Monday, December 7, 2009

Reviewers that matter: Kindergarteners!

I am always thrilled when I hear what kids think of i get around. So I have to share the reviews I received from Laura Risdall's kindergarten class at Burroughs School in Minneapolis! I cherish the letter I received. Here's what Ms Risdall wrote:

"After we read the book, I asked for their opinion. I told them they could tell me they liked it or didn't like it that much, but they had to tell why. Here are some of their responses, in their own words! It was all positive feedback!

I like it because...
It has a funny cover!
It has cool pages.
It is an interesting book.
I like that it rhymes!
I like the things that are in the dog's imagination.
It has a dog in it, and I have a dog at home!
I like the part that said, "Hey watch out for the tree!"
I like the part at the end where he goes to sleep!
I like the little critters in the drawings.
He goes a lot of places!
I like that you had to turn the book upside down!"

Thank you, Laura Risdall and students! I am honored to receive your feedback, and I look forward to meeting you in January. (I've been invited to visit the class!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

stock up SALE!

Looking for unique kid's gifts that are engaging? Want kids to share your love of travel, outdoor adventures, physical activity, and connection with nature? Have you met Rover?
This fun-loving (and kinda silly) hound encourages kids age 0-8 to be curious, creative, and connected as they get around in everyday life, on special trips, and in their imagination.
Save 25% PLUS get free shipping.
If you're on my email list, you've received notice of this. If you haven't—and want to— click here to subscribe.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Play for keeps

This is an article I wrote for the local publication My Healthy Beginning. I'm posting it below, but you can also read it online (and enter to win a free i get around journal+scrapbook) here.
Play for Keeps
by Deb Miner

Are there memories from childhood that stand out in your mind? What are they? Experiences—especially the unplanned and unstructured kind—are what I remember. Things I read, places I went, what happened, who was there, how I felt. 

We all know how important early learning is for kids and there are certainly plenty of “educational toys” out there to help. But I’m especially interested in the kind of learning that happens spontaneously through open-ended play. 

I love the natural curiosity and creativity kids have and it’s so fun to encourage little ones to discover and develop these abilities. It's so valuable for kids to become aware of their world through senses and feelings and also to begin to recognize their own actions and choices. Exploring self-expression and sharing experiences is key too. Much of this comes naturally when we’re young, but without encouragement and reinforcement, it can get lost in all the efforts to learn in more specific ways. 

As a child, I spent a lot of time drawing, noticing, and imagining. My brother and I explored the woods and creatures in our backyard, boated on the Mississippi, and rode in the backseat on lots of roadtrips. We didn’t lack for toys (and I have the movies of Christmas mornings to prove it)! But my favorite toys often weren’t toys—they were things we discovered that had lots of possibilities. 

Boxes became a restaurant stove, or a sled. Weird, slippery fabric remnants became curtains for a stage. Paper, crayons, and pens became cards, stories, signs, sculptures. I also loved books for the visuals AND the words AND the ideas! I still have a lot of the picture books my parents read to my brother and me. When I was older and reading on my own, I remember how great it was to go to the library and discover books myself. One of my favorites was My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. I loved the descriptions of Sam’s experiences and the creative ways that he lived in the woods.

Our experiences—and responses to them—help define who we are and how we interact with our world, our community. Who and what we connect with. Why, where, and how we make connections and develop awareness. This is the kind of learning that comes from opportunities to explore. From “not knowing.” (And sometimes, parents: “not showing.”) Safety is important, of course, but sometimes being too safe, too controlled, too correct can be dangerous as well. Opportunities to be curious, to explore, to discover are both fun and important. 

Getting outdoors is more important than ever, too. According to the Children and Nature Network, nature can enhance a child’s emotional and social development. If young children have regular opportunities for unstructured play, then they are likely to have a greater chance of getting along with others and being happier, healthier, and smarter, report researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Teens also can benefit: A survey of participants in wilderness programs found that their interactions with nature resulted in enhanced self-esteem, independence, and initiative.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, there are opportunities to explore, connect, and discover. Use your senses to look, listen, smell, taste, touch. Take time to notice your emotions. And experience all that's around you and your child.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And a journal+scrapbook goes to...

