Unlock Fun With Escape Rooms

Posted on Monday, April 16, 2018 by Molly

mummy escape room at DBRL
DBRL employee Josh at our “Escape Room: Curse of the Mummy” program.

Your heart pounds and your palms sweat. You check the clock. Time is running out. By now, you’re wondering, “Can we solve the clues, open the locks and complete our mission on time?!” You’re “trapped” in an escape room…and having the time of your life!

If you haven’t heard of escape rooms, Wikipedia provides a pretty good definition: “…a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.” Believed to have originated in Japan, escape rooms started popping up in North America, Europe and East Asia in the 2010s. Since then, the popularity of this entertainment phenomenon has soared. According to roomescapeartist.com, in the US alone, between 2014 and 2017, the number of escape room companies grew from 22 to a staggering 1800, with many of these hosting multiple locations and multiple rooms per site.

Not surprising, the success of the escape room industry has opened the door to other escape-type experiences. So now, anyone can create an escape challenge in their home, office, school and so on.

Here are just a few of the many alternative escape rooms you might want to consider for your next family get-together, group meetup or office event.

Continue reading “Unlock Fun With Escape Rooms”

Clink, Clank, Clunk…The Playful World of Onomatopoeia

Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Molly

puppy

It’s soooo much fun to say! But what is an onomatopoeia? Well, here’s a poem with a couple of great examples:

A Dog Saw a Cat on a Lonely Roof

A dog saw a cat on a lonely roof.
He greeted her with a friendly ‘woof.’
The cat looked at him with a hopeful ‘meow.
“I’d like to come down but I don’t know how.”

~From funnyrhymes.blogspot.com

Merriam-Webster defines onomatopoeia  as “the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz, hiss).” In the poem above, “woof” and “meow” are onomatopoeias.

Books that feature onomatopoeias are not only fun to listen to but are also fun to read. Consider the classic “Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You?” by Dr. Seuss. Whether reader or listener, it’s hard not to laugh when Mr. Brown sounds off with everything from “moo moo” and “boom boom” to “sizzle sizzle” and “blurp blurp!”

At DBRL, we have a wide variety of books that feature onomatopoeias. Here are a few (from a very long list!) you can enjoy with your children.

Ready…Set…Sew!

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2018 by Molly

sewing materialsIn today’s technology-driven world, it can be easy to forget that educating our children about practical life skills is just as important as, say, instructing them on operating their smart devices. Going a step further, chances are that basic life skills kids learn today (such as how to prepare a meal, do laundry, count change and so on) will be utilized long after the latest technology is obsolete.

However, even if teaching life skills is on your radar, you many not immediately think of sewing as one of them. And yet, as with all basic skills, learning to sew helps children become more self-reliant. The act of sewing helps a child improve dexterity, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Sewing also builds self-confidence, encourages creativity and fosters a sense of accomplishment. When a child sews, they learn patience and perseverance, as well as the satisfaction of a job well done.     Continue reading “Ready…Set…Sew!”

Feelings Are Universal

Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018 by Molly

The Velveteen Rabbit book coverA passage in “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams Bianco never fails to bring tears to my eyes: “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.” Even as an adult, I relate to Skin Horse at that moment because he is experiencing human emotions.

For most of us, childhood is when we learn to master feelings and emotions. And this can be challenging to say the least. Just ask any adult who has carried a screaming child out of a store.

According to an article in Psychology Today, reading to your child is one of the best ways to help them develop their emotional skill sets. Children realize they are not alone when they see fictional characters struggle to make sense of their emotions. They learn that it’s okay to have feelings that you don’t always understand and that working through them is just a part of growing up. Continue reading “Feelings Are Universal”

Winter Rhymes for Road Trip Times!

Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2017 by Molly

Photo of snowmenWhen it comes to road trips, summer may be number one, but winter is a close second. It seems like everyone is either driving to the snow or driving away from it! But while you may be thinking, “Getting there is half the fun!” your kids may not agree. Car seats and wiggles go together about as well as fire and ice. Those initial giggles of excitement all too rapidly evaporate into, “Are we there yet?!”

While modern technology offers a plethora of entertainments, from video games to movies, there’s something to be said for “old-fashioned” options that many of us remember when we were knee-high to grasshoppers. A favorite of mine was when my mother would sing silly rhymes with us while Dad tried to navigate with little more than an atlas and a prayer.

To help make your winter journeys a bit less stressful, so everyone can truly enjoy the ride, here are a few sing-songs to add to your repertoire.

