Virtual Museum Visits Are Designed for Kids by Marilyn Ostermiller

(First in a two-part series on how to accompany the children in your life on virtual visits to a variety of museums.)

Museums can introduce children to unknown worlds, spark their imagination and provide them with valuable perspective about the world in which they live.

Museum exhibits are typically so diverse that kids always can skitter around and find something that grabs their attention.

Now, more than ever, the world’s finest museums are accessible digitally. The following are among several international museums that offer free virtual exhibits, tours and dramatizations children can enjoy at home.

The Louvre, Paris:

The children’s section of this website offers several videos, in English, or in French with English subtitles, of stories related to the museum exhibits, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa and a priceless diamond. The story of Little Red Riding Hood features a painting of the girl and the wolf from the museum’s collection. An actress dramatizes the story, which has a surprising ending!


Photo from the Louvre of Little Red Riding Hood, painted by Fleury Francois Richard, (1777 – 1852)

British Museum, London:

The treasures in this museum’s collection range from a clay tablet from Babylon during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar to a miniature solid gold llama figurine that was buried with a king. The free learning resources online range from how Egyptian mummies were made to what Romans ate and drank in ancient times.

You can visit the British Museum’s blog for more information:

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam:

Children will become acquainted with Vincent van Gogh through kid-friendly videos. For six to nine-year-olds, a video introduces the artist as an unassuming young man who loved to paint, shows what he painted, how he did it and where he did it. For nine to fourteen-year-olds, videos tell of a misunderstood, determined man who wouldn’t give up. It’s a story about needing to do what you’re good at. For youngsters who want to immerse themselves in the artist, there are drawings to print and color, crafts, games and books. It’s all in English so it’s easily accessible.

van gogh doll

Books about the works of art, ancient animals, and fossils can compliment the virtual museum tours. Among the options:

13 Artists Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel.

This picture book, suitable for children from eight to 12 years old, features works by some of the world’s greatest painters, including Leonardo de Vinci, Vermeer and Matisse.

13 artists bookcover

Fossils for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to Dinosaur Bones, Ancient Animals and Prehistoric Life on Earth, by Ashley Hall. From interesting facts about such prehistoric dinosaurs as Velociraptor to Tyrannosaurus rex, the book explains how fossils form, where they are found and how to identify them. Reading age: 6 to 8 years. 

fossil cover

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who seeks out family-friendly activities.


Halloween Crafts For All Ages.

Several years ago I came upon a wonderful site that teaches craft-lovers of all ages how to make some amazing things. RED TED Art hosted by MAGGY, makes crafts using household objects, paper, yarn, origami, crayons, clay, and more. Here are some great links for Halloween Crafts for kids of all ages.

Halloween crafts for kids

Halloween Activities for Families

If you’re still hesitant about letting your kids go out trick-or-treating this season, they can still have a blast and get into the spirit of the season by making some of these kid-friendly crafts.

Happy Halloween!

2021 Collingswood Book Festival…An Outdoor Celebration of Books.

On Saturday, October 2, 2021, I had the pleasure of participating in the 17th Collingswood Book Festival. Because of Covid and everything being virtual last year, it felt especially grand to be outdoors sharing books face-to-face with people who love them. And, it was great reuniting with fellow KidLit Authors. Here are some photos of the day’s events.

coll5YA Authors Marie Andreau and Yvonne Ventresca.


Sharing a table with fellow author Charlotte Bennardo.

coll1Picture book author Robin Newman (below)






Author Nancy Viau (right) and



Author/Illustrator Mike Ciccotello (below)





Some other KidLit Authors Club authors who attended but I never got photos of: Colleen Kosinski, Rachelle Burke, Annette Whipple, David Neilsen. I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did.

It was a sunshine-filled afternoon and a great opportunity to reconnect with the writing community. Thank you Collingswood Festival Committee!


coll4MG and YA author Dianne Salerni

One Small Thing You Can Do For Mother Earth.

As we transition from summer into fall, many of us plant bulbs, flowers, and tidy up our gardens. How about adding a tree seedling as well?

Trees are the “lungs” of the planet. If we want to breathe cleaner air, reduce global warming, and decrease our carbon footprint, the easiest and one of the most planet=friendly things you can do  is PLANT TREES. If you are in an area where there is no space for trees, consider supporting organizations that plant trees around the globe.

Check out the search engine ECOSIA: 80% of their advertising revenue goes to tree planting all over the world.  They’ve already planted more than 100 Million trees worldwide. 

You can also visit: 

This organization is a major INTERNATIONAL tree planting charity that has already planted more than 19 million trees in tropical areas of the world.

Image result for Treescapes. Size: 151 x 160. Source:

Here’s an interesting statistic regarding Global Warming: If worldwide we plant 3 billion trees in areas such as open fields, backyards, schoolyards, empty lots, etc, not touching agricultural areas used for food production, we would END Global Warming.

