Teaching your little ones to be citizens of the world

Encouraging your children to participate in different activities is an excellent way to let them learn about the world around them. Although volunteer activities often focus on helping others, they offer numerous physical, mental, and social benefits to children. 


Some of the benefits of such activities for your kids are:

  • Enhanced world perspective
  • Inspiration and commitment
  • Life skills introduction
  • Social skills development
  • Improved mental health
  • Develop a sense of purpose
  • Improved self-awareness
  • Enhance self-esteem

For instance, small children can perform volunteer activities at daycare to learn about the world and enhance their emotional and social growth, making it an essential part of childcare. Parents must teach their children to volunteer because it allows them to learn important lessons in life, such as appreciating family, shelter, home food, and society. In today’s article, we will give you some volunteer activities or ideas for kids. Read on!

Volunteer at home

Although volunteering at home is not as fascinating as a mission trip to West Africa, contributing at home is the best way to build a strong foundation for your kids. Here are some ideas you can use to get your children serving at home:

Love language

Discuss with your children the power of love and compassion and ask them to determine meaningful ways to show love to their siblings and elders. Allow your kids to create a plan or schedule for the following week and let them keep a journal of family members’ reactions to their act of kindness.

Helpers hints

Infant care and preschool children require healthy development, leading to improved cognitive development, gross and fine motor skills enhancement, educational achievement, responsible citizenship, and lifelong health.

Help your children draw pictures of a way to “volunteer” to help out each member of the family. Some examples are “give a hug,” “make dad’s bed,” or “do the dishes.” Each day, your child can choose a slip of paper, read the hint, and do a good deed!

Volunteer at an institution

Whether or not your child is religious, structured institutions like school and church give children structure to respect others. Provide opportunities for your children to volunteer at school or church! Here are some ideas of volunteer activities: 

Toy Wash 

Kids can help the nursery staff by washing toys. Preschool children and preteens can collaborate to scrub plastic toys based on the nursery policies.

Wash car Windows 

This is an excellent volunteer activity for preteens. Take your children to a friends and let them wash all the neighbors car windshields. 

Volunteer in the Community

Research shows that over 73% of children believe they can serve their communities and make a huge difference. However, they need opportunities to act on this belief. Here are some cool ideas in LA: 

Volunteer to Read

Many schools and libraries in Los Angeles, California, look for volunteer readers. Encourage your children to help younger children read some valuable books at their schools. However, this activity must be outside regular classes. 

Help Neighbors

If you have older kids, they can help neighbors in many ways. For instance, they can mow, weed, paint, and carry out pet-sitting. On the other hand, preschool children can enjoy leaving handmade cars or flowers on neighbors’ doorsteps.

Help the less fortunate

As a parent, encourage yourself and your kids to clean closets and donate used toys and clothes to less fortunate children. You can also donate old clothes and toys to charity organizations that support underprivileged families.

Use the following tips to keep your children’s volunteer activities running effectively and streamlined:

Plan Ahead

You may not know, but the best-intentioned volunteer activities can backfire if you have not planned effectively. Sit down in a comfortable environment with your kids and take your time to map, coordinate, and assess every activity.

Be Specific

Analyze your expectations from your kids. Everyone, including your children and adults, needs to know about their respective jobs. Remember, some children have behavioral problems, meaning you need to be clear about their behavioral expectations and assign volunteer work that aligns with their skills.

Structure Each Activity

If you want to make your children feel responsible and valued, give them structured tasks, allowing them to do as much as they are capable of doing. Besides, plan for supplies, snacks, and transportation.

Final Words

Volunteering offers a wide range of benefits to your kids, including broadening their worldly experience, developing stakes in the local community, enhancing self-esteem, learning leadership skills, etc. Make sure you structure each activity and make them age-appropriate. Until Next Time!

Racing Cars at Big and Tiny Santa Monica

Today we raced cars at Big and Tiny Santa Monica. We made a ramp out of cardboard and then used our favorite colors to paint the cardboard ramp so that we could watch the pain flow down the ramp. 


We used all recycle materials including an old cardboard box to make a car ramp and we collected our favorite cars around the school. We were able to find a pretty good selection of cars to race from Big and Tiny’s diverse toy collection. 

It was so cool to see how the paint splattered all over the board and even on our hands! All the kids had fun and got excited about the race. 

“That was cool!” – Freddie 
“On your mark, get set, Go!” – Boone 

The end result was a beautiful piece of cardboard art splatter! 

 

Making Seed Bombs with Mr. Anthony & Hello Bello

To wrap up #earthmonth we made some seed bombs with Mr. Anthony! These easy to create seed bombs bring sustainable beauty that lasts far beyond the month of April.

What is a seed bomb?

