Problem-Solving: Kids See Potential In Everything

Kids See Potential In Everything.

We’re In The Middle Of A Move and it’s been an adventure, sometimes fun, sometimes funny, sometimes groggy (cross-country driving with the kids), and sometimes even a bit cranky (did I mention we were driving cross-country with the kids?).

Coffee has helped with the groggy-crankiness…and sometimes earplugs.

I have often been amazed at how clever children prove themselves to be, so naturally and innocently, unencumbered by the learned parameters of “expectation”. Kids truly do see potential in everything around them.

(This same ability, can arguably, also be a “CON” when experiencing a child’s developing IMPULSE CONTROL, but that is something to explore in another post….)

Last month, while watching our son transform a large yellow pipe cleaner and plastic pirate chain into a pretty convincing Spinosaurus costume, I was in parental awe at the sheer simplicity of the solution.  You can read about that HERE.

And, I hear the best stories from other mothers who view the ingenuity of their own children with a combination of delight and exasperation.   For instance, my friend, Gretchen, who co-authored the Laredo Splash Park Review, recently told us about a plan her kids were concocting to conduct an experiment in the house.

“This conversation just happened in a New York household…

FOUR YEAR OLD:   “Mom, get out of the kitchen.”

MOTHER:   “Why?” 

FOUR YEAR OLD:   “We are going to do an experiment and the refrigerator might explode.”

BEST reason not to vacate said kitchen. EVER.”

That’s probably A Good Call!  Although, I have to admit I’d be a little interested to know what they were going to try….   

I was reminded, again, of what a child will do to overcome boredom this morning in our sparse hotel room, with few toys and other conventional forms of child entertainment.

We gave our son a tangerine.

And, the play commenced.

Kids See Potential In Everything.

 

As a mom pursuing her own entrepreneurial pursuits, working to build a new company from the ground up, and trying to do it as practically as possible, these resourceful reminders are fantastic.   I’m not going to build a company on tangerine peels or plastic party chains, but I can remember that simple solutions using available resources might be, literally, right in front of me.

During this business Work-In-Progress, I have found that the solutions that have worked best, were often simple and available at the onset of the task or plan. But, those solutions were not necessarily clear or even part of the brainstorming process. Much work and energy can go into implementing a plan or a model that is more complicated than it needs to be. I want to strive for an elegant solution, and I think making a crocodile out of tangerine peels when there is nothing else to play with, is pretty darn elegant.

I think we can all benefit from re-routing traditional thinking when it comes to problem-solving to find the potential in the things, opportunities, and people around us….and, let’s not forget about the potential within ourselves!

SO….The Next Time A Challenge Presents Itself, 

 

SIMPLY LOOK FOR THE CROCODILE

HIDING IN THE FIGURATIVE CUTIE PEELS.

 

ALSO, TRY NOT TO BLOW UP ANY REFRIGERATORS….

 

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Trying New Flavors With Kids: Dragon Fruit

We recently watched the movie, How To Train Your Dragon 2, and have a little boy how says he wants to grow up to become an archaeologist to find dinosaur bones, OR a Dragon Scientist.

SO, when we walked past this cool looking fruit today in HEB Plus, we had to pick it up and put it into our cart!

It was named “DRAGON FRUIT” and we had no idea what to expect!

 

How To Cut A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons

Trying New Flavors With Kids: Dragon Fruit

 

When we got home, we looked up a few facts about it, and learned that a Dragon Fruit is actually a member of the Cactus Family!

They are found in Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and Israel. We found ours at HEB Plus in Laredo, Texas!

The most  interesting thing that we learned tonight is that the cool multi-purpose tool we use to help us in our Guacamole preparation to slice and pit avocados, The Avocado Shark, actually is the PERFECT Dragonfruit Slicing And Scooping Tool!  

 

WHO KNEW?

 

You can see the process we used to slice and eat the dragon fruit below.

 

How To Cut A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-1

Step 1: Try New Flavors….Buy The Dragonfruit When You Find It!

