102: Why Kids Need Music and Other Sensory Experiences Well Beyond Summer Camp

music-818459_1920In today’s last Summer Camp episode, we talk about how to get kids the musical and sensory experiences they need – and why they need these experiences so much.

My first job out of college, I worked in the infant room of a day care center with kids age about 6 months old to about 1-year-old. Each week, the center brought in a guitarist to sing and play to the babies, and I was absolutely amazed at how they responded: no matter where they were in our room, they crawled over to the guitarist, dancing in that bouncing-up-and-down way that babies have, grinning and laughing and trying to touch the guitarist in the guitar. It was amazing!

That experience was my first taste of how very badly children need music in their lives.

Then, as a preschool teacher and earning my master’s degree in early childhood education I learned how important other sensory experiences are to help regulate the kid’s mood, workout aggressions, and learn kinesthetically.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/102 to listen and for notes about how to get music and other sensory experiences into your child’s life!

Long after summer camp is over, music and sensory experiences are key factors in any child’s well-being.

Try these ways to get more of them into your kid’s life:

– simply playing music aloud is a sensory experience; try to vary the music, moving beyond the Wiggles and incorporating some of your favorites and classical or jazz into the mix

– make shaking-type instruments by placing a few dried beans or peas into a small plastic container, or turning a cardboard box upside down to make a drum; if you play – or want to learn – an instrument, get an inexpensive one; teach your child how to use it without hurting it

– combine 1/2 cup of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water – and food coloring, if you’re brave and enjoy colorful sensory experiences – into a plastic tray or wide, low plastic container; this stuff is absolutely magical because, when squeezed, it gets hard, and when released it becomes liquid and slides off your hand

– invite your little to help you wash dishes; combine warm water and some soap, along with plastic dishes (or at least non-sharp, unbreakable dishes) and a soapy sponge for sensory fun

– try and work in some kind of sensory experience most days; it’s fun, and you might even notice a positive change in your child’s behavior, because kicking back and enjoying sensory stuff simply makes us feel better!

Did I miss your favorite sensory experience for your child, or do you have a question about today’s episode? Please share by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and have a great day!

101: Science Comes Out Swinging in Our Final Podcast Field Trip of The Summer

Maybe you’ve heard of studies showing that, the more facts you place in front of someone who disagrees with your position, the less likely they are to agree with you?

Science Versus, a new podcast from the juggernaut Gimlet Media, takes an unusual approach to looking at the many things we humans can disagree on, and I love it. Host Wendy Zuckerman, with her delightful Australian accent and ability to be neutral on some pretty charged issues, investigates every aspect of each episode’s subject.

Today, our podcast field trip looks at a divisive issue among us parents: Attachment Parenting. Click weturnedoutokay.com/101 for key links to see how attachment parenting stacks up against science!

Key Links:
Here is the Science Versus webpage, so you can get an overview of all their episodes so far.

Click this link for the podcast notes for the Attachment Parenting show specifically.

Write to me at weturnedoutokay.com/contact to let me know what you thought of host Wendy Zuckerman’s take on attachment parenting!

100: Fishing With Kids – We Talk to 19-Time Husband-of-the-Year Award Winner, Our Producer Benjamin Kolp!

noon hill labor day 5
How lucky that episode 100 landed during Summer Camp, creating the perfect moment for a conversation with the man behind the great sound of this podcast, my husband and Max and Jay’s dad, Benjamin Kolp. We geek out over sound technology, the origins of We Turned Out Okay, and best of all Ben shares many awesome tips on fishing with kids for you guys!

This is a man who really, really loves fishing. Ben shares two scenarios regarding your children, you, and fishing:

1) you love to fish, and want to give your young kids that same love; or
2) the thought of worms and fishhooks makes you are really squeamish, but your young child desperately wants to learn how to fish.

Which heading do you come under?

Read detailed notes about Ben’s tips and listen to this episode at weturnedoutokay.com/100!

So, which are you – a confirmed fisherman who wants to share this pastime with your kids, or someone who could take it or leave it but whose kids absolutely are in love with the idea of fishing?

To get your kids into a sport, like fishing, that you love, Ben shares this golden rule:

– make sure that the focus is on your child’s fishing, not yours.
When our kids were small, Ben tried casting alongside the boys, only to continually find himself putting down his own rod to go untangle somebody else’s, or help them bring in a fish, or change a lure…
Focusing on your child’s fishing now, gearing a fishing trip to your child’s attention span – you may only stay five minutes with very young kids – means that, in a few years, you’ll be happily fishing alongside each other.

