Growing up with Kidoinfo

Growing up with Kidoinfo

When Kidoinfo started, we were 6 years old. Now we’re 16. A lot has happened in that time and personally we feel we’ve changed a lot in these past ten years. But one thing has remained constant and that is the reliability of Kidoinfo, there for the best weekend picks and insights into parenting. Though we’ve long ago grown out of the site’s target age range, our mom has continued to work tirelessly to keep her website fresh and essential for parents. Her work ethic and commitment to a satisfying and sometimes untraditionally rewarding job is inspiring to us both. Talking to her about Kidoinfo’s start she told us “I started it because I personally felt a need to gather information for things to do with kids as a new parent.” She spread the word about events that were great for kids but not marketed towards them. The site grew and grew and it became “definitely bigger than what I set out to create.” She began by sharing her own articles of parenting advice but it soon became “a collection of people and contributing writers who shared their voices.” What started as her own quest to help out other parents grew to a “trusted brand within the community” outgrew the voice of one and became a deeper reflection of Providence and its families in doing so.

It’s hard for us to point out exactly how Kidoinfo impacted us because it feels like its always been there. Kidoinfo is 10 now, but it’s leaving its nest and going through a new change. We’re a lot older than the young kids we were when it began but it still feels like a part of us as it involved our family, our coming of age, and of course our mom. Looking back through the archives is like looking back on a unique kind of family album. We asked our mom how life for kids and their parents has changed in the last ten years, since Kidoinfo began. The blog began the year the iPhone was invented but before everyone had one in their pockets, along with social media accounts and iPads as toddlers’ entertainment. It started at a time when she felt “a need to meet people” in person to discuss parenting. Now, it exists in a world where parents are just as likely to be checking their phones while at the park as they are to be watching their kids. The digital world’s dominance isn’t a total downside, though. Kidoinfo was born out of this digital revolution and social media’s success has helped spread the blog to more and more parents in Providence. With her work on the website, our mom helped parents use their digital devices to make their offscreen lives with family more fun and productive.

Kidoinfo has been our mom’s job but it’s also been an adventure for all of us. We’re excited that she’s focusing on other things, even if it’s a bit bittersweet that she’ll no longer be working on the website. Still, she’s done some great work helping parents get engaged in the community and raising kids a little more easy and enjoyable. She remembers a parent telling her that when they moved to Providence, reading her website made them feel they had found a real home. The internet moves faster than a refresh button but for the last decade our mom worked hard on creating a place for families to rely on. She’s supported and inspired us the whole time. Thank you.

E & D

Family Matters: Easy Fall Craft Projects for Kids

Family Matters: Easy Fall Craft Projects for Kids

From the Kido archives…

We like to celebrate fall by making crafts that remind us of the season’s colors, shapes and textures or using natural materials found on our outdoor hikes. naturefaceMany of these projects are simple and need little advanced planning. Although I show samples of finished crafts, these activities are as much or more about the process, the outdoor adventure and collecting the materials. Plan a walk and bring a bag to hold natural items along the way. Making art with kids can lead to unexpected discoveries and detours. If you want perfection, craft your own piece alongside or after the kids are asleep.

Nature Faces (kidoinfo)
A creative way to explore nature. Grab a bag and head outside with your children. Collect natural materials from your yard, a local park or while hiking. Almost anything can be used to create faces – sticks, leaves, pine cones, rocks, acorns, seeds, flowers, etc. Kids can sort or count the items before they begin. Arrange your found objects into faces. Optional: Use chalk to outline the face first. Make your nature family then take a picture to document it.

I am inspired by other creative crafty folk. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite fall projects:

Hammered Flower and Leaf Prints
(build make craft bake)
Make botanical prints using the natural dyes in plants by gently hammering plants onto paper.
. . . . .

leaf-mobileFall Leaf Mobile (Small Wonders)
Easy to assemble mobile from sticks, leaves and string.
. . . . .

leaf-elephantFall Leaf Pictures (atelier pour enfants)
Arrange dry flat leaves into animal shapes. Mount on board or heavy art paper.
. . . . .