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-2

Step 2: Slice The Dragonfruit Down The Center Lengthwise.

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-4

Step 3: Open The Dragonfruit To Reveal The White & Black Inside!

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-6

Step 4: Prepare To Scoop Out The Dragon Fruit. A Multi-Purpose Avocado Slicing/Pitting Tool Like The Avocado Shark Is Awesome For This Step!

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-8

Step 5: Scoop Out The Dragon Fruit After Cutting Around The Edges Of The Peel!

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-9

Step 6: Slice The Fruit Like You Would Slice An Apple

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-10

Step 7: Cut The Dragon Fruit Into Bite-Sized Pieces.

 

How To Eat A Dragon Fruit Critters And Crayons-12

Step 8: Eat The Dragon Fruit!

 

I’ll admit, the inside of the dragon fruit took everyone in the family by surprise!

It was entirely new and unexpected, and so was the flavor!

The Flavor, by the way, was very much like a mild kiwi!

 

We’re going to keep trying new flavors, particularly for exotic fruits and vegetables we find at markets.

Our Family Night Dragon Fruit Adventure Was A Hit With The Kids!

 

It’s Got The Kindergartener’s Seal Of Approval….

And That Is A Hefty Endorsement!

 

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Paid Focus Group For Laredo Ladies

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Think Group Austin.

All opinions are always 100% my own.

 

*****

 

Think Group Austin

 

A Paid Focus Group For Laredo Ladies!

 
 

Selected Laredo Ladies Will Be Paid $125 (Value Includes Gift Card)

To Participate In A  2-Hour Focus Group Study.

No Sales Pitches ~ Just Your Opinions On….SHOPPING!

 
 

I was contacted recently by Think Group Austin about an interesting opportunity for women in Laredo to participate in a PAID Focus Group Study to discuss shopping habits!

Selected ladies will be paid $125 to provide their opinions and did I mention that the Focus Group Study lasts JUST 2 Hours?
 
To Learn More, Check Out The Info Provided Directly From Think Group Austin Below & Please Share The Survey With Other Ladies In Laredo!

 

 

“Think Group Austin (a market research firm) has an upcoming paid focus group study in Laredo, TX, for females ages 21-54 years old.

The study pays $125 for two hours on Tuesday, July 8th, during business hours. The study concerns shopping habits.

If you are interested in this study, please click on the link below to take a survey.

Based on your responses, one of our recruiters will contact you with more information and questions.

This is a great opportunity to share your opinions and get paid for it; in absolutely no way will we try to sell you something.

Feel free to pass the survey on to anyone who you think might be interested!”

 
 
 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Thinkgroup2245

 
 

*****

 
 
Sponsored Post Disclaimer:    I only endorse products that I have experienced and/or tested, and often receive a product or service as compensation for conducting a sponsored post or giveaway.  The focus group sponsored by Think Group Austin is an event that I would attend, myself.  In return for my labor and provision of this giveaway, I received monetary compensation.  All opinions are always 100% my own, honest, and written in the style of the Critters And Crayons Blog. 

 

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Why Would Anyone Live By A Volcano? { Kid Conversations }

 
 
critters and crayons, Photo Of Volcanic Rock From "Why Would Anyone Go On Vacation Near a Volcano?"
 
 

EVERY DAY, THERE IS NEWS THAT MAKES US GASP.

 

EVERY DAY, THERE IS NEWS THAT MAKES US SAD.

 

AND, EVERY DAY, WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE,

 

I FIND HOPE IN SIMPLE KID CONVERSATIONS.

 

My children are not unique in the way that they can turn DNA-infused maternal worry into comforting hope that THEY/WE/THE PLANET will be okay.
 
In the elfin voices of children, we hear the barebones logic of kindness.
 
I was reminded by our nearly seven year old daughter of this in a bedtime conversation as we read another chapter from The Magic Tree House Series , this time from Book #13, Vacation Under The Volcano.
 
