Friday, September 29, 2017

Owning Our Mistakes

“We all make mistakes. It’s how we come back from the mistakes that matters.”
-Tom Welling
 Welcome back, Moonlighters!  We hope you're settling into the new school year and that you've managed to find some quiet moments in the midst of the chaos that this time of year usually brings.  As a reminder, here's a link to our Pits and Cherries activity to help get children to open up about their days at school.

Tonight's activity is inspired by the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that are celebrated this month.  For those who don't know, Rosh Hashana is the start of the Jewish new year and Yom Kippur is a day of atonement.  I like to think of this time of year as a chance for a fresh start.  If you made some New Year's resolutions in January that didn't work out, here's another chance!

Being a parent or a child is a lot of learning on the fly.  There isn't a manual for our lives and we have lots of bumps in the road.
  • Have your children been coming home from a long day at school and melting down?  
  • Have you lashed out at your kids for a silly reason after a rough day at work? 
  • Did you ever make a promise but then were unable to keep it?  
We don't always apologize in the moment (and children shouldn't be forced to), and we often forget to model graciousness.  We all make mistakes.  How will you own up to those mistakes?

Our favorite audio stories, Sparkle Stories, has a great [free!] story for Yom Kippur called Stones in the Brook, in which the family takes turns tossing stones into a brook and apologizing for ways they believe they had wronged a family member in the past year.  Tonight, we'd like to turn that idea into a MM activity to connect with your child before bed.

For this activity, try to come prepared with 1-2 recent examples of times you "messed up" as a parent and acted or responded in a way you wish you hadn't.  Take this opportunity while it's just the two of you in a quiet place to get it off your chest.  Talk to your child about those times, what went wrong, how you felt before and after, and what you should have done differently.  Ask your child how he/she felt about what happened.  Now give your child a turn.  Maybe they can't think of one and that's OK.  If they do mention one, try to use active listening and not judge what's being said.

Modeling this kind of behavior and showing them how to own up to mistakes and give sincere apologies has lasting benefits for your child.

From this article:
Offering your child an apology when appropriate extends respect for her that will eventually boomerang back to you. Children are incredibly forgiving, especially if we meet them halfway by acknowledging our mistakes, and with a foundation of mutual love and respect in place, kids will be more likely to say sorry to mom and dad when they screw up—just like us.
That's all for tonight.  Just a simple way to reconnect with your child and show each other how you make mistakes, take responsibility, and try to make yourselves better people.  If we all did this, the world would be a better place!  Tell us about your experience with this activity on Twitter or Facebook!  Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, we hope you take the opportunity for a fresh start.  And as always, mind the nap!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Beds Are For Sleeping

Welcome back, Moonlighters!  Tonight we bring you another quiet, calming game that's perfect for connecting parents and kids before bed.

"Beds Are For Sleeping" is a simple word association game that's great for all ages.  It can be played a couple of different ways in order to change the difficulty level.

Bring it around full circle!
  1. Begin by saying phrase, for example, "Beds are for sleeping."  
  2. The next person says a new phrase that's related to the first, for example, "You sleep when you're tired."
  3. Take turns saying new phrases which are associated to the previous phrase.
  4. Finally, you both "win" when you can finally bring it "full circle" by connecting to your first phrase.

Let's see how this might happen in action!

"Beds are for sleeping."
"You sleep when you're tired."
"You get tired when you run."
"You run on a trail."
"Trails go through the woods."
"Woods are full of trees."
"Trees give us lumber."
"My bed is made of lumber."
And... "Beds are for sleeping!"

Another version of the game would be to use only single word "free association" to connect the ideas together, but still end by bringing it back to the beginning.  For example:

"Music" → "Instrument" → "Song" → "Lyrics" → "Words" → "Speech" → "President" → "News" → "Radio" → And... "Music!"

Have fun seeing how many words or phrases you can go before bring it it full circle!  And we'd love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below with some fun phrases you and your child used to play.  Also, you can always find us on Twitter or Facebook!

See you next time we come full circle, and...mind the nap!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Create a Bedtime Haiku Together

A warm April night
Spring peepers begin their song
Windows open wide

Hello again, Moonlighters!  Tonight, let's make poetry together!  In celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day, here's a thoughtful, quiet activity you and your child can do.

A haiku is a poem of seventeen syllables, written in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.  It originated over 1500 years ago in Japan and was popularized and formalized in structure by the great Japanese poet, Bashō.
Basho Horohoroto
Quietly, quietly,/ yellow mountain roses fall –/sound of the rapids. -Bashō
To get started making your own haiku with little ones, worry less about the syllables and focus more on the story.  You can make the syllable aspect mostly about simply clapping the beats and counting as you go.  For older children, explain that haiku poems are about capturing a moment in time, especially as it relates to moments in nature.  Then challenge them to form that into a haiku with the specific syllable structure, 5-7-5.