A seedbomb is a little ball made up of a combination of compost, clay and seeds.

What is it used for?

The compost and clay act as a carrier for the seeds so they can be launched over walls or. fences into areas that are difficult to access such as wasteland or railways. Make sure not to throw seed bombs into other peoples gardens, but use them to brighten up abandoned lots or public spaces.

MATERIALS

1. Compostable dirt or clay 
2. Water 
3. Seeds of any kind! Flowers are usually more fun 
4. Mixing bowl 

STEP BY STEP 

*Make sure to watch the video above with Mr. Anthony for context:

  1. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of seeds with 5 cups of compost/dirt and 2-3 cups of clay powder (you could use clay soil instead if you have it).

  2. Slowly mix in water with your hands until everything sticks together.

  3. Roll the mixture into firm balls.

  4. Leave the balls to dry in a sunny spot.

  5. Now for the fun bit! Plant your seed bombs by throwing them at bare parts of the garden and wait to see what pops up!

Dr. Barbara Sturm on Work Life Balance

We held a skincare masterclass for Big and Tiny moms with Dr. Barbara Sturm – one of the most renowned skincare doctors in the world – who’s known for her anti inflammatory  philosophy and non-surgical anti aging skin treatments. Then we asked her some questions about what it’s like to balance business with being a mom! Here’s what we learned… 

Q: What’s your favorite part of being a mom?

Seeing my children grow up is the most exciting part of my life. Getting cuddles and love and being able to give motherly love and cuddles. Shaping children is the greatest responsibility and my biggest passion and the most fantastic thing.

Q: How do you balance parenting and running a business are there any work/life balance hacks?

There’s not really a balance because when you’re with your children you feel like you should be working and when you’re working you feel like you should be with your children. You always feel a little guilty but that’s just part of being a working mother.  I think this will never change. But kids that get to grow up seeing their mother working also motivates them and gives them an idea of what they want to achieve in their lives. Charly once wrote an essay for school about who her idol was, and she said that mom was her idol and that was such a wonderful thing to hear. She has always been by my side and a part of my work life too and she has always embraced it and never been upset about it. It’s important to give kids quality time over being with them 24/7. 

Q: What are your top skincare tips and tricks?

Get enough sleep, stay away from unhealthy food and cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Try to take time for your skin, using anti-inflammatory skincare treatments and products (like Dr. Sturm). I think less is more but it’s important to make sure you have the best products, like an amazing face cream and hyaluronic serum and then you’ve done a lot for your skin without spending an hour in the bathroom. Also be careful with what you do with your newborn kids. Don’t expose them to fragrances and bubble baths even though this may be fun for them, because this can cause eczema and skin problems later on. I always bathed Pepper in milk baths and used only my BABY & KIDS Line which contains the best soothing ingredients that are just good for the skin. 

What are your top parenting tips and tricks?

Trust your children. I always taught Charly to tell me everything because I know how to fix things instead of making my kids scared of coming to me if they did something wrong. I never got upset at them for making a mistake and always encouraged them to be open and talk to me about everything. I encouraged them to make their own paths and gave them my trust and opportunities while always letting them be who they are. 

Q: What are some of your favorite activities that you and your kids share?

My favorite activity for sure is cuddling! Pepper, who is six, loves to play catch, hide and seek and Uno and loves skiing and swimming – mommy’s up for anything! Charly, who is 25, loves good conversations, movie nights, cooking and baking together and going out for dinner. Whatever they like to do, I’m up for it.

Q: Tell us about your new Baby and Kids Collection

When Pepper was born, I really didn’t want to harm her skin and all the existing kids’ products seemed to have inflammatory ingredients like essential oils and fragrances. I didn’t want to harm my baby’s body, so I created samples for Pepper. I started with five products, and my friends kept asking me for them, so I was making samples upon samples, until finally I decided to put the products it in proper packaging and make it part of the Dr. Barbara Sturm line. I even have friends who use the BABY & KIDS FACE CREAM and the BABY & KIDS BODY CREAM on themselves because of how gentle they are. They’re great for eczema, redness and any dryness. 

Why paternity leave benefits the whole family

What are the primary benefits of taking paternity leave?


As a new parent, it is likely that you have a fair number of challenges to undertake. This means getting yourself ready to face up against many things that are brand new to you – diapers, late nights, spit up!! If you are find yourself struggling, then you might wish to make the most of your
paternity leave

As a parent, you need and deserve time, support, and freedom to enjoy these crucial early days of parenting. With more and more parents – male and female – realizing the benefits of paternity leave – especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic when work is such a primary focus for so many – there is a requirement to fully understand the impact that paternity leave can have on your household.