By Chapter 3, the kids were introduced to the concept of The Gladiators, a strong, soldierly-looking group of men, who were fighters bound by ankle-chains.
 
Our daughter asked,
 

“WHY?  Why would such strong men have chains?  Did they do something wrong?”

 
I explained they had not.  I tried to break it down for them as succinctly as I could so they could understand the concept.

  • These days, if we see people in physical chains, it would normally be for prisoners in jail.
  • The chains would be there to protect others, and to keep them from escaping.
  • But, we are lucky to live in a time where most people in the world understand that people should not be treated like prisoners in chains if they have done nothing wrong.
  • The word for those people is “SLAVE”.
  • And, all around the world, and throughout history, many people had slaves.
  • Slaves were owned by other people.
  • In the case of the gladiators in Roman times, they were slaves who were owned by people who made them fight.
  • But, other slaves had to do other types of work, and it was a hard life.
  • People were not free.
  • And, if your parents were slaves owned by someone, the children were often born as slaves.

 
Our kids, 5 and 7 years old, seemed genuinely horrified.
 
Our daughter shouted,
 

“I DO NOT AGREE WITH THAT!!!!!”

And, this made me a very happy Mom.  But, she kept on.
 
She said,
 

IT MAKES NO SENSE!   A HUMAN SHOULD NEVER OWN ANOTHER HUMAN LIKE A PET!  

AFTER ALL, THEY ARE THE SAME SPECIES!”

 

Our son gave his ardent support by adding that it was true!

 

“HUMANS ARE NOT THE SAME SPECIES AS CROCODILES!”

 

{You’d have to have been following this blog for some time to understand why that crocodilian reference makes complete sense.….}

 
The conversation morphed from discussion of why it was not right to own humans into another very salient topic:
 
 

“MOM?  WHY WOULD PEOPLE GO ON VACATION TO A PLACE WITH A VOLCANO?!?!”

 

This question arose because Chapter 2 of the book indicated that Pompei, Italy was a place where ancient Romans would visit on vacation.

 

The kids were serious when they asked the question of why anyone would visit a place for fun knowing that a volcano was right in the middle of it.

 

Our daughter said,

 

“It just seems….UNSAFE.”

 
I’ve never lived near a volcano but know a lot of folks who have lived in Hawaii.
 
Perhaps, one of them might be better equipped at explaining their reasons for choosing to do that to our daughter.
 
I was thinking that there must be some science on our side now-  seismological Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs that gave enough forewarning to make millions of people feel safe, but I thought using “Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs” in a sentence might harm my credibility, even in the eyes of these kids.
 
So, I thought about how to explain why millions of people live in, around, and on active volcanoes, by choice.
 
All I could recall about living near volcanoes in my youth was the observation of the panicked dispersal of former Subic Bay High School students to other high schools throughout the Fareast after Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 in the Philippines.
 
Some of the students came to our high school in Seoul, Korea and they brought with them, the awesome footage of the aftermath.
 
The images showed a thorough destruction that laid deceptively beautiful sheets of chalky basalt in its cooled-magma wake.
 
(The other short-sighted downer for my then-high-school-self was that the volcanic eruption seemed to send some of the best Subic Bay athletes on the Girls’ basketball team to rival Fareast Tournament schools in Okinawa, Japan, and Guam.)
 
I chose not to relay that example to the kids to explain why it’s safe to live, or even better, to emplace an entire military base and billions of dollars in sensitive military assets, near an active volcano, which totally exploded.  
 
Maybe, folks just needed one of those seismological Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs, so a more geothermally-stagnant location could have been chosen…
 
Oh, wait! I remembered, there might be another story to tell.  Her Papa, my dad, actually gave the kids a rock this past Christmas that he picked up on his own visit to Pompei.  It’s a piece of pumice from one of Mt. Vesuvius’ many eruptions.
 
The very reason their Papa visited the city was to see the recovered ruins that had been unearthed after having been completely covered in volcanic ash in 79 A.D., that were only discovered in 1748 B.C by a survey engineer.  
 