Three Billion might seem like a lot, but that’s less than one tree per person. Every tree counts and helps make our air cleaner and our environment healthier.

Is there a place in your yard, neighborhood, community that could be home to a tree? Please share this post.

International Day of Peace: What You Can Do.

Tomorrow, September 21, 2021 is the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE. If there is one things our planet needs more of, it is peace. Setting aside a day to recognize, reflect, and honor the idea and concept of PEACE may seem futile in our violent and contentious world. But I believe that focusing on peace and recognizing ways to live a more peaceful life can have a ripple effect.

 How can we observe International Day of Peace? (ideas and suggestions are taken from the National Day Calendar website:

  1. Observe the global “Minute of Silence”

In 1984, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Pathways to Peace inaugurated the Minute of Silence. At noon in each time zone, this observance of silence creates a “Peace Wave” around the world. Individuals, organizations, communities, and nations are invited to participate in this shared and practical act of peace-building.

  1. Host a global peace feast

Bring people together with a ‘global’ potluck, encouraging your friends and neighbors to share a unique dish from various countries or cultures. Breaking bread together is one of the oldest yet most effective ways to bring peace into your life. Interfaith and intercultural discussions can make the evening even richer.

  1. Foster peace through education

Let peace begin at home with you and your family. Teach your children key concepts that promote peace such as conflict-resolution, peaceful dialogue, consensus-building, and the choice of non-violence.

5 Factors That Promote A Culture Of Peace

  1. ​Seek to understand

Around the world, we are more alike than different; seek common ground, understand and value the differences you find in the people you meet and cultures you experience different from your own.

  1. ​Promote economic and social stability

Eliminating poverty, food insecurity, and social injustice leads to a stronger culture of peace because it removes common causes of unrest and violence.

  1. ​Respect all human rights

​At the core of peaceful relations is the belief that all humans are valuable – no one group being better than another; see how you can contribute to this understanding in your sphere of influence.

  1. ​Advocate for equality

Support the advancement of women in society through political and economic initiatives; actively oppose violence against women and girls in your community and promote the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.

  1. Choose democratic principles

​Encourage the democratic participation of all peoples in your community so that every voice is heard in civic decision-making and corruption in political leadership and operations is eliminated.

 DID YOU KNOW?   The first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1901 “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.




Perfect Pairing:Ice Cream and Summer by Marilyn Ostermiller

Want a good reason to indulge in ice cream? Here it is: Today, August 19 is Soft Ice Cream Day.  1 Vanilla

Soft and hard ice cream are made with the same ingredients, but soft ice cream has less milk fat and more air, making it more delicate and smoother.

Ice cream magnate Tom Carvel discovered soft ice cream by accident. Carvel was driving his ice cream truck on Memorial Day weekend in 1934, when a flat tire stranded him by the side of a road. He knew his product — and profits —were melting, so as vacationers drove by, he sold them the softened ice cream. They loved it.

Within two years, in the midst of the Great Depression, he had patented a super low-temperature ice cream machine, created a secret formula ice cream and opened an ice cream store on the site where his truck broke down.

Ice cream was especially popular during the Depression. Money was tight, but ice cream cones cost only a nickel.  Then, as now, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate were popular ice cream flavors.

About that time, a candy maker, Joseph Edy, and ice cream maker, William Dreyer, collaborated to add marshmallow bits and walnuts to chocolate ice cream, and named it Rocky Road, a reference to the difficult times.

Also in the 1930s in Sicily, rum-soaked raisins were added to gelato to create another enduring flavor, Rum Raisin. Gelato is similar to soft ice cream, in that it has less milk fat than traditional ice cream.     gelato

Making ice cream is a time-honored family tradition.These books offer instruction and and ideas:

The Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Book: Old-Fashioned All-American Treats for Your Ice Cream Maker, by food writer Robin Donovan. Published by RockRidge Press.

The Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Book: Old-Fashioned All-American Treats for Your Ice Cream Maker

The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated: 200 Recipes for Ice Creams, Sorbets, Gelatos, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Leibovitz. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House.  

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer. Published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing     

America’s Favorite Ice Cream Flavors

    • Vanilla
    • Chocolate
    • Cookies N’ Cream
    • Mint Chocolate Chip
    • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    • Buttered Pecan
    • Cookie Dough
    • Strawberry
    • Moose Tracks
    • Neapolitan

What is your favorite flavor?


Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who delights in cooking, baking and trying unusual flavors of ice cream.

Backyard Olympics Here We Come!

The 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan began on Friday, July 23, 2021.  I am one of those people who normally ignore sporting events and televised games during the regular season.  But there is something about the Olympics that keeps me riveted to the screen.  I think it has to do with the premise of peaceful International competition.  So many countries coming together to share their best athletes with the world. Even with Covid changing the way athletes compete, I hope there will be memorable moments for all of us to reflect on and admire.

