The Best Candy Shop


As I was reading over different posts paying tribute to Maya Angelou this morning, I came across this quote: “The best candy shop a child can be left alone in is the library”. (Maya Angelou)


It reminded me of these posters I saw in one of Seattle’s public libraries, “5 best way to raise a reader”: read, talk, write and play with your children in any language. I never saw the 5th poster but I am guessing it is “sing with them”.


What a world opens up to a child when they discover books. First pictures and then when they learn to decipher the code of language and begin to read. Libraries are wonderful entrances to this world of books where imaginations take flight. This is where creativity begins: in the thoughts of a child.


For much of my children’s lives we lived abroad with little access to libraries. When we came back to the United States for breaks, one of the first places we would visit during our settling in time was the Library. We would get our cards then go pick out our books. I know my husband and I enjoyed this maybe even more than our children. I have memories of joining summer reading clubs as a child and going through the shelves picking out books. I was not a great reader as a child but continued steadily on to read year after year. Now it is one of my great pleasures. I read for pleasure as well as to learn and it all happens as I continue to expand my thinking and imagination.


Give the gift of books to your children. Take them to the library often. It will open the doors of their imagination. The best candy store ever, and it won’t rot their teeth! I know we have moved into an era where everything can be found on a screen, but the feel of a book in hand and a whole library full of them cannot be replaced.



Tips for Active Tots

Do you have an active toddler, rushing around the house or playground from one thing to the next?


Is your child bored with her toys and books?


Here are some ideas, and I hope others will join in the conversation with more ideas to keep those active tots engaged, learning and safe.


Keep some or most special books set aside for reading together before naps and at bedtime.  Then the child will get used to calming down with a snuggle and a read before going off to sleep.  Also this will protect the books from being destroyed by a curious little person.


Divide the child’s toys into half or even thirds.  Set aside and hide the half or third.  Alternate toys every few weeks (few days), then old toys are like new again, and again, and again.


Put your favorite music on and dance, dance, dance!


Don’t get into the habit of rewarding or comforting your child with food, especially sweets.  This creates a bad habit of rewards or comfort equals something to eat.


Daily outings, as simple as walking around the neighborhood or going out to get the mail help break up the routine at home and get some fresh (hopefully) air for everybody.


Swimming, baths, and water play are great ways to mix up the routine, with your supervision of course! There is lots of learning and experimentation going on with pouring water in and out of containers and all over the floor!  This is where Asian bathrooms are the best with drains in the floors.  Outside water play is great too!  Don’t worry about mud.  It washes off.  My Norwegian friends really helped me with this when my kids were little.  Just find some rain boots and slickers and it doesn’t matter what the weather is like.  The important thing was to get the kids outside to play.


Now what are some of your ideas to help entertain or calm down an active Tot?