Parents of Tots

Building a Supportive Social Network


  • Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:00 PM | Deleted user

    Given the winter we’ve had, my kids and I have totally forgotten how to play outdoors.  But I am choosing to be optimistic and plan for spring anyway! 

    With spring, we have opportunities for two different kinds of outdoor play: sunny and rainy.  Of course, you can just head out the door and see what you can find—your kids will get fresh air, exercise, and likely see something interesting.  But sometimes, I like to spice up our afternoon stroll around the block. 

    This first link takes you to a spring scavenger hunt complete with photographs.  There are many more of these on the web, so you can try a different one every time.  This second one takes it a step further and includes clues for all five of the senses.  And once things start blooming, try a rainbow scavenger hunt!  Lastly, if you are going on a longer nature walk, try out one of these Spring Bingo cards from Mass Audubon. 

    That brings us to rainy day outdoor activities.  As much as these are harder to gear up for and clean up from, they still offer great opportunities for burning off energy and exploring.  This article from Psychology Today explains some of the learning benefits of puddle play.  We do a lot of puddle walks, so I’ve included tips from my own experience and reading here.

    1. Dress appropriately.  Water proof boots are a must so that you and your kids don’t want to head home after 3 minutes.
    2. Give yourself over to the mess.  Any pants, shirts, socks, coats, etc., that you all are wearing will likely wind up wet and need to go immediately into the washing machine.
    3. Find the right place.  Hopefully you can find a spot nearby that has lots of puddles, gentle slopes, mud, and maybe a stream.  And if you can’t, you’re more than welcome to come over to our street—plenty of potholes here!
    4. Ask questions as your kids explore. 
    • Does that puddle look deep or shallow? Is the water cold or warm?  Is the water clear or muddy?
    • What do you see when you look in the puddle?
    • What happens if we tiptoe through the puddle?
    • What happens if we stomp in the puddle?
    • How does the puddle sound?
    • Does that mud look squishy or hard?
    • Whose foot print is that?

         5. To take it to the next level, find out what happens when you introduce  props.

    • What sound does this pebble make when it splashes in the puddle? 
    • Does the pebble change the puddle at all?
    • Do you think this stick will float or sink?
    • If we put the stick in here, where do you think it will end up?

    The most important thing is to celebrate spring and reacquaint ourselves and our kids with the outdoors!

  • Friday, March 20, 2015 12:34 PM | Deleted user

    Help Parents of Tots support the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry during our drive March 28th. Volunteer with your child or bring by a donation of non-perishable goods. Check out the calendar for more information, Parents of Tots Food Drive.

    Many families want to include their children in the community service they participate in, but talking to children about hunger can be difficult. One way to explain why we are collecting items and volunteering our time is to involve the child in a conversation about what it feels like to be hungry. Below are several questions you might ask:  

    • What do you feel like when you feel hungry? (grumpy, tired, distracted)
    • Can you imagine feeling like that all the time?     
    • What would happen if you didn’t eat a healthy breakfast before you went to your (soccer game, swim class, ballet class)? Would you be able to listen to what your teacher was asking you to do? Would you be able to do your best?    

    In some families, they don’t have money to go to the grocery store and buy all the food they need. Instead, they might go to the food pantry, where they can get some food for free.  We are helping those families by bringing these items to the food pantry.

    For five more activities for kids of all ages and a suggested reading list on hunger, please visit 
    Project Bread’s HungerCurriculum

    Margaret previously worked at Project Bread--The Walk for Hunger for eleven years.     


  • Sunday, February 22, 2015 1:41 PM | Deleted user

    Googling Dr. Seuss’s birthday can be a bit overwhelming—there are hundreds of sites and pinterest ideas out there.  To make it a little easier, here’s a round-up of some of our favorite Seuss ideas:


    1. Gather up all your Seuss books and make a plan for reading them aloud.  Since they tend to be tongue twisters, it might be easier to spread them out over the course of a day or week!
    2. Our local library offers many more Seuss books and you can reserve yours by checking with your local children’s librarian.
    1. Make your own Cat in the Hat.  
    2. One Fish Two Fish hand tracing.  
    3. Crafty Green Eggs and Ham.
    Games and activities:
    1. The official Seuss birthday party site.  
    2. All activities Seussical.  
    3. Mazes, counting, and coloring pages.  
    4. I Can Do That card game.
    5. What’s in the Cat’s Hat game.
    1. Cat in the Hat Pancakes two ways.
    2. Green Eggs and Ham.
    3. Red Fish Blue Fish Jello.
    4. Cat in the Hat kabobs, either fruit or veggie
    And when all else fails and I need a break, we’ll pop on some of The Cat in the Hat from PBS!

