Making A Vision Board With Kids!

Vision boards aren’t just for grownups! The positive gains that grownups get from making and then viewing their own vision board each day can be had by kids, too. In fact, kids can build life-long visualization habits by learning to make their own vision (purpose) boards at an early age. The earlier you start, the more fun they’ll have with the project.020-Making A Vision Board With Kids_720x400
Vision boards help kids express their hopes and dreams in pictures, especially at a time in their lives when sophisticated language skills are still being acquired. This is a great time to begin discussing their likes and dislikes with them, leading up to helping them find out what they are passionate about. “How do you know you don’t like it if you never tried it?” is a great question to ask.
Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum discuss this question and several others as they share their experience with “Vision Boarding with the Grandkids.”

The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One
by Elizabeth Rider

How to Create a Dream Board for Kids

By Any Means Necessary: Breaking Down & Building Up The American Dream
(Several vision board examples.)

Gratitude Boards For Kids!

Helping Kids Set Goals With Vision Boards
by Heather Darling

12 Steps to Competence!

Kids need lots of opportunities to find their strengths and learn to take safe risks. You also need to guide them in their decision making but, ultimately, let them resolve many things on their own. This is the way to raise strong, competent adults—people who can make a difference in their world!019-12 Steps to Competence_720x400
Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum discuss their twelve steps to raising competent children. See how many of these useful tips you are already using!

Funny Bone Books!

Kids not only do humorous things, but they are great humor barometers. When something strikes their funny bone, they will laugh and laugh without any reserve. They like to giggle and repeat silly phrases and exaggerate them over and over.018-Funny Bone Books_02_720x400
Kids love funny, goofy stories that could probably never really happen. You may be surprised at the things they find funny—sometimes you may even be horrified!
Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share their grandkids’ favorite Funny Bone Books!

The Monster that Stole My Underwear by Kate Clary
Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin
The Monster at the End of This Book (A Sesame Street Book) by John Stone
Timmy Failure, We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis
Game On Boys (which is silly and nonsensical) by Kate Cullen

For Boys
Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey
Diary of A Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney
Big Nate Series by Lincoln Peirce
“Weenies” Series and Other Books by David Lubar
My Weirdest School Series and Other Books by Dan Gutman
Eddie Dickens Trilogy/Gressingham Series by Philip Ardagh

For Girls
Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker
Dork Diaries Series by Rachel Renée Russell
Mallory Series by Laurie B. Friedman
Dear Dumb Diary Series by Jim Benton
Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary
Super Fudge by Judy Blume

Create A Baking Play Day!

If you want to see smiles and hear laughter in your house, have a baking play day with your kids and grandkids! The happy memories will last-and-last, especially if you take lots of pictures with your smart phone—and a video or two!017-Create A Baking Play Day_01_720x400
Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share the fun they had with their grandkids on various baking days. On each occasion, great times were had by all and delicious treats were even available to share with their parents!017-Create A Baking Play Day_02_720x400

Ikea “Bolmen” Step Stool
[This one is similar to ours but it is 9-3/4” high instead of 12” like ours.]

Guy Lewis  –  American Muse CD

Teaching Kids to Meditate

Children are born to copy our behavior. If were stressed-out, out-of-control, impatient, short-tempered, sarcastic—we’re teaching our kids to be the same. But if we’re loving, supportive, praising, patient, calming, harmonious—we’re teaching our kids to be that. Which kind of adult do you want to raise?016-Teaching Kids to Meditate_720x400
Deciding to teach meditation to your children is a great way to get started on the “calm, cool, collected” road of parenting. It’s not only practice for your children, it’s “harmony” practice for you as well. It’s nearly impossible for you to come out of a meditation session all tensed-up and stressed-out!
Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share some tips and experiences that will help you start a meditation practice with your family.

