Help Kids Find a Hobby

Hobbies are fun for adults to have because they give us an outlet for expressing a different side of ourselves that we can perhaps not experience at work or at home.  For our children basically everything they “do” can turn into either a career or a hobby.  So how do we as parents guide them or help them discover what they are good at and what they are great at?

Talents grow as your children grow, so helping them explore different activities will help shape who they become.  Many kids play sports and musical instruments, as well as go to art and cooking classes. With so many choices available to children today, how can we help guide them in the right direction?

Here are 3 tips on how to evaluate children’s activities to see if they love it, are good at it and if they should continue to do it:

1) Watch your child as they participate… are they active & engaged?

2) Do they get excited when they talk about it. Does their face and eyes light up when they share their experience with you?

3) Really evaluate if they excel at a particular activity…talk to their teacher or coach too.

The activities that do all 3 of these things can give your child so much joy and confidence; two particularly key ingredients in happy futures.  So help your children embrace these activities,  engage them in conversations about that topic, do it with them and tell them it is a “special” talent that they have.  You will help them create a life long passion.  So whichever way they chose to pursue it later in life, you know that they will be happy when they are doing it.

In honor of Father’s Day…We suggest inspiring children to have hobbies!

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Teaching Kids to Master Ocean Waves

Time spent at the seashore this summer can be filled with hours of fun splashing and jumping waves. For parents it can also be a little nerve racking. One way to reduce your anxiety is to teach your children how waves work and how to master them.  And what proud papa doesn’t get excited about their kid catching a wave!

This video teaches kids how to dive under waves and stay in control, a good one to watch with your kids. If your kids are boogie boarders or learning to surf, learning how to do a duck dive is essential.  This video is a great one for learning this silly named skill.

And if your kids are into the science of waves – this video illustrates how waves are formed.

Have a safe and surf filled summer!

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DIY Kids Track & Field in Your Backyard

Playing Sports with your child is a great way to not only have fun and be present in the moment, but also to get in shape!  Here are a few tips for sports activities parents can do with kids which are easy to set up with items you already have at home. I have chosen field and track as my theme, but really you can do it with any sport.  Introducing new sports activities is exciting for curious minds and who knows you may even ignite the spark for a future Olympian.

Pillow Hurdles

All you need is a good long open space in your hallway or backyard and a few pillows. Line up pillows on the ground spaced out approx. 6 ft apart (spacing depends on the size of your kids stride while running).  To test their stride have them run the length and put down sticks to mark the center of their leaps…this is where you will lay the pillows.  Here is the rhythm of hurdles….Run, run, run, leap, one, two, three, leap, one, two, three.  As they get better, you can up the height of the hurdles.  Now set it up for your leaps! Have fun timing each other. Here is a short instructional video on how to do hurdles.

Orange Shot Put

If you like competition, this is a fun outdoor activity to do with your kids and all you need is an orange. You can set up the throw line and the measured distances with chalk if you are doing it on cement or use sticks if you are on grass.  Set up one line for the place from where the shot put orange will be thrown.  Then measure three distances approx. 4 ft, 6 ft and 8 ft away. This is how you’ll see who throws the shot put the farthest.  Now training time…the way to throw a shot put correctly is to stand back a few feet from the throwing line.  1) Grab the Orange fully palm it with your fingers wrapped around it. 2) Tuck the orange touching your neck with your elbow out to the side.  3) Turn sideways, leaning back on one foot. 4) Hop forward still with your body sidewise and trust your body forward to propel your energy forward. 5) Push the orange through the air while in motion at a 45 degree angle. 6) release the orange at the top of your reach, remember not to go over the throw line or you’ll “fault” (which means your throw will be disqualified). You did it! Now practice, practice, practice.  Take turns throwing the orange and see who can throw it the farthest. Here is a video that shows it very clearly, check it out!


Celery Stick Relay Races

This works best if you can figure out a circular path that is unobstructed.  Run around the house or even the living room; if you allow running in your house.  I suggest doing a Slo-mo version of this game to start to get children to really understand how the hand off works.   First, set up the hand off points one for each person who is participating including you.  Have the first person hold the celery stalk near the bottom with the longer point facing the person they are running towards. Have the waiting person put out their hand behind them with their palm facing up and looking back over their shoulder.  Once the runner with the celery is close have the waiting person start to run slowly.  Have the celery person place the long end of the celery in the awaiting palm. The waiting person squeezes their hand shut, then the first runner releases the celery. The new celery holder runs as fast as he can towards the next awaiting participant and repeats the hand off.  Check out this video to see how it is done. This video is a little loud but really demonstrates each step very clearly.

Share this link with dads for fun activities to do with kids for father’s day.

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3 Easy Decorating Tips to add a Splash of Summer to Any Room

At Zookies, we are ALL about fabrics. We love designing and decorating with fun splashes of color.  With summer almost upon us, here are a few tips on how to lighten up your living room and bedroom with just a few yards of fabric.