Autumn Maple Leaf Crowns (twig and toadstool)
Weave together leaves into a ring shape to make a crown or necklace.
. . . . .

Leaf Candle Centerpiece (better homes and garden)
Decoupage leaves onto the side of pillar candles.
. . . . .

twig_trivetTwig Trivet (TLC)
Cut collected sticks into a uniform size and mount on board.
. . . . .

Gourd Birds (maya made)
Turn your gourds into 3-dimensional animal sculptures.
. . . . .

Leaf Suncatchers (the muddy princess)
Press found leaves between two pieces of clear sticky back contact paper.
. . . . .

pressed-leaves-Pressed Leaves (martha stewart)
Carry along your own leaf press on your walk made out cardboard and bungee cord.
. . . . .

leaf-rubbingsLeaf Rubbings (simple as that)
After you flatten and dry your leaves, place leaf vein side up under a piece of paper. Place crayon it’s side and rub gently back of over the leaf and watch the leaf appear like magic!
. . . . .

Leaf Prints (skip to my lou)
Paint the back of leaves, then press (using a brayer) paint side down onto paper to create leave prints. Depending on the type of paint used, print on paper or fabric.
. . . . .



Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park 2017 Schedule

Kidoinfo Storytime + Art in the Park 2017 Schedule

Thursdays (July 13 – August 17) from 10:30am – 12:30pm in Burnside Park, Downtown Providence.

Each summer Kidoinfo teams up with Jen Smith of Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and company to bring Storytime + Art in the Park to Burnside Park. Through this program, DDPC and Kidoinfo invite local authors, storytellers and illustrators to bring their love of books and storytelling to the children of Providence. At this free event, parents and kids sit together under a tree, in front of the Banjotti Fountain, at the city’s only open air Storytime.

This year we have six different guests lined up to bring stories to life in their own unique way.

KidoInfo Storytime happens first on Thursdays from 10:30 – 11:30, followed by Art in the Park from 11:30 – 12:30. Stay for lunch from one of the food trucks, and enjoy a picnic under the tree.

Mark your calendars, here is the 2017 Storytime schedule of storytellers:

July 13
Storyteller Valerie Tutson draws her stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ever wanted to make your own Wonka bars? Me too! This week we’ll be making our own pretend chocolate bars. There may even be a few golden tickets somewhere…

July 20
Local author Kara LaReau debuted her brand new chapter book, The Infamous Ratso, at Storytime last year. This year she’ll be sharing some of her own books, and her kidlit favorites with the audience. In addition to Kara – we welcome Miss Katie for a sing-along, dance-along, musical performance! Our regulars may recognize Miss Katie from of playSCIENCE RI, but she can also be found out of a lab coat, wearing giant sunglasses, and playing a wide variety of instruments, often in the company of the Extraordinary Rendition Band. She’s traveled around RI performing and will be debuting songs from her new CD Candy Cane Glasses!
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Matilda. In the book, Matilda could make things move with her mind. Together, we can make things move with our crafty hands. Let’s make books that float!

July 27
Art in the Park cofounder author and illustrator Alison Paul joins us again this summer with local illustrator Jen Corace. Long time readers at Storytime, Jen and Alison will read a selection of their own books.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores Fantastic Mr. Fox. Oh no! Mr. Fox lost his tail escaping the mean old farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean! Can you help make him a new one? Maybe you can make it even better than his old one!

August 3
Internationally acclaimed RI Storyteller Len Cabral retells African, Cape Verdean, and Caribbean folktales as well as original stories + tales from around the world.
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores The BFG. We can collect dreams just like the BFG with our very own Dream Jars! What kind of dreams will you collect? Some dreams will be included and others you’ll have to find! Fill up your jars with dreams.