In the past, parental leave was left to the mother while the father would spend time working, living as normal a life as can be. However, there are clear signs that paternity leave could be a huge benefit for both parents. By fathers taking on a more robust number of caregiving responsibilities in these key early months, the benefits extend far beyond avoiding burnout and high stress levels.

Most studies show that men who take paternity leave benefit massively from the break. While some worry it could be detrimental to their career futures, most have found it offers a better work-life balance whilst being able to help out more at home, strengthening relationships with both the child and mother.

Paternity leave isn't only beneficial to dads

It’s proven that paternity leave is beneficial in any family setting. 

There are a great number of benefits that can stem from both parents taking leave in those early months. Some of the benefits include, but are not limited to:

Better relationships at home

Having a child is a huge undertaking, and in the past, this would mean the mother takes on the brunt of the early childhood pressures, while fathers – or partners – would tend to still work, meaning they didn’t face the same challenges when arriving home. After work, the majority of the challenges in raising a baby are handled – the day is nearly over.

However, most studies point to fathers finding it universally positive to have more time to spend with both mother and child. They are more invested in those early days with the child, and thus they can feel the active impact that having a child has on their own life. This is very important as it helps both parents to feel the weight – and benefit – of responsibility.

Better mental health

The mental toll that can come with dealing with a newborn baby can be massive. From ensuring that postpartum care is made easier for the mother to helping out with the tasks needed to run the house, there is less of a toll taken on the body of the typical caregiver for the child.

Instead, with both parents at home and capable of handling the care that is required, there is a greater chance for tasks to be shared and the weight to be balanced. Both parents benefit from not trying to take on too much; now, one parent isn’t entirely focused on at-home care while the other is totally focused on bringing in money.

Instead, it allows the balance to be better shared so that both parents can feel like they are positively contributing.

Forming a family dymanic

A major mistake that stems from spending too much time working in those early months is the lost opportunity to form a lifelong bond. They might not even remember these moments clearly later in life, but those early moments of love, care, and attention from both parents can be essential for forming that loving, happy bond with both parents.

This allows for a more equal household role, yes, but more importantly it sets a clear dynamic that the child will be raised by both parents, not by one parent whilst the other works. This allows both parents to learn the key facts to raising a child as a duo, instead of one parent trying to work out everything on their own.

Setting the stage for the future

These key benefits also ensure that when the time comes for the child to mature and move on to preschool or childcare that they have a more seamless adjustment. When a child is used to being in a single-parent setting for most of early life, being put into a new situation can be very worrisome for a young mind.

Creating an environment where the child feels supported by multiple parental figures makes the transition to kindergarten and beyond a much easier experience. For parents who worry about having a symbiotic connection to their child that makes it hard to move on with key factors in life – such as attending school in early years – the ability to have both parents there to offer support actually reduces tension.

Now, with one parent not being tethered to the child whilst the other parent is less visible, it is much easier for both parents and children to have a more comfortable, less dependent relationship.

These factors matter a great deal when it comes to raising a child. Paternity leave is a huge part of helping ensure there is a strong support structure at home. Your job and career matters, but as a new parent you have just started the biggest, most rewarding job of your life!! Why miss out on those special beginning months of your new, unforgettable experience as a parent? Take paternity leave if you can!

Music with Mr. Rioji at Big and Tiny Santa Monica

Today, at Big and Tiny Santa Monica, we explored through music with our favorite music teacher Mr. Rioji! Music class is one of our favorite enrichment activities at Big and Tiny. 

First, we learned all the names of the instruments. Mr. Rioji brought guitars, drums, ukulele’s, shakers and more!! After learning about each instrument, we learned how to hold the ukulele.

We also learned how to drum on the congas. Mr. Rioji let Boone, Alma and Cove play on the big conga together! After learning how to use the instruments, we listened to some of our favorite songs including Rocket Ship, Firetruck and Bumble Bee. All the kids and educators sang along!  

Mr. Rioji gave us colorful ribbons to fly through the air as we ran around and danced while he sang. We love learning and playing though music. 

After we danced and sang, Freddy said “Watch me play the guitar, Mrs. Tressa!” and started singing twinkle twinkle little star.

What a fun day!! 

Making Lanterns with Mr. Anthony & Hello Bello

Learn how to make fun & creative lanterns with any type of paper – use old art projects, magazines, or construction paper. All you need is a pair of scissors, paper and tape for this fun craft! 

