How to Decorate a Safari-Themed Nursery

Cultivate a love of creatures early on in your little ones from the comfort of your own home. Create a safari-themed nursery with all the amazing animals that call East Africa home and each day can be a new adventure in learning and exploration!

Decorating Tips

  • Start with your background: paint the walls a color inspired by the picturesque African landscape, such as beige or light green
  • Add a welcoming feel to the room with natural wood furnishings, including crib, dresser and rocking chair
  • Layer with furnishings with textured accents such as bamboo shades and wicker hampers
  • Bring the whole room to life with vibrant accessories such as Baby Ventures’ Safari Party canvas art, linens, books and toys featuring their favorite East African animals

Want more inspiration? Check out Baby Ventures’ safari theme Pinterst board for more of our artwork as well as our favorite products, including wicker elephant-shaped hampers, zebra rockers and cute-as-can-be clothes hooks.

And don’t forget the best part: with the nursery décor in place, baby’s learning adventures can begin! Use the new safari nursery as a virtual sensory exploration by identifying shapes, colors and animals with your little ones and cultivate an early appreciation for these wonderful creatures.

Happy safari adventures!

*Did you know that some of the most beloved East African animals endangered or vulnerable? Visit the African Wildlife Foundation website to learn more about the animals and how to help ensure they survive for future generations.

Guest Interview Part II: Mary Grace Otis, Host of The Global Mom Show

In this week’s blog, we continue our conversation with Mary Grace Otis, Host of The Global Mom Show! The Global Mom Show is a weekly podcast that connects moms around the world who want to live globally-minded lives and teach their kids to do the same. Below is Part II of our interview with Mary Grace where she discusses the importance of multicultural children’s books, and how parents can inspire an expanded worldview in their children early on.

Baby Ventures’ books seek to inspire young children to explore our diverse world. What role do you feel diversity-inspired children’s books play in raising globally-minded children?

In our home, books take center stage for all we do. I’m currently homeschooling my first-grader and preschooler, and read-a-louds are the core of our curriculum. In my opinion books are the gateway to the world. They can capture the imagination and teach lessons without being preachy. I know how much I’ve learned through stories, and I want my kids to have access to all types of stories too, so that they become engaged at an early age with the reality that everyone has multiple stories to share and all of them are worth hearing.

Diversity-inspired books play a critical role in developing the type of empathy and open-mindedness necessary for children to become globally-minded. In many cases books may be the only opportunity that children have to interact with another culture, so creating good diverse books—and many of them—is, I believe, a wonderfully important task.

As a global mom, what more would you like to see in books that present elements of diversity and multiculturalism to young children?

Well, first of all, I know there are so many more diverse and multicultural books out there than we’ve been able to read. It’s actually really exciting for me, because I look forward to learning with my kids about other cultures, people, and places. Although I love the books that delve into historical events and cultural events, I also would just love some fun books for my boys that happen to have diverse characters.

For example, my boys are currently into the Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary. Now if I could find a Henry Huggins with multicultural characters, that would be great. A lot of the multicultural books I find seem to deal with some difficult subjects, and while I think that is so important, I also just want my boys to have engaging stories that include characters that happen to be diverse. As a white mom raising kids who have an Asian-American heritage, I would also love to see more books with multicultural families of all types and combinations.

“I think one of the most ‘enriching realizations’ for me is…that everyone has a unique story that’s worth listening to and sharing.” – Mary Grace Otis

What are some of the most enriching realizations you have had during your podcast interviews?

One of things I love about talking with other global moms is that I get to go deep quickly and ask about the things that otherwise might take months or years to uncover through natural conversation. As I’ve done so, I’ve realized how important it is to be intentional in our own relationships with one another as moms.

This whole global journey is not just about or for our kids, but it overflows from our own lives. And if we want to be inspired to teach our kids to become globally-minded, we have to be connected ourselves. It has been absolutely enriching to my own life to enter in to conversations with women doing amazing things around the world in the areas of diversity, training, writing, blogging, homeschooling, and parenting. I think one of the most “enriching realizations” for me is just the continued realization that everyone has a unique story that’s worth listening to and sharing.

Subscribe to The Global Mom Show podcast to join the conversation and connect with moms around the world who share a global worldview.

