Author: Sarah Bernhardson

Sensory Play: A Primer for Parents

If you have small children and spend time browsing Pinterest for activities for said children, you’ve probably heard the term Sensory Play before, and may have wondered what it is, why it matters, and how to set it up at home. Fortunately, all these questions have fairly easy answers: What is sensory play? Sensory play is an activity focused on engaging children using one or more of their five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, or hearing. Why does it matter? As parents are well aware, children learn through exploration. All children, but young children especially, are active learners. They learn though doing,...

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The 10 Things That Have Me Singing “Let It Go”

via GIPHY April break is over, and both my children and I have summer on our minds. There are six more weeks of school, and our goal is to survive it. We were fortunate to have a week of amazing, warm, sunny weather for last week’s school break which really clicked all of our brains into summer-mode. We unpacked the shorts, there are s’more ingredients perpetually stocked in our pantry, and the massive Ikea tote of beach toys has returned to its home in the minivan. If you haven’t already, you should read this classic piece by Jen Hatmaker, because this is my brain right now. There are some things that we will have to accept just are not happening now that we remembered how lovely beach trips and popsicle playdates at the park are. Here are a few we’ve all agreed to give up on at this point: Fancy packed lunches are over. Lunch is more…minimalist…than it was back in September. A banana, a sandwich, maybe a baggie of pretzels? The days of cute notes have passed us by. “School” outfits are so last winter. Gone are the days of “school shirts versus play shirts”. Tie-dye for 5 straight days? How colorful! Bedtime is getting later. I’ve always been a stickler for early bedtimes. 7:30 for my younger son; 7:45 for my older son. However, when my “baby” is about to turn five and...

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April Vacation Fun

We are staring into the horizon of April vacation at our house these days, and as we often do during school breaks, we’ll be stay-cationing our way thorough that week here in good old Connecticut. We’ve been at this whole “stay-cation” thing for years now, so it’s sometimes a challenge to come up with new, exciting things to do…that are also not packed with other local families. This coming week, we have loads of options, fortunately! Below is a collection of what I am seeing as the best local options for April vacation fun! The Peabody Museum in New Haven is always...

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And just like that, life returned to normal(ish).

Eight springs ago, I was pregnant with my first son. I was working at a job that I really loved, I’d known my husband for four years, and I was pretty sure I had life figured out. Sure, having a child would change some things, but life would mostly stay the same with the addition of an adorable, swaddled bundle. I will alway remember that spring, and feeling that the unknown was rapidly approaching, but not feeling the urgency of exactly how different it would be. The following eight years have been a blur of time, peppered with colic, moving to a...

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Children’s Art: Process or Product?

When I was an undergraduate studying art education, we spent lots and lot of time discussing process versus product in the art room: What is more important in an art lesson, particularly in the younger grades…the creative process in which children engage or the final product that they create? Opinions vary on this topic, and volumes have been written about it. My thoughts on the matter tend to be that it’s a continuum; process matters almost exclusively in the early years of art-making, and as children grow, develop, and become more aware of their abilities as an artist, they begin to use their skills to create something specific, often with a message. This is when product begins to matter as much as process. As a parent, however, the answer isn’t so clear. Pinterest, where I spend an embarrassing amount of my free-time pinning party ideas, home decor, fashion inspiration, and of course, projects for my kids, is chock full of product-oriented projects for young children. These are the projects we so often see on bulletin boards in schools and daycares; there are rows and rows of construction paper trees, each looking just like the one before it, clearly created from a teacher’s model. I can see value in this sort of project: children are practicing cutting, gluing, fine motor skills, following multi-step directions…but is it really an art project? I’m...

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