  • Wednesday, February 18, 2015 3:29 PM | Deleted user

    You can still join in the Hot PoT Mama Challenge!  Please email Sandra at sandrolina@hotmail.com if you have questions or are interested in joining in!  

    It might be hard to picture it now in the midst of the snow storm, but sun dress and bikini season will roll in soon an we want to be ready for it, right! Whether you would like to shed those extra holiday pounds or simply get your body into shape – join us for the HotPot Mama Challenge!

    Here's the main idea: each of us will set her own weight loss goal and plan, and for the next 4 months we will encourage and support each other in reaching these goals, our success the only possible outcome. We'll celebrate our success (the only possible outcome!) by a shopping outing in May – we'll need something smoking hot for our new slim and firm bodies :-)

  • Friday, October 03, 2014 10:19 PM | Deleted user

    I am Kristen Herlihy, and I live in Woburn.  I am a clinical social worker providing therapy to children & families, plus the owner & instructor for Baby Boot Camp ® Woburn/Winchester and mom to my 3 year old, Connor, and newborn, Evelyn.  I look forward to sharing my ideas with you about how to balance the many demands that we as parents have in our lives.  Whether we are stay-at-home parents or full time employees outside of home, we want to do the best by our children, and that means taking care of ourselves as well.

    With so many things going on in our lives, so many appointments, play dates, obligations, I feel the need to ask – when was the last time that you actually had a good laugh?  I mean it – rolling around, doubled over, giggling until your tummy hurts kind of laugh?  Think about it…has it been a few days?  More than a month?  You cannot even remember the last time that you had a little chuckle?

    Now ask yourself this – when was the last time that you saw one of your children taking a one way trip down giggle street?  They are probably having a good laugh right now as you are reading this.  So what is it about the little ones that they can simply shake off an emotion and move on?  How is it that they have this amazing ability to just transform their feelings and be a convert to another emotion?

    I must say that I am envious of this at times.  Our children have such a flexibility with their emotional states, that if something is bothering them at this exact moment in time, don’t fret – it will pass before you even try and process it with them.  This is a strength that children have in being able to recoup and rejoin the world of happy. 

    With the number of stressors that we have in our lives, both created by us and for us, it is essential that we borrow some of this emotional flexibility from our children.  The sooner that we are able to return to a happier state, the better our bodies will feel, the calmer our minds will be, and the more in tune we will be with our children – which is where we all would rather be anyways.  So the next time you hear a little giggle coming from the other room, go ahead and join the fun.  

  • Saturday, April 26, 2014 6:28 PM | Deleted user

    by Sheri Saperstein Richberg, Certified Personal Trainer

    Getting your kids involved in the kitchen will not only bring smiles to their faces, it will bring togetherness into your home. Baking can be used as a math lesson i.e. “counting” ingredients, “sorting” colors, “identifying” food groups, all while getting your kids to taste new foods along the way. Plus, kids can learn how to measure, mix and have some decorating fun!

    This simple Clementine Cake is wholesome and delicious and a perfect dessert (or brunch treat) for the Spring season. Using fresh clementines (Halos work great!), unsalted roasted almonds, eggs and sugar, this recipe is also dairy and gluten free, not to mention moist and refreshing!

    Cake Math Fun: Sorting & Counting: Lay out different sized Mixing Spoons and Measuring Cups. Have kids sort the clementines by size and place them in a row, beginning with the largest and ending at the smallest. Count them, take one away and count again, focusing on adding and subtracting. Fill each measuring cup or spoon with almonds and clementine segments the kids can taste. See how many of each you can fit into each size cup, using estimation guesses and real time results!