____________________________________________________________

Mary Grace Otis is the host of The Global Mom Show podcast, a wife, a mom of three boys, a former expat and development worker, and a freelance writer for nonprofits and businesses. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Grab a copy of her free PDF guide 10 Ways to Create a Global Home—No Matter Where You Live, or join her private Facebook Community, The Global Moms Network, to connect with like-minded mamas.

Guest Interview: Mary Grace Otis, Host of The Global Mom Show

At Baby Ventures, we encourage children early on to explore all the places, cultures and creatures of our diverse, wonder-filled world. How can parents foster a globally-minded worldview from a young age? We asked Mary Grace Otishost of The Global Mom Show! The Global Mom Show is a weekly podcast that connects moms around the world who want to live globally-minded lives and teach their kids to do the same. Below is Part I of our interview with Mary Grace.

In your experience, how can travel – to new locales in particular – expand a child’s worldview in his/her early years? How would you characterize the long-term benefits of fostering such a worldview?

When I was a child, we never traveled internationally, but we were always on some sort of road trip or field trip to a nearby historical site or a state park half-way across the country. These trips, however long or short, prepared me to be curious, flexible, and optimistic about travel experiences as a child. When I was old enough to travel on my own, it was only natural for me to push the boundaries and explore overseas.

I think international travel is an amazing way to expose kids to other cultures. Of course, it’s incredible. But, if you can’t afford it, if you can’t get time off work, if you can’t seem to make that happen in your current situation, that’s okay. Travel can be as simple as a camping trip or a visit to a nearby metropolitan area. Wherever you go that’s outside of your own usual circle will expose your children to new experiences, let them see people who may look or act differently from them, give them an opportunity to see various landscapes, and teach them how to accept change to their usual schedules and norms.  In my experience, those things set the foundation for more extensive travel later on.  Even trips through an airport or to a multicultural festival where children have opportunities to see diversity firsthand, listen to multicultural music, or taste unusual-to-them foods can have a huge impact on small children and will give you, as a parent, an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary and concepts to a young child.

In my own children, I’ve seen that even the littlest bit of travel during the preschool ages can have a big impact in expanding a child’s worldview. The long-term benefits are the realizations that come with understanding that life doesn’t center around you or your town, but that life is varied, multifaceted, beautiful, and worth exploration.

If travel is not often possible, in what other ways can parents help broaden their children’s understanding of and appreciation for other people, places, and cultures? 

There are several entry points to other cultures that are within reach for most parents.  Some of the easiest ways to broaden children’s worldviews are through books, music, food, and friendships. We’re really just starting this journey in my own home with my boys, and I am always on the lookout for new resources to bring into the home that will allow us to explore other cultures. I usually start at the library, checking out all the multicultural books I can find!

I’ve written a short list of 10 Simple Ways to Create a Global Home—No Matter Where You Live, and in it I give descriptions of some of the things parents can do to incorporate an appreciation of other cultures into their home life. Simple, practical things like putting up a map in the dining room so that you can reference it whenever you hear about or read about another country; listening to podcasts about diversity and global issues that keep you inspired to pass on these values to your kids; teaching your kids another language so that they expand their understanding of culture; internationalizing your media so that you are getting music and videos from around the world as well. Those are a few simple things that make global living accessible to anyone.

How have you incorporated globally-minded living into your family’s daily life? What key tenets of globally-minded living can you share that we could all put into practice?

To me, globally-minded living is something I haven’t mastered, but something I strive to incorporate into our family life.

I believe it starts with the parents. If you want your kids to grow up excited and eager to engage with the world, then you have to also be excited about learning and engaging with the world. For me, that started with a simple framework of “looking up, looking out, and looking all around,” that I later decided is critical to becoming a global mom. The first few years of motherhood, or parenting in general, can be so all consuming, that you can feel very isolated. It can feel like the only thing you think about is just keeping everyone fed and diapered—and hopefully getting a little bit of sleep along the way. But, I actually find that when I look only at my circumstances and what I have to get done in a day or what is going on with the kids right at that moment, I can become discouraged and discontented. When I start looking up from my own mess and looking out into the world again, I’m reminded of the beauty both within my own home and family, and beyond it. Things like having beds made and cooking awesome meals seem to become less crucial, and I can focus on connecting with the world around me and teaching my children to do the same.

As far as the key tenets of globally-minded living, well, there are just so many! Believing that all people have worth and value and that all cultures have something to teach us is a start.

