Earth Day - ideas for kids

On April 22nd, more than a billion people around the world - and millions of children - celebrated Earth Day. It's a day to think about the pressing questions that affect our planet, such as water quality and conservation, recycling, food safety and availability, and how we can each work to reduce our carbon footprint.

How can you make this day meaningful to your children? Taking on a topic like "the earth" can be pretty intimidating, so we at Little Pim have come up with our favorite ways to bring Earth Day into your home.  Here are the top ten things you can do to teach the values of Earth Day in an easy and fun way, and learning a few new words in one of the earth's many different languages!  Check out or Springtime video to learn important earth-related words in Spanish, French and Chinese.

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day With Your Kids


1. Plant seeds with your kids, and help them take care of their growing plant. The act of watering and caring for something alive - even if it's just a plant growing in an egg carton - is a great way to help children understand why nature is so valuable.  If you have an herb plant, your child can also pick from the plant and help you cook with it, and learn the valuable link between nature and food.

2. Take your child to the local dump! Stay a while (bring wooden pegs for your noses if needed) and talk about what a landfill is.  Few children really understand where garbage goes once it leaves the trash can, or that it takes up SO MUCH ROOM.

3. Do a recycling art project. There are so many fun things you can make from tissue boxes, egg cartons and cereal boxes.  Try this piggy bank from a tissue box, this cardboard house, or these cute little bugs

4. Get your old globe out of the attic, or buy one. Preferably a child-friendly globe like this one, with fun pictures and bright colors.You can point out parts of the planet where resources are scarce, explaining water-shortages in Saharan Africa, or countries where kids farm the land from an early age, like certain places in South America.  Where possible, connect the lesson to the experiences of real kids. I love the United Nations book A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World.  You can also teach your kids how to say words like "tree", "flower" or "water" using Little Pim!

5. Bake something using as many whole and non-processed ingredients as possible, and use the experience as an opportunity to explain that food can still come straight from the land!  Explain the difference between processed and whole food using real examples, such as boxed mac and cheese vs making it from scratch.

6. Visit a farmer's market together and learn about which fruit and vegetables are available in which season, and what is means to grow food locally. You can also explain that buying local food helps the planet, because it doesn't have to be transported very far.

7. Go to an Earth Day event in your city. The Natural Conservancy is hosting Picnic for the Planet events all around the world!

8. Have an Earth Day party! The kids can help you cook and you can decorate the house with Earth Day crafts

9. Go online and read about how kids are celebrating Earth Day around the world, then share some of those stories with your kids.

10. Help your child make an Earth Day drawing or story, and post it on your fridge or elsewhere in the home. You can teach them about endangered animals (pandas like Little Pim are endangered!) and print out coloring pages like this one (click to download).


And finally, happy Earth Day everyone!

CES 2012

This was my second time attending CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. For the most part, this year's show felt like "here is what you saw last year, but now all these devices can talk to each other... and they're slimmer and faster!”  Convergence was a big buzz word this year (figuring out how to let all your electronics talk to each other) as was ecosystem (creating a "tech ecosystem" where all our gadgets live together in harmony). Cameras now have Wifi so you can send your videos to your computer without any cables. Affordable 3D camcorders have arrived, and the fridge that will do your shopping for you is just around the corner.

I also attended the Mommy Tech Summit while at CES, where panelists from companies like Leapfrog, PBS and Disney spoke about everything from the best new apps (check out the award winning Three Little Pigs and Cinderella by Nosy Crow), "gamefying" everything, and how we can be more tech literate parents.

So without further ado, here is the smart, the super cool and the silly of CES 2012.

The Smart

The fridge that shops for you

Take a Jetsons trip into the future with this Fridge (video). Just scan your shopping list with your smart phone and let the fridge tell you when you next run out of hamburgers or Gogurts.

The alarm clock that wakes you up with TV from around the world

A great way to keep up with your foreign language skills at home or on the road. Show your kids French, Italian or Chinese TV on a portable alarm clock! Fully wifi.

The snap-on display that turns your computer into a touch screen

Your kids touch screen happy? Mine are. This is a screen made for schools - so that kids can get up to the screen and touch, drag and tap their way to learning.

The Super Cool

Last year 3D everything was the hot new thing, and this year continues that trend, but with prices dropping there's a little more stuff we might actually be able to buy!

Kids asking for more 3D? Here is a handy snap-on screen...

This cool accessory slides on to your iPhone screen, and turns your screen 3D without the need for glasses!

Your baby will be even cuter showing off her moves in 3D

3D home video is here, and is getting more and more affordable (you can get a 3D camera for under $500 now!).