How to Get Kids to Meditate
by Bess O’Connor

5 Tips to Teach Children Mindfulness & Meditation
by Lorraine Murray

Teaching Children Meditation and Mindfulness
by Dawn Gluskin

YouTube Videos:
Clouds and Rain Children’s Meditation by Kathy Kruger

Children’s Rainbow Meditation by Kathy Kruger

Guided Meditations for Children – Enchanted Forest by Paradise Music

Jelly Belly – Relaxation Technique for Children by Angele Roux

Making a Collage from Nature

All kids love to collect things when they’re outside. Pretty stones (and even plain ones), dead leaves, sticks, robin’s blue egg shells, sea shells, driftwood; the list is endless. It’s usually a matter of what catches their eye in the moment when they’re out-and-about.015-Making A Collage from Nature_720x400
Making a collage is a pastime that helps assemble those “found objects” in an imaginative, creative, and fun way. The results can be amazing and the finished result will help anchor the time when the objects were collected.
Listen as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum describe a successful “collecting event” and give tips for a fun collage experience.

105 Ways to Enjoy Nature With Kids
by Kelly

Go on a Nature Walk
by Kidspot

We’re Going On a Treasure Hunt!

Kids love to play games and to win. Treasure hunts allow them the opportunity to win, either as individuals, or in a group. You can have a treasure hunt right at home, in your yard, or just about anywhere. And the different themes and styles to choose from are endless.014-We're Going On a Treasure Hunt_720x400
Treasure hunts can be inexpensive. You don’t have to buy anything at all for a treasure hunt—all you really need are some slips of paper and something to search for.
Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share tips and experiences for planning and conducting a fun and successful treasure hunt—listen in and enjoy!

How to Make a Treasure Hunt for Kids: Your Ultimate Guide
by Lisa Mason

How to Make an Amazing Treasure Hunt for Kids
by wikiHow

Printables: Treasure Hunt and Scavenger Hunt Games
By Parents Magazine

How To Plan A Fun Treasure Hunt
by Joyful Daisy

32 Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Kids To Do
by Jamie Reimer

Kids Love Puppets!

Puppets are enjoyed the world over by kids of all ages, especially since the fuzzy, stuffed-animal hand puppets are being sold. There are hundreds of different designs, sizes, and colors available. Most big-box department stores have them at a very reasonable cost.013-Kids Love Puppets_720x400

Puppets encourage kids to be creative and express themselves. They invent stories for the puppets to perform and many of these imaginary situations involve humor, drama, and their emotions.

Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share their love for puppets and how they are using them with a second generation—their grand kids!

Puppets Help Children to Reveal their Deepest Feelings
by Luz Cudjoe

Puppets Talk, Children Listen: How puppets are effective teaching aids for kids
by Christie Belfiore

Using Puppets in Child Care

The Importance of Puppets

Kids Are Happy Rippin’ and Rompin’

It doesn’t really matter how kids move, as long as they move! It’s much easier to get them movin’ and rippin’ and rompin’ if they’re encouraged to do fun activities. All it takes is a little research, a little planning, and a little guidance. Once your kids see how much fun they can have, they’ll take over from there.012-Kids Are Happy Rippin and Rompin_720x400
Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share the games that they love to play with their grandkids and give tips to get them started at your house. Everyone benefits when kids are active—listen in and learn why.

Children’s Exercise Guide: Why Kids Need Exercise 
by Anne Etra

Children’s Exercise Guide: Fun Indoor Exercises for Kids by Anne Etra

5 Ways That Play Can Change Your Day by the American Heart Association

Happy Kids Have Healthy Self-Esteem

What is healthy self-esteem? It can be defined as feeling capable while also feeling loved. Self-esteem is similar to self-worth—how much a person values himself or herself. This can change from day-to-day and from year-to-year, but, overall, self-esteem tends to develop from infancy and it keeps developing throughout adulthood.011-Happy Kids Have Healthy Self-Esteem_720x400

Sometimes self-esteem suffers because a person feels judged as less than acceptable to others. This is why it is so important to instill a strong sense of self-value in a child; and to help them in realizing their value from an early age.

However, it’s not our job to mold children into what we want them to be. Our job is to help them grow into what they are. We want to show kids that it’s okay to be themselves, with all of their strengths, and with all of their weaknesses. We want our kids to understand that all of us have things we are good at, and things we may never be good at, and that’s fine. We’re okay and worthy of love just as we are!