    Clementine Cake Recipe

    4 to 5 clementines
    6 eggs
    1.5 cups sugar
    2 +1/3 cups ground almonds (I did this in the Cuisinart processor with blade attachment)
    1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

    Put the clementines in a pot with cold water and cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, finely chop in the processor or blender. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. By hand, beat the eggs, add the sugar, almonds & baking powder. Mix well, then fold in the chopped clementines.

    Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil after about 30-40 minutes to stop the top from burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Add a glaze made of confectioners' sugar mixed to a smooth paste with lemon juice. Drizzle onto the cake or spoon the glaze into a Ziploc bag and let the kids help decorate by piping.

    This cake is best eaten the next day after the flavors have a chance to meld – it is super moist and delicious! We made it for Passover and it was so yummy I had to make another one right away to give as an Easter gift! You can feel good about the nutritious ingredients in this cake and your kids will have fun helping you make it. Everyone will enjoy eating it for sure!

  • Friday, March 28, 2014 5:16 PM | Deleted user

    Hope you are enjoying the spring weather that finally arrived. Here are some fun spring stories and activities to do with your children!

    Planting a Rainbow
    by Lois Ehlert
    Bold and exuberant pictures show the planting of a family garden. Bulbs, seeds, and seedlings grow into a brilliant rainbow of colorful flowers that are picked and carried home. And next year, a rainbow can grow all over again!

    Activity:  Make your own edible Planting a Rainbow.  Click here for instructions.

    Runaway Bunny 
    by Margaret Wise Brown
    A little bunny keeps running away from his mother in an imaginative and imaginary game of verbal hide-and-seek; children will be profoundly comforted by this lovingly steadfast mother who finds her child every time. The Runaway Bunny, first published in 1942 and never out of print, has indeed become a classic. Generations of readers have fallen in love with the gentle magic of its reassuring words and loving pictures.

    Activity:  Make an Easter Bunny with your child's handprints. Click here for instructions.

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    by Beatrix Potter
    This story follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor.

    Activity:  Make your own Peter Rabbit Puppets.  Click here for instructions.

    The Curious Garden
    by Peter Brown
    Brown presents an enchanting tale with environmental themes and breathtaking illustrations that become more vibrant as the garden blooms. Red-headed Liam can also be spotted on every page, adding a seek-and-find element to this picture book.

    Activity:  Make your own little grass house.  Click here for instructions.

    Enjoy the warm weather and snuggle up with a book!  Here are some other springtime book titles. Check out your local library for even more spring books.

    Easter Egg by Jan Brett
    Let it Rain! by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
    Mouse’s First Spring by Laura Thompson
    And Then it’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
    Jo MacDonald had a Garden by Mary Quattlebaum


  • Friday, March 28, 2014 1:23 PM | Deleted user
    Looking for fun places to visit at an affordable cost? Support Parents of Tots and purchase a Fun Pass Today!

    The Fun Pass, offered by Breathe New Hampshire, is a coupon book worth over $1,500 in discounts at over 100 popular attractions in New England.

    The coupon book cost $32 and Parents of Tots will receive $8 for every book sold. In most cases, a child 12 and under gets in free when accompanied by a paying adult. Proceeds from the Fun Pass support school based tobacco prevention and asthma education programs offered by Breathe New Hampshire.

    Examples of coupons include:
    Story Land (save $29.99)
    Canobie Lake Park (save $22)
    Kahuna Laguna Water park ($40.00)
    Whale’s Tale Water Park (save $16)
    York’s Wild Kingdom (save $14.75)

    ...and many other local attractions close to home! For a complete listing of attractions visit www.breathenh.org.

    Order by Friday April 4th and Fun Passes should arrive by April 11th.
    Please email potfieldtrips@yahoo.com if you would like to order a Fun Pass Book.

    Don’t miss out on this opportunity to save money while enjoying some fun places with your family! Purchase your coupon book today!
  • Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:11 PM | Deleted user
    by Sheri Saperstein Richberg, Certified Personal Trainer, Body by Baby Fitness

    Chances are, you’ve heard of the kids feature “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” In the film’s sequel, the main character has to battle with delicious but deadly “food-animal” hybrids, such as the ferocious “taco-diles,” slithering “apple pie-thons,” and vine-swinging “shrimp-anzees.”