My framework of “looking up, looking out, and looking all around” is how I encourage moms to take practical steps to become more globally-minded. This is how I explain it:

Look up. This basically means getting out of your own way, so that you are not so self focused. It’s the simple act of looking up from your own circumstances to recognize the stories of people around you. With kids, it can be simple steps like teaching them to stop complaining because they wanted a different kind of cereal for breakfast, and reminding them how blessed they are to even have food. It starts with a sense of gratitude for our own lives and circumstances and then we have the mindset to look up and start seeing what’s around us.

Look out. Now that you are not so self focused, take some time to look out. Outside your window, outside your neighborhood, outside your city. What do you see? This could literally mean taking a walk to a new neighborhood, or taking a bus-ride across town. It basically means observing how people from other cultures and communities live, and teaching your children to look as well—not judge, but just observe. This is where we start to build compassion, empathy, and open-mindedness in ourselves and in our children—traits that are important for developing global citizens.

Look all around. This third step entails really making an effort to explore—through books, music, cuisine, language, travel, art—as many different cultures as you can. This is where we take learning as a life-long goal and understanding and building bridges between cultures as our mission.

All of this is part of what I call living with the world in mind, which basically means thinking of others as you go about your day. Living with the world in mind involves understanding how our own decisions affect others worldwide. It involves looking into how we spend our money and our time, evaluating how we educate our children, considering which charities we choose to support, and so much more. It can really impact all areas of one’s life.

Stay tuned for Part II of our interview with Mary Grace as we discuss the importance of multicultural books, coming soon!

____________________________________

Mary Grace Otis is a wife, a mom of three boys, a former expat and development worker, and a freelance writer for nonprofits and businesses. You can find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Grab a copy of her free PDF guide 10 Ways to Create a Global Home—No Matter Where You Live, or join her private Facebook Community, The Global Moms Network, to connect with like-minded mamas. 

“C” is for Cherry Blossoms!

No ABCs of Washington, DC book would be complete without a colorful ode to DC’s iconic spring blooms: cherry blossoms!

Even before writing and illustrating the ABCs of Washington, DC board book, Baby Ventures authors and illustrator Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash knew the letter C would represent cherry blossoms – those gorgeous, ephemeral blooms that bring our nation’s capital to life each spring and most famously, line the banks of the Tidal Basin overlooking the Jefferson Memorial.

The aesthetic beauty of the cherry blossoms is undisputed. For Baby Ventures – a children’s book company – so is the beauty of what these blossoms stand for:

  • Kindness and Friendship: The cherry blossoms were a gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC in 1912. This gift marked the beginning of a lasting friendship between the US and Japan.
  • Welcoming and Inclusive Spirit: Every year, over a million tourists flock to the Washington, DC area to experience the cherry blossoms first-hand. Our city welcomes them with a vibrant, internationally-inspired National Cherry Blossom Festival for all ages to enjoy (for emphasis on enjoyment, check out these insider planning tips from KidFriendly DC).
  • New Season, New Adventures: The cherry blossoms are one of the first to bloom around DC. They usher in the spring and all of the wonder-filled adventures awaiting little ones around DC (boat tours on the Potomac, stroller rides through Rock Creek Park, out and about just sightseeing – check out MommyNearest DC for more!).

This year, a tardy cold snap disrupted the cherry blossoms’ peak bloom period, throwing tourists, DC families, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival into a scramble trying to reassess the viability of the blooms. Much to our relief, the National Parks Service recently reported that while the snow hurt many blossoms, those lining the Tidal Basin are still going to bloom!

More good news: if your family missed the cherry blossoms this year, don’t fret – you and your tots can experience C is for Cherry Blossoms year-round with our ABCs of Washington, DC board book! And if you’re in the greater DC area, stop by one of these one of a kind local specialty shops for your copy!

From the Baby Ventures Team in Washington, DC: Happy blooming spring adventures!

 

 

Resolution: More Adventures in 2017!

Happy New Year! As we venture into 2017, our hearts are filled with gratitude for an incredible 2016. Thanks to YOU – our inspiring followers, customers, and small business retailers for making this past year an absolutely amazing one! 

What are our resolutions for 2017? Top of the list is more adventures! At Baby Ventures, we aim to inspire little ones everywhere to seize the adventure that is CHILDHOOD! And this year, we’ll have even more exciting tips, tools and activities to help your tots discover their wonder-filled world. From adventure maps to “out of this world” exploration (hint, hint), stay tuned for more Baby Ventures!

How are you inspiring childhood adventures in your little ones? Share in the comments section below.