Chubby Little Snowman

The chubby little snowman had a carrot nose.
Along came a bunny and what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny looking for some lunch,
Ate the carrot nose…nibble, nibble CRUNCH!
Source: homemade-gifts-made-easy.com Continue reading “Winter Rhymes for Road Trip Times!”

Holiday Books for All!

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Molly

Girl reading a book to her teddy bear

Brrrr! Chilly temps and frozen precip are on the way! But for those of us who love to read, this is not a problem. Honestly, what could be better than a cozy chair and a good book? So, while making preparations for this time of year is a good idea – such as stocking up on woolly socks – equally important is stocking up on books!

This time of year is also the beginning of the long holiday season, so, holiday books are a real treat for young and old alike. Who doesn’t like to hear stories about family traditions, special foods and (of course!) gift-giving?

At DBRL we offer a wide assortment of wonderful holiday books to delight all ages! To start you off, here are a few suggestions that go particularly well with hot cocoa and a toasty fire. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving: November 23

Discovering Gentle Reads

Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Molly

Although there are more books available now than ever before, not all books are appropriate for all audiences. For this reason, parents and guardians can struggle with helping children make good choices in regards to selecting age-appropriate reading materials.

This is especially true when it comes to young children. For instance, some subjects can be too intense for little ones who have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary. Keeping up with precocious readers can be equally challenging. Kids reading above their level can be exposed to situations, language and content that is beyond their maturity.

At DBRL, we offer a list called “Gentle Reads: Chapter Books for Kids” that recommends great chapter books for kids that contain little to no violence, sex or strong language. The selected books also tend to be positive and have happy endings. The list includes titles from beloved classics such as “Winnie the Pooh” and “The Giving Tree” to more recent favorites, such as “Crenshaw” and “Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles.” Continue reading “Discovering Gentle Reads”

Life Lessons From Dr. Seuss

Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Molly

Image of land from Dr. Seuss books

On September 24, 1991, the world mourned the loss of beloved author, Theodore Seuss Geisel. Better known as Dr. Seuss, Geisel published more than 60 children’s books, the majority under the Dr. Seuss pseudonym (with more than a dozen as Theo LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone).

Known for his whimsical characters, Geisel’s rhyming, sing-song approach to storytelling continues to delight young and old alike. Geisel’s books are fun to read, yet the messages within the pages are equally important.

Many of Geisel’s books address common childhood issues, such as fitting in and bullying, while others deal with political and social issues, such as taking care of the environment. As Geisel’s characters work through these issues, they learn valuable life lessons.

Here is an excerpt from the book “The Sneetches: And Other Stories,” where the author teaches children about tolerance and acceptance. Continue reading “Life Lessons From Dr. Seuss”

Imaginary Friends

Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Molly

Page from "The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend"

Elwood P. Dowd has Harvey, Calvin has Hobbes and Big Bird has Mr. Snuffleupagus. Imaginary Friends! They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and even species. Although not all children develop these special invisible relationships, imaginary friends are a normal part of the childhood experience. According to a 2004 study, by age seven, 65 percent of children have had an imaginary companion.

Yet, parents and guardians are often concerned when they find out their child talks to and/or interacts with an pretend friend. Questions arise, such as, “What is wrong with my child?” or “Why can’t they make real friends?”

However, these make-believe relationships are often beneficial. According to psychologist Tracy Gleason, professor of psychology at Wellesley College, having imaginary friends help children develop a “Theory of Mind” or ToM. Dictionary.com defines ToM as “the ability to interpret one’s own and others people’s mental and emotional states, understanding that each person has unique motives, perspectives, etc.” Equally important, interacting with an imaginary friend helps a child develop their imagination, practice their social skills and overcome shyness. Continue reading “Imaginary Friends”

Bugs Love Summer, Too!

Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 by Molly

Photograph of a beeWarm days and cool nights make summer the perfect time to play outside, but not just for us! Take bugs, for instance. They love summer too. For this reason, you will see them everywhere this time of year.

But what is a “bug?” Merriam Webster defines a bug as “an insect or other creeping or crawling small invertebrate.” ASU (Arizona State University) School of Life Sciences expands this definition a bit further: bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. “The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs suck. That’s right, the true bugs have specialized mouth parts used to suck juices. Mostly they suck fluids from plants, but there are some true bugs, like bed bugs, that feed on animals.” Continue reading “Bugs Love Summer, Too!”