The world's thinnest OLED Smart TV

This 55" TV is only 4mm thick, and weighs under 17 lbs! It looked awesome, people were just standing around gawkin at it like it was Angelina Jolie.

The Silly

Grill burgers while you answer email


This handy device turns your iPhone into a BBQ sous-chef. The wires plug into the food so that your iPhone will tell you how hot your grill is, and when your food is ready! All while you are answering your email upstairs...

Take your iPhone for a stroll

The iPhone rider

I'm still not entirely sure why this exists, but if you ever wanted to turn your iPhone into a Roomba that doesn't vacuum, this is for you!

Original tech uses.. the computer dress

This is a dress with it's own computer display in the fabric. Never again will you have to worry about your iPad clashing with your dress at a formal occasion.

Which one of these do you think is the smartest? The silliest? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

Easy Ways to Raise Globally Aware Children

We’re excited to have Sara, from Tea Collection guest posting on our blog today. Tea Collection offers globally-inspired designer children’s clothes and gifts. To learn more about Tea and the inspiration for their designs visit their Studio T Blog. The world is a big place. It’s an even bigger place for a child. One of the best ways to teach your child about a new country is to visit it, and although international travel is a great family experience, it can also be costly and time consuming. There are some simple and affordable ways to teach your children about the world without purchasing plane tickets. We polled our staff at Tea and gathered our top three ways to teach your kids the world without opening your front door.

1) Talk about the world. “Growing up, we didn’t have money for international travel so we had to imagine our foreign trips using an old globe in our living room. My father would spin it and wherever our fingers would stop was where we’d take our “vacation.” We’d then imagine life in these faraway lands- what would we pack for our Middle Eastern trip? Is it cold in Beijing in the winter? What’s the food like in Morocco? To this day, I still can’t help spinning a globe whenever I walk by one to see where I should “vacation” that day.”

2) Cook globally. “I was a very picky eater growing up. I knew that when I had kids I wanted them to open themselves up to trying new foods and experiences. So we made preparing dinners a family experience. If we have Mexican food, my kids will prepare the salsa. If I make curry, they’ll help me make pita chips. I have to admit, some nights aren’t a hit and I do have to end up preparing macaroni and cheese. But, it’s worth trying especially for the nights when dinner goes as planned—like when my four-year-old actually rolled and ate her own avocado and cream cheese sushi roll!”

3) Incorporate a new language into everyday life

“I wanted my two boys to learn French but I didn’t know where to start. So, we started with what would be easy: food. We labeled all of the food in the house with their French translation. After weeks of referring to apples as les pommes and milk as lait I was ready to give up and then my 3 year-old asked for fromage with their crackers. Small changes really do make the difference."

Our Tea staffers prove that bringing the world home is actually pretty easy. How do you teach your kids to be globally inspired? Share your tips below in the comments section.

The best multicultural gifts for young kids - Holiday Gift Guide

It’s time to buy presents! My antennae are up for gifts that are fun, educational, and will help our budding language learners to see themselves as world citizens. Your child is never too young to start playing with toys that feature other countries, languages and cultures. And if your children are already speaking and starting to acquire a second or third language, these toys can help reinforce their wider world view.  Here are a few of my faves for this holiday season. Amuse-toi bien! (have fun)


Why should your baby just build with blocks when she can create a Spanish city?

Your child will love these brightly colored blocks from Haba (if you don’t fancy Seville, they also have Cordoba!). With 45 pieces, this set will keep your little architect  busy for hours. Brighten up your baby’s nursery and be the only one on the block (pun intended) to have a Spanish city under construction… Buy it here

A teether giraffe with je ne sais quoi

Made in the French Alps with natural rubber and non toxic paint, Sophie has been safely cuddled and chewed by thousands of babies. She is soft light and easy to grasp and fits perfectly into little hands. She makes a happy sound when squeezed… Babies especially love her bumpy head to soothe their teething gums. But if you speak French to her, don’t expect her to talk back, she’ll just look at you in her “coquette” way. Also comes in Vanilla! Buy it here


Learn about Endangered Animals in Asia

Introduce your children to beautifully made wooden toys and to how some of our most endangered species live!  Your kids will discover an Elephant, Tiger and Panda (our favorite, of course) in the “Asia Series” from Plan Toys.  They are made of natural, chemical free recycled bamboo and can sit and stand just like real animals. They are finished with non-toxic dye and recommended for 3+, but could be played with by toddlers as well. Make sure to show your wee ones where China is on the globe! ($34) Buy it here

Make Meal Time a Learning Time!