Praise the Right Stuff
by admin

Wings: Helping Kids Soar—Developing Social and Emotional Skills Through Fresh & Fun After School Programs

Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Michelle New, PhD

Happy Parents Have Happier Kids

Laughter is contagious, and now research shows that happiness is too—especially in your family. Happy parents have happier kids than the norm. What’s more: parents at the other extreme—negative, depressed, unhappy—often have children that act out, and have other behavior problems.010-Happy Parents Have Happier Kids_720x400

So, it’s not selfish for parents to develop activities away from the kids that make them feel good as a couple; to recapture the romance of their “coming together” period. As parents maintain—or reclaim—their happiness, they become positive role models for demonstrating happiness to their children. They are also modeling positive marriage behavior, too!

How to Raise Happy Kids: 10 Steps Backed by Science
by Eric Barker

How Parents’ Stress Can Hurt A Child, From The Inside Out by Alice G. Walton

Parents will raise happier children “if they put them second to their marriage” by Amelia Hill
US therapist David Code argues that an over-focus on kids creates demanding offspring and anxious, exhausted parents.

Dance Helps Kids Succeed!

Practically all kids love to dance. It’s the earliest form of self-expression and creativity. Dance comes long before verbal expression and helps all humans—young and old alike—to find success in many areas of life, and especially in growing up.009-Dance Helps Kids Succeed_720x400_03

Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum discuss how dance and physical movement helps kids become happy, healthy, and successful adults. From improving coordination, to overcoming shyness, to enhancing math and science skills, dance helps kids do it all!

Kids Like Being Helpers

Kids are natural-born helpers. They want to contribute to their family and they “love” to be called “helpers.” However—most of all—they like to be asked, not told. So, instead of saying, “Go get that,” or “Pick that up,” say, “Would you like to be my helper?” 008-Kids Like Being Helpers_720x400
Kira and Bill Van Ittersum share their great tips to make children’s contribution around the house fun for all. When the whole family works together and appreciates each other, chores are not a chore!

Magic Makes Kids Happy

Why do kids love magic so much? One reason is that magic can suspend their belief in their rational world. Instantly, magic can transport them to a “Magic World” where the impossible is suddenly possible.007-Magic Makes Kids Happy_720x400

Kids also have very vivid imaginations and magic, performed masterfully, “fires” those receptive imaginations. Kids want to believe and hope—hence the enormous popularity of fantasy literature.

Kira and Bill Van Ittersum think magic encourages kids to observe and to use inferential reasoning and deductive thinking, while at the same time, providing an art form that is both entertaining and educational! Kids, and adults alike, have a lot of fun pondering that age old question, “How’d they do that?”

So, why do kids love magic? The simple answer is that magic is just plain fun!

Simon Pierro: The Amazing iPad Magician as presented on The Ellen Show

Mat Franco’s magic story

Magician Ken Kelly

Justin Willman (favorite!)

Penn and Teller

I Know How You Did That! By Emily Bazelon

Dennis Michael

Unstructured Play Helps Kids Feel Happy

Unstructured play can occur nearly anywhere. All it takes is kids,
imagination, and some patience from the grownups. Kids at play are happiest when inventing their own games and re-inventing rules for old games.006-Unstructured Play Helps Kids Feel Happy_720x400

Free form play is a big part of growing up. The skills they learn from unstructured play on one hand and the joy they experience from it on the other help them become responsible, caring, enthusiastic adults who also know how to keep play alive in their adult lives. Learning to play well makes kids happy!

Music Tames the Savage Child

Kira and Bill Van Ittersum believe that kids and music go together like hot dogs and buns. When the Van Ittersum grandkids start acting up and acting out, Grandma and Papa steer them toward their favorite tunes; because they know that in most cases, music helps control the mood. Music will tame a child like magic!005-Music Tames the Savage Child_720x400

Music is virtually everywhere: on CD’s, DVD’s, and on the internet via YouTube and other sites. Kira and Bill play their grand kids favorite sing-a-long tunes in the car and they encourage the kids to dance and act out scenes from their favorite musicals at home. Every summer, they take the grand kids out to “Music in the Park” productions, where they can dance and sing and even take the stage from time to time.

