Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mindful Easter Egg Hunt

Mindful Easter Egg Hunt

Hello all and to those who celebrate: Happy Easter!  This post may be a bit late in coming but that's because we just invented it last night!  :-)  But this activity would be fun at any time of the year, not just on Easter.

The idea of the game is to think of an actual place that your child knows well (e.g. your back yard or inside your house) and "hide" Easter eggs around it.  Then have your child try to "find" the eggs.  Remember, as with all our activities, both of you should be lying quietly in bed next to each other.  This is a calming, mindful activity to connect with each other at the end of the day.

Here's an example of the hider's thought process:

Ok, I'm hiding 5 eggs in our back yard.  First one on the swing.  Second one in the flower pot.  Third one next to the mailbox.  Fourth one under the bird bath.  Fifth one up in the crook of the maple tree.

Now, remember where you hid everything?  OK, now your child tries to find the eggs!

Grown-up: Ok, I hid 5 eggs in our back yard.
Child: Ok, I'm walking down the porch steps now.  Am I getting warmer?
Grown-up: Yes, you're pretty warm with 2 eggs now.
Child: Ok, I'm walking toward the patio now.
Grown-up: Getting very warm with 1 now.
Child: Is there one on the picnic table?
Grown-up: No, but keep looking around the patio.  What else do you see?
Child: There are some flower pots. I'll look in the bigger one.
Grown-up: No egg there, but you're REALLY hot now!
Child: Is it in the smaller one?
Grown-up: Yes!  You found one.  It's blue and has rainbow jelly beans inside.  4 more to go!
The child continues "looking" until all the eggs are found.  Then you can switch and let the child "hide" the eggs now.  You might suggest hiding less eggs, depending on the age of the child because remembering where they are all hidden is tricky.  You could even do this on a smaller scale, such as in their bedroom, to help when children are afraid of the dark.  It can help to "illuminate" parts of their world and make things less scary.  Feel free to adjust what's inside the eggs too; maybe they contain extra kisses and hugs!

Please leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and tell us about your experiences with this activity or anything else!

We hope you enjoy the hunt and...mind the nap!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Types Of

Types Of

Hello and welcome back, Moonlighters!  If you haven't noticed, we're now the proud owners of a spiffy new domain name:  It has been so fun writing sharing these activities with all of you and building a little community one person at a time.  If you know people who would be interested our activities, please send them our new link or share us on Twitter or Facebook

Tonight, we're happy to share another great quiet, thoughtful activity for connecting with our children right before bed.  This activity is like a simple, open-ended version of Scattergories® with a lot less rule.

While lying down together, take turns picking new categories and naming as many things as you can think of in that category.

Here are just a few examples:

vehicalsanimalsbreakfast foodssportsfruits
cars, boats, planes, trainstigers, fish, bears, turtleseggs, cereal, toast, pancakessoccer, baseball, cricket, rugbybananas, oranges, apples, pears

But you can add some more difficulty to the activity by constraining the categories further, e.g. only red fruits, or only vehicles which ride on land.  You can limit it to 10 answers or play a category until one of you can't think of another answer.

We hope you have fun thinking of fun new categories and objects to fill those categories.  Share some of your best in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook

Further reading

There have been a huge number of academic studies on how, when, and why children categorize object in the world around them.  See for example:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Celebrate Your Name

Celebrate Your Name

Hello again! Did you know that this week is International Celebrate Your Name Week and today is Unique Names Day?

Did you know... Before we selected "Moonlit Minds" as our name, we considered dozens of others, including: Bedtime Brain, Mindful Bedtime, Brain Before Bed, Think Before Bed, Moonlight Mind, Mind Under the Moon, Tucked in Thinking, Bedside Brain, Mighty Night, and Nite Nite Brain Bite!  It was so hard to choose, but in the end, we're really glad to be Moonlit Minds!

Tonight, let's celebrate our names and connect with our children before bed!

What's in a name?

Start by sharing and discussing what your and your child's names mean.  Use a site like this to find out!  You will also learn the country of origin too.  Don't forget to look up these names too:
  • Your spouse
  • Your child's sibling(s)
  • Your pet(s)
  • Other special people
  • Middle names
  • Last names 

Is your name tough to pronounce?  Give your child some strategies for how to say it right and how to teach others to say it right.  Teach them to be proud of their names and say it with pride!

Story of your name

Next, tell your child the story of how you chose his/her name.
  • What would it have been if they had been another gender?
  • Were there any other "runners-up"?
  • Was it easy to decide or was there a lot of debate?
  • Who chose it first?
  • Were they named after a family member?  If so, tell them the family story too!

If you know how you got your own name, share that too.

A rose by any other name...

Now for a little guessing game.  Think of a person and try to get your child to guess who.  There are lots of variations that all start with "I'm thinking of a person who..."
  • has the initials L.F.
  • has 2 L's and 2 I's in her name.
  • has a name which rhymes with "planet"
  • has a name which is a kind of flower

Or think of your own spin on the game.  Take turns guessing and have fun!

Share us with some names you know

We're so proud of the community we're starting to grow.  We love connecting with people who love to connect with their kids.  If you know someone who might enjoy Moonlit Minds, please send them a link or share us on Twitter or Facebook!  Have a great night and...mind the nap!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rhyme Time

Rhyme Time

An activity in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday

We've been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss books lately in preparation for National Read Across America Day.  The kids have had "Dr. Seuss Night" at school and our local high school is even performing Seussical the Musical!

In keeping with the theme, we've been trying out a new Moonlit Minds quiet, thoughtful activity before bed.  We call it "Rhyme Time" and it's essentially an improvisational word-play game.  Here's how it works:

Warm up

Start by picking a random word and take turns finding its rhymes until you run out.

Repeat with another word.  Take turns picking the starting word.

Get a little Seussy with it!

Now do the same thing, but the rhymes need to be a made-up "Seuss" kind of words.


Poetic finish

One more fun idea for the activity is to build a poem together.  We really enjoyed a "setup and knock down" approach.  In other words, the parent would start the line and the child would finish or the other way around.

Parent: I woke up today and went to the zoo
Child: It was all the way in Kalamazoo
Parent: When I got there I made a friend
Child.  It was an elephant.  The end!

Switching the order...

Child: I like to climb up really high trees
Parent: Except when the trees are full of bees
Child: The bees make honey that is yummy
Parent: But I don't want to get stung on my tummy.

You may be a poet and not even know it

This activity gives you a real appreciation for the poetic art and how challenging it can be.  We had so much fun creating and playing the game before bed and we hope you enjoy playing too.  Please share this activity with your friends and family and let us know some of the wacky rhymes you create!  Leave a comment below or hits us up on Twitter or Facebook!  Happy rhyming and...mind the nap!