A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a review of Jessica Purdy's new book, Conscious Kids, at Progressive Pioneer. I have to admit that the main reason I was drawn to the book was the title. After blogging as The Conscious Shopper for almost a year and a half, I feel an irrational ownership of the word conscious, so when I see someone else use it - especially in the title of their book - my first thought is, "Are they doing justice to my word?"
I'm happy to report that Jessica's use of conscious was just right. She begins the book by defining a "conscious kid" as one who is aware, compassionate, kind, generous, and proactive. From there, she has tons of ideas for fostering those traits in your kids, from holiday and birthday celebrations to community and environmental involvement.
For example, here are Jessica's ideas for making Easter less focused on candy and Easter eggs and more focused on compassion and generosity:
Save the Whales:It's obvious that Jessica has a background in education. Many of her ideas include the purpose of each activity along with step by step instructions for carrying it out. For all of you educators, you could easily translate many of Jessica's ideas into lesson plans to use in your classroom, such as the following activity from the chapter on media:
I make the connection to animals for two reasons: one, spring is all about baby animals, and two, the Easter Bunny. You can sponsor an animal through the World Wildlife Fund and give that as an Easter present or have your child choose an animal that he or she would like to sponsor.
You can have the Easter Bunny bring more than chocolate and gifts. What if the Easter Bunny brought a big, beautifully decorated jar of change, one that you had secretly been collecting and saving up over the course of the year? Have your children decide what charity or cause that jar of change should go to. It may be the same each year or something current that has touched the family in some way. Santa and the Easter Bunny are wonderful characters that can be whatever your family wants them to be, so why not have the Easter Bunny bring change?
Guess Who?My only criticism of this book is its length - only 118 pages. Luckily, Jessica has caught the blogging bug: you can find more of her ideas at Conscious Kids.
Purpose: To highlight important people in the world and learn more about them.
Step 1: Write the names of people with some positive historical or social importance on cards, as well as some key information about that person. Some suggestions: Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Terry Fox, and Stephen Lewis.
Step 2: Give everyone a card and some time to read about their person. You can include some time to do a quick search on the person online if you'd like. Next, have each person take on the identity of the person on their card. They must either act out who that person is or give away important clues until someone is able to guess the identity of the person.
This is usually the point in my book reviews where I say, "Now I'm ready to pass my gently used copy of this book on to another reader." But this time, I don't want to! I plan to keep this book in my collection and reference it often for ideas on how to help my Conscious Shopper kids become conscious kids.
The contest has ended. The winners of the Conscious Kids giveaway are Jen and Lina!
Congratulations and please email your addresses to consciousshopperblog [at] gmail [dot] com.