Game Night: Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples Jr is a creative and fun game for the whole family

I have a lot of cousins (and children of cousins). Often it is these far-away relations that can present the greatest challenge in gender-fair gift giving. It’s easy to get sucked into perceiving age and gender as the two constraints on your giving when you don’t know the passion du jour of the child in question. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the Fair Play Cousins, but do I know what each one of them is most excited about or interested in right now? Nope. No I don’t, and I don’t harbor a lot of guilt about that. Instead, I try to stick with gender-fair, age-appropriate books or games with broad family appeal as well. As I’ve said before, games are great for all sorts of development, and are also family-friendly. So, when Fair Play Supermom asked for a recommendation for a Fair Play Cousin turning nine soon, I suggested Apples to Apples Jr.

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Kid Crafts: Finger Puppets

A turtle finger puppet (drying on a popsicle stick) – easy for tiny hands, start to finish!

Today, the second post in our series Kid Crafts, we’re going to learn about making some simple and fun finger puppets. Since I’ve been back home visiting Fair Play Family, the Fair Play Twins assist on this one. I can assure you it is kid-tested by a pair of discerning four-year-olds. There are a number of ways for children to be involved in this project, so it is nearly all ages – Fair Play Twins were able to help out with every step from sewing to gluing to drawing, with some grown-up assistance. This tutorial uses animal puppets as an example, but these puppets can be made into just about whatever you can imagine.

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Helping Others

Fair Play Supermom loads a Thanksgiving dinner into a van to be delivered to another transitional housing site

In my family, Thanksgiving is really about two days: Thanksgiving day, of course, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving when we organize and deliver the fixings for Thanksgiving meals to families living in transitional housing in Seattle. Actually, for me personally, that Sunday (today!) has eclipsed Thursday in truly marking Thanksgiving. In all my years living away from my family, I haven’t missed it, and even this year when I will be making Thanksgiving for Fair Play Boyfriend’s family in Vermont instead of spending it with my own, I’m here in Seattle today for “Thanksgiving Baskets.” Community service and helping others is a phenomenal all-ages family activity, so we’re going to devote today’s post to talking about how to do a little more of that.

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When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A…

This post could also be subtitled “Justice Sotomayor is Fair Play’s Five-Pinwheel Person of the Week.” She went on Sesame Street last week and talked about the word “career” with Abby Cadabby. With no pretense or apology, Justice Sotomayor explained that while pretending to be a princess can be fun, being a princess isn’t a career. YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! But let me back up…

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Book Review: …anything Jan Brett

Town Mouse, Country Mouse is one of many beautiful books by author/illustrator Jan Brett.

Usually for Book Review we pick one book or a handful of books on a theme. Today we’ve selected an author/illustrator, Jan Brett, and are discussing all of her books, collectively. With a marathon of holidays coming up (read: lots of quality family reading time and also lots of time you might want to independently occupy a child with a book so you can get those holiday chores done), Fair Play wanted to open up a veritable world of reading. Disclaimer: I haven’t actually read all of her books. In any event, let’s talk about why most of them are pretty great.

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Inspiring Participation in Democracy (and Happy Election Day!)

A letter from Senator Cantwell when I was 13 inspired lifelong civic participation

First and most importantly, Happy Election Day! Please, please, please refer to Fair Play’s post from Sunday about creating good voting habits in childhood. Today’s the day to put those pointers into action. I want to use this post to discuss inspiring civic participation more generally. It has taken a lifetime of varied experiences to understand my role in our democracy and I’m going to share some of those here. In particular we’re going to talk about engaging with representatives — both voicing opinions and volunteering for campaigns.

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When Early Voting Means Something Else

Apparently I’m sentimental, because I have a whole bunch of old “I Voted” stickers on a bulletin board.

We’ve been hearing a lot about early voting this election cycle — voting before election day — and having worked on numerous recounts, I have a lot of opinions about early voting, which I will keep to myself. Today I want to talk about a different kind of early voting — teaching children to vote. In our house, civic duty means two things: you vote in every election, and you attend jury duty with a smile. Also, in our house, to teach important lessons about being a grownup, my parents took us along to see them firsthand. Or, perhaps that was because they both worked a lot. In any case, it means I am now a grownup myself and I have not missed an election (primaries and special elections included) since my birth. Since I grew up in Washington state, that means a LOT of elections.

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