August 10
The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show kicks off Storytime and is joined by intergalactic creature troupe Big Nazo joins us. A group of visual artists, puppeteers, and musicians, Big Nazo makes their way across Kennedy Plaza and get kids singing and dancing. It’s always a fun day in the park with Big Nazo invades!
At Art in the Park The Wonky World of Roald Dahl explores James and the Giant Peach. How big would your GIANT peach be? Let’s make some peaches that are as big as our heads, or maybe even bigger!

August 17
Keith Munslow, hilarious musician, cartoonist, storyteller will once again join us in the park. Keith always has kids and parents singing, dancing and laughing.
At Art in the Park Sail Away Summer!  A super special day of activities in the park including The Wonky World of Roald Dahl Finale: Sail Away Summer! Join artist Alison Paul making ship’s captain hats with Roald Dahl storybook pages inspired by the Matilda quote: “So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

Following Storytime, local artists bring books to life at Art in the Park. Each week Ricky Katowicz or Alison Paul will bring an iconic children’s book author to life through hands on art projects. This year’s theme is: The Wonky World of Roald Dahl! Many readers will know Roald Dahl for his classic books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. With so many inspiring books to choose from, this promises to be an extra creative summer.

These events are always FREE and everyone is welcome. Let us know you’re coming on the FB events!

Follow Kidoinfo and DDPC on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay up to date on all our summer programming.

Governor Gina Raimondo shares Halloween Traditions with Kidoinfo

Governor Gina Raimondo shares Halloween Traditions with Kidoinfo

At Kidoinfo, we love to learn about and share family traditions and seasonal rituals, weaving those carried from our past with those we initiate with our own children. Today we are honored to speak with Governor Raimondo about the Halloween.

kidoinfo-governor-raimondo-family-halloweenKIDOINFO: Governor Raimondo, as October draws to its climactic close, we are wondering what Halloween traditions you enjoy celebrating with your family?

Governor Raimondo: Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and we enjoy all the traditions – costumes, candy and of course trick-or-treating. This year we’ll be handing out Milky Ways, Hershey bars and Kit Kats.

KIDOINFO: How are your kids planning to dress up this year?

Governor Raimondo: Tommy is going as James Bond; Ceci is going to be a cat.

KIDOINFO: What did you love about Halloween as a kid?

Governor Raimondo: I have really vivid Halloween memories growing up in Smithfield, of trick-or-treating with my friends for HOURS in what felt like a really big neighborhood. I’d come home with an obscene amount of candy.

KIDOINFO: Is there a memorable costume that comes to mind? How did you create it?

Governor Raimondo: When I was five or six I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, and my mother made me an awesome red cape. It was a great costume.

KIDOINFO: Finally, hungry minds want to know: what type of candy would be most likely to “disappear” first from your kids’ Halloween haul? Hypothetically speaking.

Governor Raimondo: Hypothetically speaking, Kit Kats would be the first to go.

A month full of Peace Events plus join Peace Fest RI, the global celebration of peace on September 19

A month full of Peace Events plus join Peace Fest RI, the global celebration of peace on September 19

2015 Peace Postcard final copyKidoinfo (and me personally) are pleased to promote and support such an amazing project. The Peace Flag Project invites you to join in its 12th annual celebration of the International Day of Peace. The Peace Flag Project is a pro-peace nonprofit based here in Rhode Island, its work is focused on imagining peace, understanding peace, creating peace and being peace. Ginny Fox and The Peace Flag Project team work with people (year-round) to create Peace Flags that reflect positive wishes for the world and organizes an annual celebration of the UN International Day of Peace. For more information about the UN International Day of Peace visit

Peace Fest RI

Come to Peace Fest RI, the highlight of the RI Month of Peace, and join the global celebration of peace on September 19, 2015 in Burnside Park and Kennedy Plaza, Providence from 1:00-4:30.2015 Peace Postcard final -photos