This didn’t seem to support an answer about why anyone should go on vacation or live in a place with a volcano considering the mass death and destruction that has cyclically ensued over Mt. Vesuvius’ lifetime. But, it appeared that Papa was lucky that he made it home, especially since he had no special early warning Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs.
 
So, I just agreed with her.  She appeared to be right on, again.
 
We finished the chapter, gave Goodnight Kisses, and as I prepared to flip out the light, I asked the kids one last question.
 

“You know, guys….We’re leaving Laredo soon.  
  What place, here, are you going to miss the most?”

 
I figured I’d hear “The Imaginarium!” or “The Science Center!” or the name of some park.   But, instead, I heard something even more special and profound.
 

“WELL?  
  What I’m gonna miss the most is not really a place…..
  Actually….It’s actually the people here.  

I’m gonna miss my friends the most.”

 

And, for another moment, I had to stop and think about our conversation, again.

 

When you spend a lot of time moving in your life, “Friendship” BECOMES A Place.

It turns into a proper noun, entitled to capitalization,
with all the grammatical rights of any fixed city on a map.

 
So, I answered….
 

“Me, Too, Kiddo.  

My Friends Are The Place I’m Gonna Miss The Most, Too.”

 
 

The Simplest Things Can Make Us Happy And Hopeful.

 

There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Gasp.

 

BUT, There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Laugh.

 

There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Sad.

 

BUT, There WILL Always Be Something That Leaves Us In Awe.

 
 

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THE BRILLIANCE OF A CHILD TO REMIND US THAT THINGS ARE GONNA BE ALRIGHT.

 
 

And, If The Brilliance Fails To Inspire You, Just Follow The Unbridled Laughter….

 
 

 
 

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Fortune Cookie Messages For Outnumbered Parents At Kite Festivals

These Are The Days We'll Remember...At The Laredo Kite Festival.  By Critters And Crayons.

At The Laredo Kite Festival

 

One of the festivals we absolutely love to attend each year in Laredo is the Kite Festival in March.

Today, we attended our fourth.

This means that we have attended since our children were in diapers, nursing, learning to crawl, learning to walk, learning to talk….all the way up to this year.

This year is the first year both children are past all of those milestones, but they can also both hold their own kites, fly their own kites, and be genuinely interested in holding and flying their own kites.  

They can do these things after getting just a little bit of help by Mom or Dad to catch the wind, of course.

I have to say, though, there is one truth that appears to be self-evident and inviolable.

If I had a fortune cookie message to foretell my future or offer sage advice about taking more than one child to any Kite Festival alone, it would read:

 

“Winds Favor The Wise Parent Who Is Not Outnumbered By Children Or Kites.”

 

Another possible fortune cookie message might bring a different perspective while delivering the same message:

 

“One Foolish Parent With Two Children At Kite Festival
 Will Be Entangled In The Strings Of Crashed Kites.”

 

Each year, we pile into the mini-van on a beautiful, but very hot day, with our newly selected kites.  We walk to the festival from our distant parking spots.  
 
We find a plot of land that is not completely marshy and that is not so packed with people that we might get one of our kites airborne.

 

But, the unspoken and unfair Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents ALWAYS kicks in.

 

That law, in case you have not experienced it firsthand is:

 

“Your Child’s Kite Will Only Fly When Your Other Child’s Kite Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

And this Law is also supported by a couple of Theorums:

 

“The Vertical Height Of One Child’s Kite Is Directly Proportional To The Vertical Drop Of Your Other Child’s Kite.”

 

“If You Rescue One Child’s Kite By Gaining Wind Resistance By Running,

You Will Surely Run Through A Mudhole Where You Sink 3 Inches Before Kite Still Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

(Seriously, I cannot believe they didn’t move the first time.)

 

But, do you know what?

 

I’m certain we’ll be back, again, next year.

 

We may have muddy shoes and ankles, and some tangled kite string, and maybe even some occasionally frustrated children who haven’t completely grasped how to keep their kites in the air for longer than a few minutes, but, overall, we’re making some serious improvement.