Kira and Bill share some of the kids’ favorite artists and DVD musical shows in this podcast, too. These are the ones who know how to get down on the kids’ level. The kids are wiggling and jumping, and sliding and stomping, and singing silly songs in front of the TV too! So, you say your kids are bored? Turn on the jams and get down with the youngins, movin’ and groovin’, and have fun creating some over-the-top musical drama. Your kids will thank you for it!

1. Guy Louis’ Web Site:

2. Russian FLASH MOB wedding theme. “Puttin’ On the Ritz” – background song

Fun With Tents

004-Fun With Tents_720x400You can test this out, and you’re encouraged to do so, but Kira and Bill Van Ittersum think playing in tents is one of those really simple pleasures in life. They believe that nearly every child could and would enjoy this experience if given the opportunity. Tents are a lot of fun, and they can be made out of things you already own: sheets, blankets, quilts and tablecloths, an old stepladder or even dining room chairs. Actual store-bought pop-up tents will do, too. Kira and Bill share their experience about something they know firsthand: however tents are created, kids love to play in ‘em!bunkbed-with_pup-tent

Pictured are the tents the Van Ittersum grandchildren play in. These tents don’t always stay on the beds. They’re dragged about the house from the play room to the living room to the front hall. Sometimes the grandkids will sit in them for hours in the middle of the living room floor.  It all depends on what they’re seeking at the moment—privacy and seclusion, or “center of attraction” appeal.cabana-tent02
Kids like to “play house” in them, pretend they are “camping,” go on “trips to imaginary places,” and they even like doing their homework in them too. Sometimes they play “hog the tent,” pushing everyone else out. At other times they squeeze three growing bodies into a small space and play a game together.

Whatever they are doing, they are living in their own little world, inside a small enclosure of space that makes them feel like the “King” or “Queen” of the castle. Yep, kids think tents are great, and so do Grandma and Papa!01_pup-tent

Music to Our Ears

“What’s that noise?” Wee ones come marching with instruments in hand—through the hallway, around the living room, into the dining room, on to the kitchen, around the island. Stomp! Stomp! Stomp to the beat! And, oh what a loud beat it is!003-Music to Our Ears_720x400

Bill and Kira Van Ittersum share the gleeful experience kids can have creating their own first music in this fun-filled discussion. Kids are not bashful, but rather bold and daring in this endeavor! It’s high drama and major impact that they are intending, and with just the right thing to blow, bang, or strum, they are succeeding!003-Music to Our Ears_Piano_354x400

Kira and Bill describe their actual assortment of musical things that they have on hand for their grandkids to play. They hope that witht a few simple, relatively inexpensive musical items of your own, your kids can also begin the journey of exploration that most kids naturally enjoy. Just a few dollars at a Mom-to-Mom sale or three can render you well-equipped to get kids started. It’s a smashing lot of fun for them—and you will love being their audience! Kira and Bill say, “Give it a try!”

Our Grandkid’s Christmas Tree

Listen in as Kira and Bill Van Ittersum talk about the “joy of allowing” as they explain how the project of decorating their Christmas tree truly became child’s play. Kids can do amazing things—as they demonstrated while sharing in this somewhat daunting task. Together, they created a masterpiece for themselves and others. As you can see in the photos, they also decorated ornaments of their own to hang on the tree. A lot of fun was had by all and lots of tricks were learned.002-Our Grandkids Christmas Tree_720x400 

The lesson learned for Kira and Bill was to take a breath, trust, and say, “Of course!” when the kids ask “Can we do this?” If you give the situation a chance—and leave expectations at the door—the outcome can be delightful. We’re pretty sure this whole experience is going to become a Van Ittersum family tradition!

An Introduction to the Happy Kids Podcast

In this light and often zany podcast, Kira and Bill Van Ittersum are having fun! They’re sharing the experience of happiness however it is landing on them at the moment and encouraging you to do the same.

001-Happy Kids_IntroductionAll of our kids’ happiness grows by leaps-and-bounds when grownups provide activities that bring joy to life. The bonus is that these fun activities are neither elaborate nor expensive!