These adorable plates teach words in French – choose from delightful farm animals or Pirates and Princess themes for your little swarthy crew and precious princess (make that “une princesse”). My son Emmett is 7 ½ and I still haven’t managed to give away his animals plate from this series (little brother Adrian is enjoying it now). Buy it here


Children of the World Floor Puzzle

What better way to get familiar with kids of different countries than with this oversized floor puzzle featuring kids from around the world? At only $10.75 it’s a great gift that will keep your child busy and expose him or her to not only to kids’ native costumes as well as the flags associated with the countries where they live. Buy it here

Geo Bingo

From our friends at GeoToys, this bingo game includes 50 country cards, representing the world’s most populous nations. Each card lists that country’s capital, land area, population, and geographic location. The goal of GeoBingo™ World is to get 5 countries in a row on one of the 8 GeoBingo™ Boards. ($18.99) Buy it here

Little Pim Books

Last but not least, what gift guide would be complete without our very own trilingual books? Featuring French, Spanish and English, these board books are perfect for budding linguists and chock full of lift the flaps, pull tabs and Little Pim antics. Books are in English with Spanish and French words taught throughout and phonetics for parents who don't speak the language. COLORS and FEELINGS, $8.95 each. Buy it here


Growing up Global

This excellent book by Homa Sabet Tavangar has practical suggestions for raising children with a global perspective. I got several ideas from this book of fun things to do with my kids, I am sure you'll find new cool new activities too! Makes a great gift for parents who are travelers and want to share their love of other cultures and countries with their little ones. Buy it here

7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child

This is one of the most practical, well-written books I have found about raising a bilingual child. Dr. Naomi Steiner is a developmental-behavoir pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Botson and an expert in the methods used to teach children more than one language. 7 Easy Steps... includes worksheets that help you map out your family's bilingual action plan, ways to involve parents who don't speak the language being taught, and tips for keeping your child motivated and excited about language learning. A terrific resource and road map! Buy it here

Seven ways to keep your kids excited about language learning

I haven’t written about my children’s language learning progress in a while, but with Thanksgiving coming I know it’s one of the things I’ll be grateful for this holiday. Being able to introduce Emmett and Adrian to French is one of my greatest joys and privileges (and sometimes one of the biggest challenges). When I last blogged about language learning, I was ecstatic that my son had just read his first sentence in French.

We have actually have had a lot to celebrate since then – when we went to France this summer, Emmett spoke French to shopkeepers and kids his age, and he recently started working with his French tutor again and actually ENJOYS his French homework. Here he is doing a page of drawing sports activities while learning the difference between “à la” and “au”:

Emmett turned seven in September and I am proud to say he can speak full French sentences, hold up his end of simple conversations and is curious about new words and expressions. He is also an avid reader (in English) which has opened up new teaching opportunities. I have been trying to keep it fun by getting him series he likes in French (Scooby Doo is a favorite right now).

My younger son Adrian, now 3 ½, started attending a French Immersion School this fall and has already made huge strides in just a few months. He and his best friend, Paul Camille (I just love saying that name, it’s so French), love to sing French nursery rhymes and Adrian now greets me in the mornings with a “Bonjour maman!” and thanks me with “Merci maman!”  which makes my day every time.


While my children are not yet bilingual in French, I am so thrilled to see them with good accents (thanks to starting young with Little Pim and other resources) and a solid foundation to work from. I always tell parents that learning a second language is a life long journey and each child will move forward at his or her own pace. The important thing is to keep showing your child that language learning can be fun and that the rewards will be great if they can stick with it (not unlike playing a musical instrument).

Here are a few things that have worked with my boys to keep them interested and “on the journey” over the past few years:

    1. keep speaking French to them, even if it’s only a little here and there. Never let it disappear from their daily lives entirely even if they are “rebelling”. It’s not all or nothing with language learning….
    1. mix in one French book to the 2-3 books I read them at night. right now it’s Little Pim Colors or Feelings for Adrian and Asterix comics for Emmett
    1. make extra efforts to experience the fun parts of French culture with them (go to a French bakery for breakfast, attend a chocolate making workshop with a French chef, make crèpes with friends, etc.)
    1. play the “flash card game” with Little Pim flash cards (you get a treat for identifying 10 right in a row – this is a subway, car ride and restaurant waiting favorite!)
    1. always encourage, never nag or tell them they “said it wrong”
    1. bring in help in the form of tutors to supplement when needed
    1. find other families teaching their children the same second language so our kids can speak together and also just see they are not unique in learning two languages.

What will you be grateful for this Thanksgiving about your child’s language journey?  Write in with your successes and challenges and I’d be happy to answer any questions about raising kids with two languages.