 

Next year, we may be able to break that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents and its supporting Theorums.

 

Maybe, our Fortune Cookie Message, if we had a fortune cookie with a message about the Kite Festival, might read:

 

“Outnumbered Parent At Kite Festival Will See Two Kites In Air Simultaneously.”

 

or, maybe:

 

“You Will Not Trip On Tangled Kite Strings This Year.”

 

That would be cool.

 

But, maybe next year this fortune could really happen:

 

“You Will Remember To Wear Crappy Shoes To Places Where You Know You Will Run Through Mud.”

 

And, maybe, just maybe, some folks will get this fortune cookie message:

 

“Picnicker Who Moves After Kite Crashes Into Face Finishes Rest Of PB&J In Peace.”

 

But, I want to wish “Cheers” to all of the families out during the pretty Spring Days doing these kinds of activities.

 

There is humor in them, and sometimes, a little frustration.  
 
Yes.  Sometimes, you cave to the frustration after that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents kicks you in the teeth and ruins your shoes, again…when those imaginary fortune cookies foretold the future you should have predicted yourself.

 

For instance, I FINALLY cut the streamers completely off of one kite, and even sliced clean through the strings from the kite handle to regain the circulation to my legs after a near tourniquet had been formed by an errant kite with a very strong and determined child yanking on the other end.

 

I DID offer to pay the screaming child for the damage but she ran off to find her parents before I could give her any money.

 

(Um…..Really Sorry About That If It Belonged To Your Kid And You’re Reading This Now After Wondering Why Your Wailing Kid Brought Back A Kite Frame, But I Couldn’t Feel Anything Below My Ankle…..)

 

Seriously, though.

 

Days Like Today Are Never Boring. The Never-Boring Days Are The Real Memory-Makers.

 

THESE REALLY ARE THE DAYS WE ALL WILL REMEMBER.

 

HAVE YOU BEEN TO A KITE FESTIVAL?
 
STORIES!

 

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The Valentines Day Giveaway From Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company!

This is a sponsored post giveaway written by me on behalf of Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company.  

 
 

All Opinions Are 100% Mine.   

 
 

Valentines Day Giveaway Knotty Origami La Cookie Company

 
 

 A Beautiful Valentines Day Giveaway

From Knotty Origami And La Cookie Company Is Here!

 
 

ENTER HERE TO WIN

 
 
 

A Winner Will Be Selected Via Random Drawing

at Noon (CST) on February 12th, 2014. 

 
 

*Must by 18+ Years Old & Resident of the Continental U.S. To Enter*

 
 

You can win the following pretty gifts!

 
 

The Penny Knot Necklace & Fancy Kusudama Flower

 
 

Both of these items are hand-crafted and can be found in the Knotty Origami Etsy Store!  

 
 

A Box of La Cookie Company Hojarasca Cookies

 
 

These cookies are so delicate, flaky, and sweet that you could find yourself eating them like popcorn!

They have become a dessert staple in our home.

My family cannot get enough of them….And they make very pretty party treats!

 
 

la cookie company-2-6

 

 La Cookie Company

And a few other sweet gift items to fill the lovely prize basket that you can read about when you

 
 

ENTER HERE….

 
 

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY GIVEAWAY!

 
 

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How To Find Laredo Family & Kid Events!

Ever Wonder What's Happening In Laredo For My Kids?

See Below For Links To The Laredo Community Round-Up!


 

 

The New Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up Is HERE!

Now, you can find out about events and activities in Laredo, Texas

for families and kids MUCH MORE EASILY

and across the social media platforms you use most!

 

The Laredo Round-Up is no longer a long list of flyers!

 

The New Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up

is a set of Social Media tools that span

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube

to help you find Laredo Family & Kid Events much more quickly!

 

 

To learn more about

HOW TO NOT MISS AN EVENT IN LAREDO,

 

 

Check Out The Infographic Below

and head over to The New Laredo Community Round-Up Page! 