1) PILLOWS – Pillow are so easy to sew.  Getting quality fillers is really what makes the pillow poof! I love down pillows and fortunately live near the best marketplace in downtown LA’s fabric district.  But here are a few places online that are pretty reasonable. The first step is to get your pillow fillers.  Then you can cut the fabric to fit the pillow.  If you already have pillows, you can just create a new cover for them.  I love to have a set for each season.  And I usually change them out pretty frequently since I like to be inspired by my home.  Sewing is a synch.  Just lay out the fabric face to face and cut a square that is 1.5 ” larger than your pillow size.  I like to add ties to my pillow so that I can remove the cover and wash it – AND use the same fillers with different covers.  I sew the pillow on 3 sides and then fold down the forth side as if you are rolling it towards the bottom.  1/2″ is enough for the seam.  Then I sew on the ribbons to tie the pillow.  Sew three on each side ( size total). Put in the pillow, tie up, and you are ready for summer.

2) BED COVERS – These can either be fun duvet covers that hold your summer comforters or  just a bed cover without a filling used as a decoration only. Bed covers can be folded and thrown over the end of the bed like the ones pictured here.

3) ADD AN ACCESSORY – that matches the accent color of your pillows like this fun yellow vase on the table. Picture frames, trays and lamps can also make your summer look complete.



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Chores For Kids – “In” Sourcing

Insourcing household duties to your kids. Here’s a great article on that gives you a 3 step program to get your kids to help with chores.

I made a video on how to help your kids be self sufficient. I suggest giving them a “house tour”. Now there’s no excuse for comments like, “I need a fork mom!” Let me know if miraculously your kids brain starts problem solving for themselves next time they are “dying of thirst!”

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Photo credit: from article I promoted.

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All Natural Snow Cones…Sugar Free Treats for Kids

It makes me SMILE, when I arrive at an event and they have ALL NATURAL snow cones for the kids!!

Who doesn’t LOVE a snow cone? With summer just around the corner, parents can keep their kids sugar intake low by making snow cone flavorings themselves.  Here’s a link to an All Natural Snow Cone Recipe that I love and your kids will too!

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Things Only a Mother Could Love

This month our wordless Wednesday posts are all about mom – in honor of Mother’s Day, of course! The topic this week is “only a mother could love.”  When your child is born a love for that child is also born; that love is a blind love no doubt. We love our kids when they are crying, when they have a silly toothless grin, when they make mistakes and even when they hit their sibling. In all their awkwardness, stumbling, bumbling stages of life and learning, moms love their kids. And when our kids fail, flounder or fall from grace, our heart breaks with them. No matter how old our babies become moms will always worry and want the best for them with all the love deep in our heart.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who loves me and wants the best for me. Thanks for loving me at my highest AND lowest moments in my life.

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How to Dye Pasta: Easy Kid Craft

Kids love to make necklaces and bracelets.  I am always running out of beads when I have a group of kidos over playing.  Here is a clever way to die pasta and have buckets of beads!

1) Buy a few different shapes of tube pasta.

2) toss pasta in a zip lock bag with some dye and hand sanitizer.  You can use vegetable dye if prefer it.

3) Shake that bag!!

4) lay out over night on cookie sheets to dry.

5) put into fun containers divided up by color and shape.

6) Let kids thread the pasta beads onto pipe cleaners to make bracelets and necklaces!

TIP: And the same shape pasta into 2 different colors for a more fun variety presentation, like our photo above.

This activity is fantastic for developing fine motor skills.

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What is Home?

I know it is “Wordless” Wednesday, but I am not feeling wordless about this topic.  The topic for this week is “home.” For the month of May we are celebrating Mothers, and those who mother us.  For me I am faced with being a mom and what home means for me moving forward and not looking back from where I came.

I went through photos of my kids, my house, swimming at the beach, playing with my kids, happy chaos, snuggling in bed, family portraits, palm trees and the sun.  How big did I want to go? Earth as my home? Los Angeles as my home? Photos from my real house? Of my family? My mom? My heart?  I feel like I am home wherever I am…wherever I hang my hat and really, wherever I feel loved.

Lately I have been faced with my own nationality and birth place as my home.  As I stood at my sons student assembly and put my hand over my heart, I couldn’t help but wonder who had decided to bring back the pledge of allegiance? Didn’t it get banned from schools for a while? And now at a time in history when America really needs our nations children to feel a sense patriotism, I think that it is the right decision.  America needs us and will always be my home no matter where I live.

What is home for you?

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Easy and Yummy Paleo Breakfast!

If you are up on diets and fads and like to know what everyone is talking about these days….it’s Paleo! The Paleo diet is basically based on what our ancestors ate when they were hunters and gatherers.  You can eat Meat, Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts. AND the best part is you can eat as much as you want of those things.   You really don’t get hungry on this diet, and who can say no to a diet that allows you to eat bacon!  The first few days some people experience carb with drawl.  But, if you eat enough vegetables that are high in carbs it really does balances out your cravings.

I have been eating Paleo for over a year and it feel amazing.  I lost my extra weight after having a baby. And to be honest, it is not a fad or a diet to me anymore.  It is a way of life…eating right to feel my best. There are a lot of great books on the topic.  Read Robb Wolfs, The Paleo Solution, and you’ll really understand why this is best for our bodies.  He also offers some insight into how this diet can benefit people with certain diseases and conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol.

Great recipes can be found in “Everyday Paleo” and online recipes from the Paleo Gourmet.   The yummy breakfast pictured above is my own recipe.  Soft boil eggs for 7 minutes, slice heirloom tomatoes and lightly steam asparagus ( you can do this the night before at dinner time and save in the fridge for breakfast).  I added 1 slice of uncured apple smoked bacon and a fresh avocado.  Super Yummy and Healthy too.

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