Here’s to many happy adventures in 2017!

Where in the World Wednesday – November Contest Winner

Our final Where in the World Wednesday contest photo shows a hilly west coast city with a famous bridge (or two). What city is it? San Francisco!

Baby Ventures co-founder Golzar Kheiltash (re)visited this beautiful city in 2008. Did you know that the city is built on more than 50 hills and that it was originally named Yerba Buena?! Read more fun facts about the city here.

And a big congratulations to our contest winner, Ryan Remley, who correctly guessed San Francisco. Ryan will be receiving a free Baby Ventures toddler tee!

We hope you enjoyed our Where in the World Wednesday 2016 contest series. Thanks so much to everyone who participated and stay tuned for more contests and giveaways in the new year!

Where in the World Wednesday – November

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, which means it’s time for Baby Ventures’ Where in the World Wednesday series! We post a pic of one of our favorite adventures on the first Wednesday of each month – correctly guess the pic’s location for the chance to win fabulous Baby Ventures products! Plus, we’ll include fun facts and activities about these amazing places to share with your adventure-loving little ones!

So where in the world this first Wednesday of November? For our last contest of the year, we’re showcasing one of our favorite US locales: In fall 2008, Baby Ventures co-founder Golzar Kheiltash (re)visited this hilly west coast city with a famous bridge (or two). What city is it? Email us the correct answer by November 16th, 2016 and you’ll be entered for the chance to win a free Baby Ventures toddler tee! Don’t miss your chance – this is our last contest for 2016!

Where in the World Wednesday: October Contest Winner

Our October Where in the World Wednesday series, highlighting Baby Ventures founders’ real life adventures in diverse locales, showed illustrator Lisa Hall in front of the stunning Taj Mahal. In what Indian city is it located? Agra!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum that took approximately 20 years to build. In 2005, Lisa visited this awe-inspiring attraction during her backpacking trip around Northern India. She reminisced, “While I had seen many photos of the Taj Mahal, what absolutely took my breath away was the intricate detail work throughout the building. Inlaid in the marble are the most beautiful patterns of colored gemstones (including jade and turquoise), unlike anything I have ever seen.” Want to learn more? Here are some facts!

And we are excited to announce our contest winner: Brad Wilson of Washington, DC correctly guessed Agra and is our lucky winner! Brad will be receiving a free copy of Baby Ventures ABCs of Washington, DC board book. Congratulations Brad!

Stay tuned for our next Where in the World Wednesday contest, coming November 2nd. This will be our final contest for 2016 so be sure to enter while you still can!

Where in the World Wednesday: October

Baby Ventures books and products are inspired by Lisa Hall and Golzar Kheiltash’s real life adventures in diverse locales. We want to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into our inspiration so we’re sharing photos of some of our favorite adventures as part of our Where in the World Wednesday series! Correctly guess the photo location for the chance to win fabulous Baby Ventures products.

So where in the world this first Wednesday of October? You may well recognize this iconic building that Lisa visited in 2005. But in what city is it located? Email us the correct answer by October 12th and you’ll be entered for the chance to win a free copy of The ABCs of Washington, DC board book!

Only two contests remain in 2016 so be sure to enter to win while you still can. Good luck!

Where in the World Wednesday: September Contest Winner

Our September Where in the World Wednesday Series, highlighting Baby Ventures founders’ real life adventures in diverse locales, was by all accounts a tough guess. Our photo showed a Western European university town (above), nestled on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers (we didn’t name the rivers as part of our clue). What city is it? It’s Tübingen, Germany!

Baby Ventures co-founder Golzar Kheiltash visited Tübingen in December 2006, after flying in to nearby Stuttgart from a business trip. In the company of welcoming Tübingen friends and natives, she spent several days exploring the natural beauty and rich history of this charming university town. Fun facts: Tübingen is located in Germany’s southwestern region of Swabia, and approximately one out of every three residents of the town is a student! Want to learn more? Here are some additional trivia and travel-inspiring photos.

Despite our stinginess with clues, we’re excited to announce a contest winner! Ms. Ghovanlou of Gaithersburg, MD correctly guessed Tübingen and is our lucky winner! She’ll be receiving one of our super cute and comfy Baby Ventures onesies as her prize – congratulations!

Stay tuned for our next Where in the World Wednesday contest (coming October 5th) and the chance to win fabulous Baby Ventures products! Bis später!