1:00-3:00 Activities for Peace

Make Peace Flags, Peace Pinwheels, Peace Cranes, Peace T-shirts, tie-dye and more. There will also be a large interactive art project with Cathren Housley, stories with Len Cabral, Rolling Puppet Machines with Dan Butterworth, food trucks (Rhode Rage, Presto Strange O, Gotta Q BBQ) and other entertainment. A number of RI’s hard-working nonprofits and community organizations will have tables to provide information and activities. The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies (URI), Center for Southeast Asians, The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, Kidoinfo, One World Un Mundo, Moms Demand Action, Mt. Hope Learning Center, Project Night Vision, Providence Books Through Bars, Providence Lady Project, RI Coalition Against Gun Violence, RI for Community and Justice, URI Master Gardeners, and more will provide information about their organization, how to be involved, and an activity for all to enjoy.

3:00-3:30 Dance in Peace

All are invited to learn, and join in, the Peace Dance. Rachel Balaban — teacher at Brown, dancer, movement specialist for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease– choreographed the Peace Dance. Her choreography has been recorded and will be on Youtube for all to learn. It will be posted on the Peace Flag Project Facebook Page.2015 Peace Postcard schedule

3:30-4:30 Walk in Peace

The Peace Walk has been the traditional ending to our Peace Day festivities for each of our Peace Day events. Led by interfaith clergy and community leaders, we walk slowly and in silence, each step a step for peace. At the end of the Walk, we close Peace Day with interfaith prayers for peace.

RI Month of Peace Special Events, September 2015

There are many other events happening during the RI Month of Peace this September:

  • Providence Community Libraries Peace Flag workshops at all of the nine libraries throughout the month of September. Check the Peace Flag Project Facebook Events for specific dates and times.
  • Peace Art Exhibit will be on display at the First Unitarian Church of Providence from 9/8-9/30. Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Gallery Opening is Friday, September 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.
  • 37th Annual Heritage Festival Peace Flag Workshop in Roger Williams National Memorial Park on 9/12 from 12-6.
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo Day of Honor Peace Flag Workshop on 9/13 from 11-4.
  • URI Kingston Celebration of UN Peace Day Peace Flag Workshop on 9/21 from 11-3.
  • Peace Film Festival at the Friends Meeting House (99 Morris Ave, Providence) on 9/26 at 1:00, 3:30 and 7:00.

“The Peace Month is about coming together in peace, to experience and celebrate peace. Creating peace is a job for us, all of us, not something we wait for someone else to do. Each of us as individuals can create more peace by how we live our lives each day. Celebrating UN Peace Day along with millions of people around the world unites us with people of all nations, background, ages, and religions. We are all one, and these peace celebrations help us to acknowledge that,” says Fox, Director and Founder of the The Peace Flag Project.

Join the Peace Flag Project for one, or all of the events, to commemorate the International Day of Peace and help create a more peaceful, just, and unified Rhode Island.

For more information please visit the Peace Flag Project Facebook Page: and Website:

How It Feels to NOT Be Sending My Baby to Kindergarten

How It Feels to NOT Be Sending My Baby to Kindergarten

By Camille Williams

cropped-img_43292The other day, I realized that if things had played out differently, I would be gearing up to send Boy 2 to kindergarten.

My boys are 9 and 5, and this will be our second year homeschooling. Last year, my little one was in a beautiful little co-op preschool, and I got my bearings homeschooling Boy 1. We had our tough days, but we love this way of learning and this lifestyle for our family. So both boys will be home this year.

We may or may not be in it for the long haul–it’s a year-by-year decision. A few times this summer, I thought about the coming year and questioned my sanity, mostly from the standpoint of having very little time to myself—I’m either at work or with my kids, for the most part. But that is the life of most mothers, in varying proportions. This year, I will make sure I have an afternoon or evening every week with childcare when I’m not working so I can put down my roles and responsibilities and have a little time to just be Camille—not the mom, the homeschool teacher, the wife, or the midwife. I am ready now to build that in to my family’s schedule without guilt, knowing that it is a necessity, not a luxury.