 
 

The Critters And Crayons Laredo Community Round-Up

 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE LAREDO COMMUNITY ROUND-UP INTEREST LIST ON FACEBOOK!

 

 SUBSCRIBE TO THE LAREDO NEWS & EVENTS LIST ON TWITTER!

 

 

 

FOLLOW THE CRITTERS AND CRAYONS LAREDO COMMUNITY ROUND-UP PINTEREST BOARD!

 

 

ENJOY LAREDO!

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The Merry Basket Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post giveaway written by me on behalf of Knotty Origami, Vella Naturale, Just Stitch, Susan Hammert of The Pampered Chef, Oma’s Homemade Dogfood, And South Hills Designs By Eliana.  All Opinions Are 100% Mine.  

 ***

 

Rendy Brel***….Your name was selected as the winner of the Merry Basket Giveaway! Please contact me at crittersandcrayons(at)gmail.com to confirm by Noon (CST) on December 19th, 2013. Thank you to all who entered! Merry Christmas!

Critters And Crayons is excited to announce

 

 

 

The Merry Basket Giveaway!

 

 

 

The Merry Basket features wonderful products from the following businesses!

 

 

One Handmade, Adjustable, Burgundy Celtic Knot Necklace By

Knotty Origami

 

A Three-Piece Variety of Natural Soaps By

Vella Naturale

 

One Handmade Coffee Coozie From

Just Stitch

 

One Package of Gourmet Dog Food And Treats From

Oma’s Homemade Dog Food

 

One Mix ‘n Chunk Tool From Susan Hammert of

Pampered Chef

 

One Mini-Locket And Charm From

South Hill Designs By Eliana Marroquin

 

 

 The Giveaway runs from

 

 

Tuesday, November 26th at Noon (CST)

 

 

until

 

 

Tuesday, December 17th at Noon (CST)!

 

TO ENTER THE FREE GIVEAWAY,

OPEN TO CONTINENTAL U.S. RESIDENTS AGES 18+ 

 

(And To Read The Official Rules And Eligibility Requirements),

 

Go HERE

 

Or Enter Using The Form Below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Thanks For Entering!

 

Best Of Luck To You!

 


A Hopping Popping Christmas Literacy Event!

I hope you’ll come out to to see me and my friends at Laredo 8 HEB Plus for a super fun literacy event on November 30th!

I’ll be reading some old Christmas favorites and the kids are going to enjoy some fantastic stomping on the Bubble Wrapped Floor and Christmas Tree Painting With…..

 Bubble-Wrap, of course!

 

 

HEB Plus Critters And Crayons Literacy Event A Hopping Popping Christmas

 

 

SEE YOU THERE!

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Kids Play In The Same Language

 

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

Kids Play In The Same Language.

 

They just a find a way to get over the minor obstacle of competent verbal communication.

One of the best aspects of living on the US/Mexico border is the opportunity for our children to experience a different culture and language.

I was reminded of this today as my children played at an indoor play area.

I posted about it on the Critters And Crayons Facebook Page and realized that such a great thing really warrants its very own blog post.

Our 6 year old daughter ran around playing tag with a new friend.

She ran up to me and said,
 
 

“Mom! I made a new friend!  She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish!   So we made up a game!”

 

 
 
I asked how they played that game.  And our daughter answered,
 
 

“I teach her English and she teaches me Spanish!
It’s called Speaking Different Languages!”

 
 
I noted how brilliant that was.

It is, isn’t it?
 
 

When you have so much in common,

like the need to be gleeful in the moment

for the sake of loving that moment,

then language is not a worthy foe.

 
 

That’s something children have figured out.

A reader commented on Facebook, “And a child shall lead them.”

Yes.

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

And So They Shall.

And So They Do.

 
 

For more posts on bilingualism and culture with kids…..

 

But, She Doesn’t Like Me….

 

Bilingualism, The Border, Dora, And Kids…

 
 

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