Play to teach self-control

NYTimes: “Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control? “ “Creative Play Makes for Kids in Control”

Do you encourage play time with your children along these lines or have them involved in a preschool that operates with a similar program? I admit I have not – Emma’s play is either directed – baking, arts and crafts, or games, or non-structured free time. So can’t attest to how well the work. What these programs are attempting to improve or instill is important.

And BTW, I gotta agree with the author of “What should a 4 year old know” for what is truly important. Compassion towards others, and self control, are both in that mix.


The New Yorker: Jonah Lehrer: “The secret of self-control.”

YouTube: “Kids & the Marshmallow Test”:

Happy “Half Way Out of the Dark”

That’s the Doctor describing the protagonist in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol”, and an apt description for what many feel is the significance of Christmas Eve (and Winter Solstice for that matter). It was a terrific episode (for an in-depth review check out “Behind the Sofa” a great Doctor Who focused blog). If you’re worried about the time-paradox questions it opens up and possible inconsistencies – well it’s Doctor Who – and there have been many such episodes in the past.

Emma had 3 before this, but this year was really her first Christmas and I feel so blessed to be part of providing it in such a crazy, fragile world. It was a fantastic day that culminated in her Grandparents and Uncle and family stopping over for a great dinner. I hope your holiday was as touched by loved ones as mine.

My thoughts go to those who have lost someone whenever I post something like this. We feel our missing loved ones in a real significant way during the holidays. I miss Mom. And for you especially hurting, my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

Speaking of which, let me pass along Howard’s holiday wish because I can hope for nothing greater:

may all our blessings
sow the seeds of compassion
wherever they’ll grow

(BTW – that’s two of his haikus of his I’ve quoted in two months – get over there subscribe, and maybe buy some of his stuff)

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad

I wanted to offer this from my personal blog here on the Web. It was an honor to play a few songs for you on my old guitar. Your love has given me and all your children so much to learn from. Emma is here and she says hi 🙂

On Being a Puppetmaster

YouTube: “Jim Henson on Making Muppets 1969”:

His work was branded unfit for children

Mental Floss: “Shel Silverstein’s Unlikely Rise to Kid Lit Superstardom”

There will be a long form movie version of “The Giving Tree” someday.

Jim Henson, 20 Years Later

Wired: “20 Years Later, Remembering Jim Henson”.

Emma’s Playlist for Saturday February 20th, 2010

Emma’s Playlist are links, videos, and music that Emma loved and asked me to play again and again. First in a not so regular series.

YouTube: Spidey Meets the Yeti:

YouTube: The Muppets: Beaker’s Ballad:

YouTube: Fraggle Rock* “Let Me Be Your Song” (okay, this last one is for me – Emma declared ‘THATS NOT ROCKNROLL”) and clicked away.

Emma’s first poem

My friend Howard Hall is a gifted poet who can coalesce a lot of truth in a few syllables. He’s been featuring among his poems handwritten pieces from others under the tag “secondhand haiku” on his blog (non-breaking space).

Emma has a way with words and stories which is just natural – all children have greater insight into the truth of our existence than we do I think. Over time, we simply forget, or we lose touch with it. I wondered if I could scribble down some sentences of hers, could they could be constructed into a haiku we could send? I had collected a pretty good list of sentences and phrases, but the eureka moment happened when I tried to share with Emma what a poem was. I don’t remember what I said, but when Emma explained it back to me, “When you draw with pictures and draw words, it’s a poem”, it was far better put then I had put it – I felt like I learned something from her. I retrieved “Color with crayons” from her list of sentences and phrases and read it back to her. I told Emma we were going to send it to Howard, that the two sentences were a certain kind of poem. She was pretty excited.

The next challenge was finding a way for her to write it. Emma can’t spell (except for a few words like her name, mommy and daddy) yet of course. She’s just 3 and 3/4 years old! But she can write each letter independently well. Richelle is very talented with visuals and Emma listens to her whenever they work on a project together, so she instructed Emma to write each letter of each word, reading them out as they went. Having her switch markers so that each line could be indicated by color was a smart idea. Emma drew some of her trademark characters (you gotta see the art all over the house!), and we scanned it in and sent it to Howard.

He featured it November 18th!

Emma's First Poem

Howard calls non-breaking space “a digital expression of an analog impulse”.

What better way to describe the core that drives so much of blogging, social networking, twittering, and just reaching out online? I can’t think of one.

A Thank You to Sesame Street

The Muppet Newsflash: Sesame Street Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Two New History Books

Old clips of Elmo with Kermit on YouTube helped me expose Emma to the Muppets a few years ago. Now Muppets are part of the Sesame Street universe for her, as it was me and Richelle when we were growing up. Here are two great ones:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Kermit Reports News On Elmo’s Idea:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Kermit And Elmo Discuss Happy And Sad:

Gotta love Cookie Monster:

YouTube: Sesame Street & The Origin of Om nom nom nom:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Cookie Monster Sings C is for Cookie:

Or Ernie:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Ernie and his Rubber Duckie:

I could post a million videos but you’re better off just visiting the Sesame Street channel on YouTube

And as Emma knows, Kermit’s my personal favorite. Its great that we can watch the old Muppet movies with her and she loves them is so much fun.

YouTube: Muppet Movie – The Rainbow Connection:

Lately on YouTube, the Muppets Studio has been posting new videos, this one is genius!

YouTube: The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody:

And one last one, not to show to kids, but too funny not share:

YouTube: The Song of the Count – Lemon Demon Version:

I wonder, now that the Muppets and Sesame Street are owned and operated so separately, will there ever be a moment in any future movie like the wedding chapel in Muppets Take Manhattan? When Emma saw Big Bird and crew in the pews, she yelled with surprise and joy.

I think we used Sesame Street as a guide for what constituted ‘good’ children’s television for us. The Backyardigans, Jack’s Big Music Show, The Wonder Pets, Blue’s Clues (did you know Blue’s Clues was created by former Sesame Street writers?), Dora and Diego, all are in its spirit. No Baby Einstein, and nothing that had more quick shot cuts than Sesame Street for example, Yo Gaba Gaba. Good songwriting, flow, encouragement of imagination and *thinking*. That’s what we were looking for in children’s television. And I think we can say thanks to Sesame Street for that.

Related Articles: Lessons Of ‘Sesame Street’: Letters, Numbers And TV 40 Years Of Lessons On ‘Sesame Street’

NYTimes: Same Street, Different World: ‘Sesame’ Turns 40

NationalPost: 101 Muppets of Sesame Street