Kids and Parents

The calendar says time for some silliness with kids’ April Fool’s fun and what’s more fun than some easy pranks for kids and parents? Of course, one parent may need to coordinate with the kids.

Since April Fool’s is happening on a weekend, instead of kids crawling into bed with the parents, the parents should crawl into the kids’ beds? It might be one way of catching some extra sleep. Here’s a list of some fun things to do: april fools pranks

1. Give kids permission to take lots of tissues. With a few in each hand, they get to stuff either mom’s or dad’s shoes, so the shoes will feel like they shrunk.

2. With a sneaky switcheroo, kids can substitute their underwear for one or the other parents’ undies. Or they can switch mom’ and dad’s. Neither mom nor dad will accidentally wear the wrong ones.

3. If they can remember, whenever kids talk to mom, they call her “Dad.” Whenever they talk to dad, they call him “Mom.” This doesn’t usually last too long before kids giggle with glee.

4. Have kids draw faces on the eggs. To do this, an adult needs to hold the egg while kids gently draw with a marker. Wiping up a raw egg is no joke.april fools kids

5. Tuck a toy or stuffie into mom’s or dad’s bag or briefcase, or maybe their slipper.

6. If someone in the family has a lunch bag in the fridge, stick some googly eyes on their sandwich bag or piece of fruit.april-fools

As adults, apparently we don’t laugh as much in a day as kids do. Yet, we know sometimes having a sense of humor is all that keeps us from going crazy. Laughing about a situation helps us stay sane. April Fool’s is an opportunity to share some laughter with our kids and to create some memories of fun. What can you and your kids do today for some adult and kids’ April Fool’s Fun?

Poppies, Service, and Peace for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day are significant day is a significant day for past, present, and future. Not only are we remembering those Veterans and Soldiers who fought and died in past wars and conflicts, we are also honoring those who serve now. For the future, we are continuing the efforts to resolve conflicts with … Continue reading Poppies, Service, and Peace for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

Olympic Games #17– What is the Role of Sports for Kids?

This weekend is the Olympics Closing Ceremonies. As the Games end, it’s a good time to think about what is the role of sports for kids? Perhaps, more importantly, how do we encourage young children in sports without pushing them? Family therapist and parenting expert Carleton Kendrick has some excellent suggestions for preschool kids. In … Continue reading Olympic Games #17– What is the Role of Sports for Kids?

Olympic Games #14 – Olympic Lego Activities and Play

Today’s Games event is Olympic Lego activities and play. Medals aren’t given out for toys but if they were, Lego would win the gold. Lego may look like a simple, humble toy but it gets the top score for both technical merit and artistic impression. Lego scores high for artistic expression as well. It is … Continue reading Olympic Games #14 – Olympic Lego Activities and Play

Olympic Games #13 – Olympic Playdough Activities

If there were Olympic medals for the performance of toys, playdough would be a winner. Let’s go for the gold with some Olympic playdough activities. Playdough comes in all colors of the rainbow but not exactly gold, silver, and bronze. Those colors are found in the pot at the end of the rainbow. However, kids … Continue reading Olympic Games #13 – Olympic Playdough Activities