MATERIALS

1. Scissors
2. Tape
3. A piece of 8.5 x 11 paper (better if it’s colorful with patterns! Can come from a book or magazine 🙂

STEP BY STEP 

*Make sure to watch the video above with Mr. Anthony for context:

1. Cut one 1/2 inch strip from the shorter end of your piece of paper and save it for later! (This will be your handle)

2. Fold your piece of paper in half right down the middle  (horizontally)

3. Cut thin strips almost all the way to the top while leave a small space uncut (.5+ inches work!)

4. Optional: Sing itsy bitsy spider with Mr. Anthony while cutting!

5. Cut a small piece of tape, unfold your paper and place rolled tape on 2 of the 4 corners.

6. Fold the paper in half taping each end together so the lantern is complete!

7. Take the first strip of paper cut in step 1 and tape this strip to either side of the top of the lantern to become a handle.

8. Hang your lanterns anywhere! We like to put them in the trees outside 🙂 

Thanks for making lanterns with us, friends!

Preparing your children for returning to school post-pandemic

As a parent, it is quite likely that you are wrestling with the concept of sending your children back to school as the pandemic begins to ease. For many, though, sending their kids back into school or daycare while COVID-19 is still in the area can feel stressful and disconcerting. We know that you might be going back and forth with the pros and cons of sending them back to school…

 That’s why we wrote this blog! To help you visualize what life is likely to be like for the little ones on their return, here are some of the things to think about:

While not every school or daycare facility will be in the same position, most children will be facing a pretty drastic change from what they will be used to. Some of the main concerns and changes include:

  • The first concern that most parents have is the idea of sending their children back in the pandemic due to the educational challenges. For one, your children are going to be dealing with logistical changes such as check-in stations. For a young child used to a more freeform education, it can seem odd.
  • Another big change will be the need to wear a mask, even during class. Many children find the wearing of a mask quite uncomfortable, while it can cause anxiety in others. For many children, it is simply something else to wear, but for others it can cause a lot of issues regarding their comfort.
  • Classrooms are likely to be very different in their layout and their numbers, too. Children might have to get used to people they have befriended being moved into other smaller-sized classrooms. Also, classrooms will be modified to ensure minimal contact, thus harming social interaction.
  • Indeed, many children might not even be returning to school and/or daycare full-time. Many facilities are taking on a gradual return, trying to give as many children as possible a shot at some education a few days per week. This is another logistical challenge that can make it hard to arrange routines.
  • Expectations will change, too. For younger children who have missed out on crucial development time, it will be a hard ask to make up for that lost time. For older children going back to later school years, the expectation will be to achieve the best grade they can with reduced opportunity and time.

As you can imagine, each of these challenges are likely to cause a fair few issues for most children. They are likely to find it hard to adjust and adapt to such massive changes from what school was like beforehand. As a parent, then, your duty is to help support your child and ensure they can endure these changes until normality resumes.

Should I send my child back to school/daycare?

While that is a decision that only you can make as a parent, there is a crucial reason to consider a return. For one, most facilities are working harder than ever to create COVID-friendly facilities that should minimize transmission and combat the fear of it being spread across the school.

The main reason, though, comes down to the health and well-being of the children themselves. A child needs to be taught, to be given the chance to learn, and to grow. Crucially, though, children need social stimulus outside of the family home; they need to be around kids their own age!

That is why, as a parent, you might wish to put even more emphasis on a return, even at a part-time level. Being around other children on playdates, during daycare, and even simply in the classroom is essential for a young child. They need those early life interactions to build their own personality, thought process, and mentality. Missing out on that could be pretty severe for most children.

And, after the challenges of the last year, a bit of normality might go a long way to helping your children recover quicker from the stress of 2020 and 2021 (so far). While school and daycare might not be totally normal given all of the changes and challenges listed above, it’s more normalized than being at home all day.

Nobody can make this decision for you, but you should be looking to find the best situation for your own child! 

Make a 2021 intention frame

Set your 2021 intentions by framing your wishes and hanging them in your bedroom – don’t by shy, wish as much as you want!

MATERIALS 

Popsicle sticks
Glue
Paint
Buttons
Yarn
A photo of your intentions and wishes

STEP BY STEP 

Decorate your popsicle stick in anyway you like! Be creative!

Once the glitter/paint is dry, stick each popsicle stick to each other, over and under.

Add jewels or any other decoration as desired.

Choose an image or a photo of what you wish to demonstrate next year. We chose circle time with friends and my favorite teacher – but you can pick anything you wish for: a new puppy, more playdates or more time in nature.

Finally attach ribbon or string for hanging.

Make your own snow globe!

Who doesn’t love a snow globe? Creating your own truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

MATERIALS 

A mason jar
Epoxy glue
Glycerin Glitter
A figurine of your choosing
Distilled water

STEP BY STEP 

Glue the figurine to the inside lid of the mason jar using the epoxy glue. Let it dry.

Fill the mason jar with distilled water (almost to the top).

Add glitter to distilled water.

Add two healthy pours of glycerin.

When the lid is dry screw on to the top of the jar.

Give it a shake and watch it snow!

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