If the idea of worms and fish hooks really freaks you out, but your child dreams of catching fish, use these tips as a starting point:

– bring along rubber gloves and needle-nose pliers in addition to lures and fishing rod; the rubber gloves mean you won’t actually have to touch fish, while the pliers help you get out of the fish’s mouth.
– teach your son or daughter to do the stuff that makes you squeamish: placing a worm on the hook, removing a fish, etc.
Kids, Ben shares, and do lots more than we think they can!

Other great ideas when fishing with little kids:
– use your needle-nose pliers to crimp the barbs on your child’s fishhooks, which makes catch-and-release infinitely easier
– kids just want to catch fish; any sized fish will do, they are thrilled when they catch a tiny three inch sunfish
– fishing need not be expensive – kids need a rod that fits them, fishhooks, and a few lures (and some of Ben’s favorites are frozen corn and worms dug up from the yard)
– before you even get to water, Ben shares a favorite technique to help kids cast better and have more awareness of where the fishhook is: practice casting at home, in the driveway or yard, without fishhooks

I hope you are able to take advantage of these many tips from my fishing husband!

099: We Visit a Podcast… That Visits Other Podcasts!

IMG_2467On today’s podcast field trip, we head for a new favorite of mine: Gimlet’s Sampler, hosted by Britanny Luse!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/099 for links to this new favorite (along with another great Gimlet show, Surprisingly Awesome) and to listen!

Listen to Brittany bring us up to speed on Beyoncé and all that she stands for in “All the Ways to Say Lemonade”

I hope this episode, Tickle Me, makes you giggle as much as I did!

Thanks to my brother Dave for introducing me to Surprisingly Awesome! Click here to listen to their fantastic episode Extinct Hockey.

097: Today’s Podcast Field Trip Explores Creativity and Innovation

Today we visit a podcast that will stimulate your creativity and help you learn about some really great and cool things – Innovation Hub with host Kara Miller!

I share two recent episodes, plus one from a year or so ago, that really stand out in my mind and will be relevant for you.
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/097 for links to Innovation Hub, and to listen!

One recent episode that I loved is called The Not-So-Golden Age of Marriage; in it Kara talks to researchers about their work in the field of marriage, what it used to look like, and what we can learn from what it used to look like. Click here to listen!

Another recent favorite: Pssssst: I Hear This Podcast Is About The Science of Gossip, about how humans have always gossiped and that maybe we couldn’t really be human without it. Click here to listen (pssst – you’ll love it 🙂

A year ago, Kara interviewed Weird-Al Yankovic, a man who is kind of a hero of mine, a singer of silly parodies that somehow manage to make me laugh and think at the same time. Listen to Kara’s great conversation with Weird Al by clicking here!

What do you think of our podcast field trip episodes? Any favorite podcasts you’d like us to visit in the future? Tell me! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact.

The Ninja Parenting Community, the online, members-only community I built with you in mind (if you’ve got littles, and need more support than the podcast alone can give), is open! Click this link to learn more about it and see if it’s right for you.

096: How Puppets Can Help You Learn About Your Child – And Have Fun Too! Week 6 of Summer Camp


Today’s show is all about puppets – good fun, and an often-unrecognized key tool to getting to know your child on a whole new level.

Kids talk to puppets.
They see puppets as people, as their own individual entities, not cloth or paper stuck on the end of somebody’s arm… As I think about it, even though I’m a grown woman myself, I still see puppets in this way! Maybe you do too.
If you want to really get to know your child, and have a few laughs as well, grab a puppet, or stuffed animal, sit down somewhere and just wait for your son or daughter to catch that puppet’s eye.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/096 for key links, including to the wonderful documentary I Am Big Bird, about legendary puppeteer Caroll Spinney, to listen to this week’s Summer Camp episode, and to read about why puppets are such a great learning tool!

Puppets don’t judge kids; I think that’s at the very heart of why kids love puppets so much.
To get the most out of your puppet-child conversation, be sure that the puppet asks many questions and really acknowledges the child’s feelings. Also, laugh a lot while using a puppet.

Any sort of puppet will do: finger puppets, popsicle-stick puppets, shadow-puppets (which I do talk about how to make during this episode), stuffed animals…

One word of caution: sock-or paper-bag-puppets, on a kid’s arm, the kind that turn a hand into a fist, create conditions for extreme silliness – which is fun, but not ideal conditions for good conversation with your child.

Let me know your thoughts on puppets! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, find me on instagram @weturnedoutokay, or on twitter @StoneAgeTechie.

Key Links:
We talk about the wonderful documentary I Am Big Bird, in today’s’s show. I recently watched this movie about Caroll Spinney, the man behind Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird; find out more about this documentary by watching the trailer here.

The Ninja Parenting Community, the online, members-only community I built with you in mind (if you’ve got littles, and need more support than the podcast alone can give), is open! Click this link to learn more about it and see if it’s right for you.

