Excerpted from The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders by Susan Magsamen. Copyright © 2010 by Susan Magsamen. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic Children's Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Q&A with Susan H. Magsamen about The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders
-How can families use this book to grow closer?
Every page is filled with ideas to inspire and engage families. From making funny faces to bedtime stories, from catching fireflies to kitchen concoctions, Childhood Wonders is an endless resource for busy families. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours, this book has a special way of making the most of any moment.
-Why did you think it was important to write a book like The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders?
We live in such a busy and challenging world. As parents we want so much for our children and sometimes we over plan and over schedule. I wanted to create a book that was timeless. Literally, that when you looked at a picture, read a poem or sang a song you lost track of time. That the activities filled the air with endless curiosity and discovery where you forgot to watch the time. And in the end, that the time we have with our children and the time they have with us provides fun, playful experiences that last a lifetime. I really believe that how we play is who we become. This book is the combination of so many family stories, favorite activities, literature and more. Also, everything in this book is free. All you need is to add yourself. In these times, I wanted to create something that was an instant classic and a timeless resource. Finally, I was very interested in making the science of play visible in very simple ways for families. The 6Cs are a great way to help families understand the learning behind play.
-Why is it important to share songs, stories, nursery rhymes with your children?
As we all know, reading to and with your child significantly enhances their learning. There is interesting research that shows the number and tone of words spoken to a child not only influencing literacy but also in social and emotional development and memory. Our favorite songs, stories and nursery rhymes help a child develop their own special cultural history. They intertwine with all of the experiences we give provide to create a rich environment to grow. Through our auditory senses music reaches deep to help create lasting memories. Stories and poetry are filled with symbols and metaphors to make connections. And we can revisit these meaningful words again and again.
-What really amazed you as a child?
Everything amazed me and it still does. I am a very curious person. I loved to wonder in woods behind our house. I would pretend I was an explorer. I loved riding horses and going as fast as I could up a hill on my pony named Sonny. I loved the smell of my mothers chocolate chip cookies. My grandmother told stories about growing up on the Eastern Shore. She was mesmerizing as she talked about strawberry picking. And I was always amazed by shooting stars.
-What are two or three of your very favorite activities both now and as a child?
Catching fireflies, day dreaming, climbing trees.
-What is your best advice to parents with small children?
If you take care of the moments the years will take care of themselves