Writing haiku can be a great way to calm before bed because it forces you to slow down and become mindful of your natural surroundings.  A great haiku will elegantly and colorfully capture a special moment in a certain place.  As we enter the spring months and it warms here in this part of the world, we are starting to get outside and connect more with nature.  Perhaps some moments from your day or from your child's day have a haiku waiting to be revealed!  You can use those moments or think about what's happening in the natural world around you right now while you lie in bed next to each other.

Ok, now it's your turn to create these special poems with your children.  But before we go, here are a couple more we wrote to help get you started!

Fresh green leaves emerge
From the twisted old tree branch
The last dead leaf falls

A robin splashes
In the puddle in the grass
Filled by last night's rain

We want to hear from you.  Leave a comment below with your best bedtime haiku.  Also, you can always find us on Twitter or Facebook!

Have a poetic night, and...mind the nap!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Math Monster Story 4 - A Trip to Vertex Village

Welcome back to Moonlit Minds!  Tonight we return to the top of Math Mountain where we rejoin our good pal, Marvin the Math Monster.  If you want to get caught up, check out:
  1. Math Monster Story 1 - Meet the Math Monster
  2. Math Monster Story 2 - Feeding the Dragon
  3. Math Monster Story 3 - The Case of the Mixed Up Seeds

What Village?

You wake up with the sunrise feeling refreshed after yesterday's gardening work.  You stroll through the castle looking for Marvin.  It doesn't take long before you hear a clamoring coming from the kitchen.  You enter the doorway of the kitchen and have to duck as an empty box flies over your head.

"Whoa!  What's going on here?" you shout over all the noise.
"Inventory!" Marvin shouts back.
"Inventory for what?" you ask.
"Food and supplies for the castle.  We're running low!  Going to need to head to the village today."
"What village?" you ask, confused because you haven't seen any sign of a village since you arrived a few days ago. 
"Vertex Village.  Let's prepare for the hike with a little math!"

Warm up: Marvin says, "The village is 3 miles away.  How many miles will the journey to the village and back be?"

Jog: "We'll know we're halfway to the village when we see a patch of wildflowers," Marvin explains.  "How far is it from the castle to the wildflowers?"

Sprint: "The village is in a valley at 1500 feet above sea level.  My castle is 2500 feet higher than that.  How many feet above sea level is my castle?" Marvin asks.
You're feeling great after those math questions and head outside.  Marvin wants to bring Digit along for a little exercise and you give a thumbs-up!  After putting Digit on his leash, the three of you set out together on a narrow path that leads around the back of the castle.  You pass through a lovely woods and then the trees open up to the valley below.  You can barely see the village in the distance as you begin walking down the windy mountain path.

Vertex Village

You arrive in Vertex Village around noon, the warm sun casting barely a shadow anywhere.  Marvin leads you through the streets bustling with monsters and dragons of all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Although everyone looks quite different from anything you have ever seen, they all have kind faces and you feel safe with Marvin.

You walk into what looks like a farmers market filled with all kinds of wonderful things: ripe fruits and vegetables, fresh eggs, warm just-baked bread, and even some interesting-looking cheeses.

Marvin says, "The garden we just planted won't be ready for a while so let's pick out some food for the week."

Warm up: "We need enough food to last a week.  Is that more than 5 days?  If so, how many more?"

Jog: "Let's eat our fruits in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, then repeat" Marvin suggests.  "We'll start on Sunday.  What color fruit will we eat on Saturday?"

Sprint: "I eat half my weight in fruit every week.  I weigh 280 pounds," Marvin states proudly.  "How much fruit do I eat each day?"
When you finish shopping for groceries, Marvin says, "Digit could use a new collar.  He's growing so fast!  Are you ready for a really tough problem?"

Just For Fun: "If Digit's neck is 10 inches wide, how long does his new collar need to be?"

You've had a wonderful day hiking into the village, exploring all the shops, and seeing all the interesting new creatures.  You, Marvin, and Digit head home to taste some of your purchases and get ready for another exciting day together!


What Village?
WU: 6 miles
J: 1.5 miles
S: 4000 feet

Vector Village
WU: Yes, a week is 7 days which is 2 more than 5 days.
J: Orange
S: Half his weight is 140 pounds.  Divide that by 7 days to get 20 pounds of fruit each day.
JFF: To find the circumference (distance around his neck) you need to multiply the diameter (width of his neck, which is 10 inches) by the number π (pi, which is about 3.14).  That means his collar would need to be at least 31.4 inches long.