    With a little creativity and a pound of lean ground protein, you and your own little animals can create fun and tasty meatball “monster-pieces” that are not only healthy and delicious, but can also be a marvelous (not to mention mushy & messy) way to create a conversation-worthy family meal!

    Meatballs are a great source of protein for kids to build muscular strength, and this recipe is chock full of veggies too so you can feel good about preparing it for your family. You can roll the meatballs into bite-sized pieces, strike each with a Ninjago spear (aka toothpick), or make gigantic meatball boulders from outer space to heap on top of a steaming volcano (aka spaghetti topped with marinara sauce.)

    Here are a few of the ferocious forest creatures that we came up with using steamed baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, red peppers, steamed broccoli for trees, mushrooms for rocks and baby spinach for leaves. We even made a meatball slider and squashed it between two monster-sized mushroom caps!

    Simple Meatball Recipe You can use lean ground beef, turkey or chicken or you can use store bought, ready-made meatballs, which come in a variety of flavors to please kids’ palates!

    This recipe is GLUTEN FREE, but you can add ½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to the mixture for extra texture.

    1 lb ground meat
    1 small zucchini - grated
    1 carrot - grated
    1 Tb Olive Oil
    2 Tb parsley
    ½ tsp garlic salt or sea salt
    ½ tsp pepper (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Form into 12 meatballs or as many as you choose given your sizes, flattening on bottom a bit. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown and cooked throughout (you may need to cook larger meatballs longer.) Once cool enough to touch, create your monster-pieces!

    Use your imagination for healthy monster and animal add-ons like: crispy chow mein noodle arms and legs, sliced olives eyes, chopped peppers for freckles, shredded cheese for hair, guacamole, wrap it up in a “baby diaper” tortilla or place 2-3 meatballs a lollipop stick for monster meatball pops!

    Have Fun and Enjoy!
  • Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    I am Kristen Herlihy, and I live in Woburn.  I am a clinical social worker providing therapy to children & families, plus the owner & instructor for Baby Boot Camp ® Woburn/Winchester and mom to my 2 year old toddler, Connor.  I look forward to sharing my ideas with you about how to balance the many demands that we as parents have in our lives.  Whether we are stay-at-home parents or full time employees outside of home, we want to do the best by our children, and that means taking care of ourselves as well.

    If you are feeling the way that I do, you are so ready for winter to take a one way ticket out of town.  From snowstorms to shoveling to yet another school cancellation, we are all about to break.  Since we all know that Mother Nature is in control of the weather zone without any input from parents of small children, what can we do to make it through until spring?  The nice weather is coming, but how can we survive until then?

    Motivation is such a challenge at this time of year.  From one snowstorm to the next, we can all feel our energy being sapped away.  But with little children at home, we have to stay creative in order to make it into the warmer days of spring.  Do you have a few friends who are in the same boat as you?  Then create a short term play group, where each hosting parent can create an idea for each meeting.  Maybe one of your friends is the arts & crafts mom, so she’ll plan a way to recycle toilet paper rolls into the next great art project.  Perhaps one of your mommy friends has an appreciation for music, and can teach the children a new song.  Whatever the activity may be, go ahead and reach out to your friends for a creative outlet in these next few weeks.

    If the weather outside is frightful, then dress those kiddos up and head outdoors!  If you’re like me, you want to get every dollar’s worth out of those snow boots, snow pants and thick winter coats.  Make that final snowman of the year or get ready for another snow angel, but enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.  Get active and pull those kiddos along in their sleds.  It’s a great way to get in some cardio while giving the little ones their fun too.  Remind yourself that during those dog days of summer, you will long for cooler temps.  (Yes, you will, it’s true!)

    Lastly, ask around to find those little gems of indoor play spaces that we’ve all been hiding out at over the past few months.  Whether your child wants to run, jump or just play, network with your mom friends or join a POT play time.  There are plenty of moms out there who are looking for that connection in the dull weather, so now is the time to make early spring/summer friends.

    Stay positive, keep motivated and remember that the weather will change…eventually!

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