Jodi Hiland, who runs Happy Trails (the cool local hiking program for families). Congratulations, Jodi! Jodi named 9 of the 10 activities in Caroline's journal. (No one guessed all 10!) Here are the answers: swimming, skiing, riding her bike, roller skating, hide and go seek, museum, --------, soccer, coffee-something (go to the coffee shop for special drinks), swimming. So what's the missing activity? Gymnastics! Caroline (and her sisters) are fabulous gymnasts, and her illustration was of the balance beam.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Caroline's journal

Look at these cool pages from 6 year old Caroline's i get around journal+scrapbook! First person to identify all 10 of her activities in a comment wins a free journal :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

I’ve listened to various reactions about President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and I appreciate his response of being undeserving. But personally, I LIKE that it’s not about accomplishment. In our culture, accomplishments trump just about everything. But there’s a level that intention is very valuable on, because it’s a huge shift in attitude from the way conflict has been handled throughout history. It’s a move from a win-lose mentality to a win-win mentality that is rarely seen on this global level. This is the kind of peace that I’m interested in. Isn’t it time we see ourselves as more than “Americans”, and see ourselves as world citizens? And instead of being the kind of family that punishes dissent, learn to be a family where we seek to understand each other? We can still disagree, but what if we approach conflict with a desire to understand, rather than conquer? It’s certainly not easy, and there are no guarantees. It’s more vulnerable and more scary to do things this way. And as with any risk that has potential to succeed, there’s also potential to fail. I would much rather take the chance, than continue the legacy of “what’s always been done”. It takes commitment and courage to have this kind of intention, because resistance to change is part of the process too. Worthwhile, significant change usually happens incrementally, with a few steps forward, and a few steps back. But to have the intention to move in a new direction is so worthwhile, and so needed–I don’t have a problem with rewarding it. It would be even better if we ALL chose this intention, and the Nobel Peace Prize could go to everyone on earth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Healthy, sustainable eating for kids

Earlier this summer, I was asked to create posters to help educate kids about food and eating in three categories, for a variety of age groups. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Category 1: Eat Locally/Sustainably

 Category 2: The Importance of Breakfast

Category 3: Cultural/Global Food Variety

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life is Good

Did you know there's a dedicated Life is Good® shop in Stillwater MN? The owners, Jen and Pete, are great--stop in and see them at Jake's on St Croix! (They carry I Get Around® items too.) Life is Good independent shops exist in lots of places, in addition to the items being carried by stores like REI. Wouldn't I Get Around be a good fit for all of them? Feel free to suggest this when you visit these spots--to find the Life is Good stores near you click here--thanks!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Swami Baby

Last week I met with Katie Holley, who has created a fun line of yoga wear (for adults and kids) called Swami Baby —check it out. As Katie says "Children can teach us as adults how to live in the present, take time to enjoy life, be aware of our surroundings, and be more direct."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

emotion and expression

I am fascinated by the connections between emotions, self-expression/creativity, and spirit. So I love what this passage--from Kids Play, by Michele Cassou--has to say. (I also believe, thankfully, that this can apply to adults too.)

"When children allow feelings to surface, they enter a healing process. Their feelings actually move from inside to outside. What is most difficult about painful feelings is that they contract and harden when we try to protect ourselves from them. When creation happens, the defenses that keep control over the feelings let down and feelings spontaneously express themselves, bringing release and integration, and feelings find room to be. The pain is felt, but with a space around it, because the contraction around it vanishes and the pain can finish its cycle.

Quite often, gentle feelings follow self-expression and children volunteer a few words about what they just experienced or remembered. They sense their place in the world again; they feel they belong."

Hopeful and inspiring, isn't it?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Trails

A few months ago, I heard about a local woman, Jodi Hiland, who had started a hiking club for kids and their adults. Jodi is creating something so valuable. And I love what she wrote in her email newsletter today:

It's so interesting how this economy thing has shaken up the way our culture does everything. I sometimes wonder how we'll look back on these past several decades. Years from now, we'll probably be sitting around with our children's children, telling the story: "Many years ago, people went away from nature, and we forgot who we really were. There came a great collective sadness, and we also forgot that we were connected to each other.

"We began to look to other things to make us happy, and our world became sick. Suddenly, it was too much, and a cosmic re-set button was pushed. We were forced to let go of those things we thought made us whole, and had to re-learn how to be with ourselves, our neighbors, and the Earth. Now, because we embraced this balance, we are truly free."

Check out Happy Trails Family Nature Club at (and be sure to sign up for the newsletter)!