In the spirit of friendly competition, why not enjoy some Olympic inspired activities of your own?  Got a pool?  Try some water polo or synchronized swimming.  Practice backstrokes or have raft races.  Who can get the wettest in a splashing contest?  Young children can enjoy water fun as well: Set up the sprinkler.  Or fill up buckets of water and have toddlers “paint” the driveway to their hearts content.  What is more fun than a water balloon throwing competition?

There are lots of ways to enjoy water-free Olympic events as well. 

Sack races, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, crab walk races and log rolling (using your body as the log) are guaranteed to bring on smiles and get everyone moving.  You can also set up games and events using balls, ropes, or other props.

Let you imagination go and enjoy exercising as a family by trying some “Backyard Olympics”.  For more fun ideas visit:

What are some of your favorite outdoor family activities?


Hooray! Five times we have given books and other items away to recognize this special day and we are back a sixth time to do it again!  After all, what is better for our hearts, our souls, and our spirits than to be part of giving something away.

So for anyone who hasn’t read my past posts on Darlene’s blog, Give Something Away Day is July 15th. I love a day that encourages us to give something away. After all, you can declutter, dejunk, and lighten your own load. You can also celebrate this day giving away a kindness. You can give away your time with a phone call, check-in on a neighbor, or share a lunch with a friend. How wonderful does lunch out sound after this past year of staying so secluded? Even a picnic lunch that maintains a social distance sounds delicious.

With the pandemic raging over this past year, it is important to still stay safe while also thinking of others. And sadly with this pandemic the news also shows the horrendous uptick in anti-Asian racism. That there has been so much anger, animosity, and racism is even more reason to reach out and give something away especially something heartfelt. 

After watching the Free Bystander Intervention Training by Hollaback! the amount of anti-Asian violence and harassment cannot be overlooked. I am convinced more than ever that giving away kindness is an absolute necessity. With that in mind, Darlene and I have chosen to focus our giveaway this year on books by Asian authors or author-illustrators.

Readers who leave a comment will have a chance to win one of three books. I will give away one copy of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho Illustrated by Dung Ho. It is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that lyrically celebrates a young girl discovering her own beauty. eyes that kiss in the corner_Darlene

My second giveaway is one we can all relate to—a copy of LeUyen Pham’s Outside, Inside that celebrates essential workers and a community coming together to face the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

outside inside_Darlene

Darlene’s giveaway is WISHES, a picture book by Muon Thi Van.

“This rich and nuanced tale illuminates the closely held wishes of refugees the world over. It’s unforgettable.” ― BookPage, starred review


Darlene’s review: “A beautiful story, profound in its simplicity. Seventy-five words of heart-wrenching and soul-stirring wonder. Beautifully illustrated and tenderly rendered. A book that transcends time and should be part of every child’s collection.”

       To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us about a kindness you recently gave or received. Your name will be put into a hat and three winners will be drawn at random and announced later this month on the blog. If you share this post on social media, Darlene will give you a second chance to win.

Below please find links to learn about anti-Asian Intervention Training and more by Hollaback! and the links that can always use your time or donations. 


The Innocence Project:

The Trevor Project:

The National Immigration Law Center:

The Loveland Foundation:

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum:

Embrace Race:

Books for Soldiers:

Donate Books – Find your public library:

Dress For Success:

Food Bank:

Vietnam Veterans of America:

Volunteer Match:



Kim Pfennigwerth lives in South Carolina with her husband and bouncy boxer and is a lover of books, beach walks, family, kayaking, and kindness in no particular order! She is often spotted reading piles of books while revising her own manuscripts.


Slimy Summer Fun!

What Kid doesn’t enjoy a fresh pile of slime to play in?  On days when it feels too hot to play out in sand or make mud pies, you can still give your kids a tactile experience by making your own SLIME.  There are plenty of recipes out there.  Here are two that will help you create colorful slime for indoor fun.  One glows in the dark and has glitter.

Happy Sliming!

The first one is borax, glue and chemical free:   No Borax Easy Slime Recipes - LOVE Slime? Have NO glue? NO Borax? NO Chemicals...??!! Check out these AMAZING play safe (and often "taste" safe) Slime Recipes for Kids. Explore, discover and have LOTS of sensory fun!!! The best sensory slime play activities for preschoolers and beyond. #Safeslime #noborax #slime #noglue #slimerecipes  Glitter-glow-in-the-dark slime recipe

Want Clean Beaches? How You Can Help.

Clean Beaches Week is the “Earth Day” for beaches. 

Held annually from July 1-7, it is a celebration of the clean beaches lifestyle.  Founded in 2003, the week has drawn enormous public support: over 150 coastal governors, mayors, and county commissions have now issued proclamations in support of the week.  In 2007, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions enacting the week by unanimous consent.

Beaches, provide recreation, supply us with a variety of delicious and nutritious food. They need our protection. You can celebrate CLEAN BEACHES WEEK by

Show beaches the love they deserve. beach

While you get ready for a day at the beach, here are some books to get kids excited about the day.

Beach Day cover jpeg