5 Activities to Help your Preschooler's Pre-writing Skills

Parents with preschoolers are often on the search for activities that can help prepare their children for the basic or fundamental skills they need for school, usually termed as “the three R’s,” namely reading, writing and `rithmetic (arithmetic).

What some parents don’t know though is that laying the foundation for their skills need not entail enrolling their kids in school as early as 1 or 2 years old. There are actually a lot of activities that young kids can do in the comfort of their own homes – whether under the supervision of Mommy (or Daddy).


Logan Laplante is a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead. As a result, he was given the opportunity to receive an education tailored to his interests and his unique style of learning – something traditional education is not always able to offer. In a pretty remarkable show of wisdom, particularly for someone so young, Logan has said that when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. At a TEDx talk in 2013, he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal.


These are so lusciously creamy, sinfully rich-tasting – the kind of thing you put in your mouth and kind of can’t believe what’s happening. Vegan, almost raw, and full of whole food ingredients, they are also downright filling!

5-Ingredient Vegan Magical Fudgesicles
Makes 4 cups / 1 Liter / 10 fudgesicles
1) ½ cup / 75g unroasted, unsalted cashews
2) 1 14-oz can / 400ml full-fat coconut milk
3) 1 large, ripe avocado
4) 1 cup / 250g pitted, packed soft dates
5) ½ cup / 55g raw cacao powder (cocoa powder will also work)

Optional add-ins:
1) a few pinches sea salt
2) vanilla (seeds from 1 pod, powder, or extract)
3) a few drops of food-grade essential oils (peppermint, orange, almond etc.)
4) finely diced fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango etc.)
5) a pinch of cayenne pepper
6) espresso powder
7) finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.)

Optional toppings:
1) melted raw chocolate (recipe here) or melted dark chocolate
2) cacao nibs
3) finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.)
4) dried fruit (I used raspberry on the ones pictured)
5) citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime)

1. Place cashews in lightly salted water and let soak for 4-8 hours (overnight is fine).

2. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Add to a blender (a high-speed blender is highly recommended) with the remaining ingredients (and any flavourings, if using) and blend on high until as smooth as possible. Add water only if necessary – you want to mixture to remain quite thick.

3. Spoon mixture in popsicle molds. Firmly knock the molds on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Insert a popsicle stick into each mold and place in the freezer until set – at least 6 hours. To remove popsicles, run the mold under hot water until you can easily pull a fudgesicle out.

4. If you want to decorate your fudgesicles, dip or drizzle them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with desired toppings. Eat immediately, or place back in the freezer to set until ready to enjoy.

6 ways to prepare your toddler for the dentist + check-up

1. Get the timing right: Make your tot’s appointment for a time when they’re alert and rested.

2. Parent by example: Mums and dads have the greatest influence on their tyke’s dental health. Your child will pick up on your anxiety, so focus on staying cool, calm, collected and confident.

3. No surprises: Bambinos handle dental procedures best when their parents know what to expect and have prepared them for the experience.

4. Look on the bright side: Answer your tot’s questions in a positive way. For example, use words like ‘healthy’ instead of ‘hurt’ and definitely steer clear of scary dental anecdotes!

5. Come prepared: Take along some questions about your child’s oral health.

6. Over to them! When the big day arrives, give your mini-mite some control over their dental visit, such as choosing their own ‘tooth doctor outfit’. Then it’s time to climb into the exciting dentist’s chair and let the check-up begin!

Why I’m Not Accepting Your 9-Year-Old’s Friend Request

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend in which she divulged to me that her 10-year-old son has an Instagram account. Because she and I usually see eye to eye on most parenting decisions, I was surprised. When I asked her about it, she explained that, for her son, she has rules and privacy settings in place to protect him. She told me she’s had conversations about appropriate photos and internet safety. She said she trusts him and wants him to develop good judgment online.

Navigating Your Identity as a Parent and an Educator

Tips for Parent-Educators: These are the top things I wish someone had said to me as I offered my first born to his first school.

1. Be a parent, first and foremost. That's what your kid needs most from you.
2. Proactively build a relationship with your child's teacher at the beginning of the year. Don't wait until there's a problem to sit down with them.
3. If a teacher doesn't ask about your child's strengths and interests, share those.
4. Also share anything you think the teacher should know about your kid that would help them be effective, such as that your kid is an introvert and won't often participate in whole-class discussions. (Again, hopefully they ask this question, but if not, share it.)
5. If your child complains about being bored, class being too hard, not being treated well by peers or adults, listen to your child. Don't hope it'll get better. Go to school and talk to people. Observe classes.
6. Don't be afraid of talking to the principal. Don't be afraid of making requests. You can do this kindly and thoughtfully, but your job, again, is to advocate for your kid.

How To Raise A Digitally Savvy Kid That Isn’t Always Staring At A Scree

Your kid is part of a whole generation that can swipe right before they can write. And because of that fact, you’ve become a little paranoid with how they interact with technology. It’s one thing to curb screentime, cut off the Wi-Fi, or investigate the feasibility of becoming Amish. But instead of taking their tech away (or just running away), why not just teach them how to use all of it responsibly and for their benefit?

4 Things Worse Than Not Learning To Read In Kindergarten

The year Sam started kindergarten, he turned 6 in October. He was one of the oldest children in his class, and he didn’t know how to read. When he started first grade he was almost 7, and he still didn’t know how to read. Fortunately for Sam, he entered first grade in 1999. And his teachers, Mrs. Gantt and Mrs. Floyd, didn’t panic if a child didn’t learn to read in kindergarten. In fact, they expected that most children would learn to read in first grade. (They also supported and encouraged children who learned to read easily in kindergarten, like Sam’s brother Ben.)