Once I talked myself down off the ledge of general overwhelm, I had myself a minor freak-out about how I would actually direct the education of two kids four grades apart. Last year, I had the luxury of quiet one-on-one time with Boy 1 while Boy 2 was in preschool three mornings a week. This year will bring a new period of adjustment. How will I create space for quiet focus for my 9 year old with my active 5-year-old running around all the time? How will I provide my kindergartener an enriching experience while doing “real work” with my 9 year old? How will I select enough but not too many outside classes and social activities for both boys without us running around all the time like a carload of chickens with our heads cut off?

I feel much better now. How did I get through these moments of panic and angst? I sought support from veteran homeschool moms who have been there and done that. I reminded myself that plenty of people are doing this very successfully with three and four kids or more.   I nailed down the last of my curriculum decisions, which helped me envision what our “sit down work” mornings will look like. I remembered how much I worried last year about doing enough, only to be amazed by the end of the year at what we were able to accomplish. I made the shift back to focusing on the gifts of the homeschooling lifestyle—mainly more time together, freedom and choice. Our school year is ours to create.

And then there’s the gift that underlies it all for me—the gift of following my heart and my gut as a mother instead of operating out of fear and “shoulds.”

I have no real regrets about Boy 1’s three years in traditional school. By and large, he had a good experience. I don’t second-guess my decision to homeschool and wonder “what if?” the way I know I would if neither of my kids had ever been to brick-and-mortar school. But naturally, with all the talk of “back-to-school” and Boy 2 being kindergarten age, I’m thinking back to when Boy 1 started kindergarten.

He was a young 5—barely made the age cut-off to start K, and we agonized over whether to send him or wait a year like many people are doing, especially with boys. We decided to grab the elusive spot at this particular school while we could, since everyone was telling us he was ready. Once we made that tough decision, we weren’t too worried about his adjustment to kindergarten. He had been in daycare three days a week from age two to four for 10-hour days. During his pre-K year, he was in preschool three days a week. Add to that the fact that he has an outgoing, adventurous personality, and we thought he would make a seamless transition.

Instead, he cried almost every morning for three or four weeks. When I asked him why he didn’t want to go, all he could come up with was “I just need time to do my Legos, mom.” His teacher was a 30-year veteran who was calm, kind, and reassuring. A couple of times, she left her classroom at the start of class to come out to the car and help me coax him in. She stayed in regular communication with me and kept saying some version of, “I know you’re worried, but trust me, within a month he’ll be absolutely fine.” And he was.

But before he made the transition to going in happily each morning, I thought we had made a terrible mistake, that he hadn’t been ready after all and we should have waited a year. If his teacher hadn’t been such a pro and so sure of what she was telling us, we might have pulled him and sent him the following year. We seriously considered that, but it seemed so radical in the face of the reassurance and encouragement we were receiving.

Homeschooling crossed my mind a few times. But back then, it was a cool idea for OTHER people, and not anything that I could pull off. I had a toddler and was trying to recover from a bout of depression, and it just did not feel like an option that was open to me.

So we kept him in school. I quieted my heart and my gut and stayed up in my head. I told myself every day that he would adjust and it would all be fine. And he did, and it was.

Fast-forward four years. If things had played out differently, my baby would be going to kindergarten this coming Monday. I would be having all the emotions that go along with that, telling myself it would all be OK.

Which it would be.

Instead, my baby is “going” to kindergarten at home.   Homeschooling is not the “better” choice, but it is the right choice for our family, for this year. How do I really know that? Because it’s not anything I need to convince myself to feel OK about. It feels right.

Camille Williams_IMG_4759_webToday, I am able to make decisions for my family from that place, and for that, I am grateful.

Camille Williams is a mom of two boys, wife, and midwife who loves living, working and playing in Providence. She blogs about home, family and parenting, midwifery and women’s health, homeschooling, and life in a bicultural family at Whatever the topic, her focus is making the most of the opportunities life hands us to learn how to live and love better, and connecting with others trying to do the same.

© Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama! 2015