095: Getting Our Freak On With Today’s Podcast Field Trip!

Today, our podcast field trip takes us to one of the first podcasts I ever listened to: Freakonomics Radio with host Stephen J. Dubner.IMG_2460

Freakonomics is such a great podcast because, like the book series of the same name which Dubner wrote with Steve Levitt, a frequent contributor to Freakonomics Radio, each episode digs into the field of behavioral economics, showing us humans stuff we never would have thought about ourselves.

For links to today’s field trip, go to weturnedoutokay.com/095.

We have two specific episodes to travel to on our podcast field trip today:
the first is the basis for Tuesday’s We Turned Out Okay episode about sandcastle building (go to weturnedoutokay.com/094 to listen), called How to Win Games and Beat People.

Secondly, an all-time favorite episode of Freakonomics radio: Are we in a Mattress Store Bubble?
The mattress store bubble episode illustrates all of the greatest things about Freakonomics Radio, which usually asks a question many of us have never thought to ask, and in which the answer turns out to be fairly significant, if you’re curious about why people do the things that they do.

Hope you enjoy our podcast field trip today!
Do you have a favorite podcast you’d like to recommend for a future podcast field trip episode?
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact to let me know!

094: One Way You’ve Probably Never Thought Of To Make Epic Sand Castles: Week 5 of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay

sand mountain buildingIt’s probably not an essential skill, but sandcastle-building really appeals to our imaginations. Plus, it’s fun!

Today I share a fantastic and fun book which, in addition to giving the secret to building truly epic sandcastles, also gives strategies to win many of your favorite games, like Risk, Jenga, Connect Four, and pillow fighting.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/094 to read about the sandcastle secret, for key links, and to listen!

So, here’s what you do to build an amazing sandcastle, straight from the lips of professional sandcastle sculptor Matt Long, via the outstanding book How to Win Games and Beat People: Take a bucket and “cut the bottom off.”

First of all, if you are a person who enjoys winning games fair and square by employing proven strategies – like that from stone-skipping-world-record-holder Kurt Steiner, who’s skipped a stone 88 times in one go – you are going to love How to Win Games and Beat People by Tom Whipple. I read from the book in today’s episode, regarding sandcastle-building, but can’t recommend the book highly enough for its fun and strategic approach to gameplaying.

But back to sandcastles! Cutting the bottom off of a pail, or a plastic container with slightly slanted sides – or better yet, a few different -sized containers – and setting them in place on the beach so that all you have to do is pull your container off after filling it with sand and water reportedly gives you a pure, solid, immovable block of sand as the base for your sandcastle.

We are SO trying that next time we go to the beach!

Key Links:

Click here for the Amazon page where you’ll find How to Win Games and Beat People: Demolish your family and friends at over thirty classic games with advice from an international array of experts! By science editor of The Times of London Tom Whipple

093: We Visit a Wonder-Filled Podcast on Today’s Podcast Field Trip!

IMG_2434Have you ever found a podcast that resonates with you really deeply? If so, maybe it’s Good Life Project by Jonathan Fields! (If not, get in touch with me at weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and share – I’d love to hear what yours is, and why.)

And now, it’s time to board the big yellow field trip bus that has pulled into our summer camp parking lot, heading out to one of my very favorite podcasts. Go to weturnedoutokay.com/093 to grab the links and come on the field trip!

Two favorite episodes of Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields:

Jonathan has a great conversation with parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who has an amazing take on why we parents do the things we do. This really introspective and thoughtful discussion about what motivates us as parents got me thinking about why I parent the way I do. Go to goodlifeproject.com/doctor-shefali tsabary/?t=radio to listen, and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

Jonathan’s wonderful interview about how to see what really matters, with perception expert Amy Herman, has changed my life. I went around thinking I was awesomely perceptive, and (as you hear in today’s episode) I am kind of not. But I’m learning!
Listen at goodlifeproject.com/amy-herman/?t=radio

Other Key Links:

In today’s episode, three previous We Turned Out Okay episodes come up:

weturnedoutokay.com/081 is where I share about a surprisingly light moment while helping my parents as my dad underwent brain surgery this past May;

weturnedoutokay.com/058, about how to know if something is really wrong; in this episode I share about being sexually abused as a child and the fallout from that.

Also, I bring up an earlier episode called 4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations, from summer 2015; listen by going to weturnedoutokay.com/017.

Are you fretting about some aspect of raising your kids?
Trouble with daycare, or worries about that looming first day of school?
Do you need help balancing work, family, and taking care of you?
Are you in need of more support than We Turned Out Okay alone can give?

Then you should check out the Ninja Parenting Community! – go to weturnedoutokay.com/ninja-parenting-community-login to learn more and see how I can help you worry less and enjoy more in your parenting.