Bring Floppy Eared Flora to Life!

Help us publish this fantastic children’s book with illustrations by award-winning Beatles artist Alan Aldridge!


Floppy-eared Flora floundered and flounced
For a rabbit was she, who’d lost all her bounce.
“Fluffle and piffle and fuddle me silly,
In a pickle I am, frick ‘n frack willy nilly.”

The author of the book, Catherine Brickman, is a mom who loves story time with her kids. She’s written a new book that will make story time fun for your little ones too.  It’s about an adorable rabbit named Floppy Eared Flora who loses her hop after her curiosity gets her into trouble.

With the help of friends she makes along her way, we learn with Flora about important life lessons and morals while we giggle at the some of these tongue tickling rhymes.

The book takes place in a wonderful world of surfing manatees and magical cats, but now we need your help to bring it to life. The book is already written, it’s ready to go, it just needs a little kickstart. Make a pledge. It’s easy, it’s fun and for every level there’s a one of kind collectible.  Thanks!   See you soon!

21st Century Kids At Play

Want to have a smarter and happier child? Is it a great tutor who surfs or an expensive private school with ponies? No. Experts say playtime makes kids smarter.

School has begun and the hazy days of summer seem to linger on.

I remember those days as a school girl. Happy to be back in school with my friends.  Happy for my new pencil packs & school supplies. Happy to find out who my new teacher was and what new cool things we might learn – like building mini totem poles or tiny canoes for social studies. But I also remember looking outside and yearning for the freedom of summer vacation. Riding my bicycle, catching frogs, falling in ponds while catching frogs…let’s face it, summertime is just plain FUN.

What’s the best for children in the 21st century? Some say it’s old fashioned play.  Playtime is just as important for children as learning ABCs. Now if you’re reading this, especially if you’re a parent or a teacher, you might think this is outrageous.

But did you know this?

Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.[1]

Dr. Clark, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University suggests that “Playing allows children to act out a new way of thinking about the real world.

Play doesn’t say there is only one way to intepret everything. You can shift meaning around — it’s a loving zebra, it’s a hurtful zebra. It can be kind of limber and ambiguous.”

How many times have you had someone tell you how to do something, leaving you feeling frustrated that you weren’t left to figure it out for yourself. And it also left you feeling small because you had to be told. Right. We’ve all had that happen. This is the world of play for children. There is no “right way” or “wrong way” — there is just play and it’s okay any way that is safe and fun. And it’s not just FUN that your child is getting out of it.

According to Dr. Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MSEd,

“Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development.[2],[3]

It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

I wrote in an earlier article about DIVERGENT thinking. That is the ability to see many outcomes for a given question. Take for example, the first math question everyone learns. What is 1 + 1? You will quickly say 2. You learned to follow the rules very well. So did I. But to a child who is given this equation without instruction, the answer might also be “11” – and your little one would be right. There are two numeral ones. But it could also be the beginning of a picket fence. Or place one digit across the other and you have a letter “t” or “T” or X marks the spot…

You see how unsupervised play can lead to a myriad of possibilities. What your child is doing while playing is what some “learning scientists” call Deep Thinking. It all sounds new and 21st century, but it’s as old and as natural as child’s play since the beginning of time.

The research on the importance of play could fill volumes, even libraries full of volumes. So why do children, especially in America, continue to lose “play” hours as the decades progress? Are we too busy to let our children play? Are schools too busy trying to keep up with rigorous testing to give kids self-directed time? The questions as to why are also numerous, but the fact remains: kids have less time to play.

Now before you check your calendar to try to “schedule in” playtime in an already jam-packed list of things to do (which is another story for another time), consider some easy things.

Let them paint “pet rocks” in the yard. Let them “read” to the dog. Let them find roly-poly bugs in the garden while you make dinner.

I hear the sound of tots on the run
Things to see, explore and do
Playtime is, for mom & dad too!”

Catherine Malcolm is the co-founder of FeeFiFoFun, an emerging children’s entertainment and publishing company. We are “Big artists for little artists” creating experiential art and content to inspire children of all ages. The award-winning team of artists, designers and writers who make up FeeFiFoFun are world renowned for their work with Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and

Teacher recommended Flutterby Butterflies
New! Make Me Music

***Kickstarter Staff Pick: Flora’s Lost Hop 
featuring legendary Beatles Illustrator, Alan Aldridge.

[1] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Convention on the Rights of the Child. General Assembly Resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. Available at:
[2] Mahoney JL, Harris AL, Eccles JS. Organized activity participation, positive youth development, and the over-scheduling hypothesis. Soc Policy Rep.2006;20 :1– 31 Medline
[3] Eccles JS, Templeton J. Extracurricular and other after-school activities for youth. Rev Educ Res.2002;26 :113– 180 CrossRef

It’s App Party-Celebrate With Us!

We had a TerrificTuesday here at FeeFiFoFun
as we celebrated TWO major events!

“Bye bye terrible twos!”
Nell turns 3.


Jumping on a bed filled with birthday balloons is a great way to start the day-especially when you’re 3!

“No more babies in the house! I’m a big girl now,” announced a gleeful toddler in the early morning sunlight.

Birthdays bring wishes
Kissed by the sun
Slide on a rainbow
Ring a big bell
Sing Happy Birthday
To little Nell!

Sources tell me that a blow-out celebration including face painting, a clown, arts and crafts and a make-your-own pizza lunch is in the works for this weekend. We’ll be sure to report back with all of the details of what is sure to be a gala event!

And the icing on the cake? The release of our
already critically praised app 
 Make Me Music

This is the second app that we’ve released and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Our first app, Flutterby Butterflies is a fun way to learn colors, letters and rhyming words and was released in June.

Both apps, as well as our website and many of our books feature artwork by legendary illustrator and “His Royal Master of Images to Their Majesties The Beatles”, Alan Aldridge. Alan is a Whitbred award winner, and he has collaborated with Andy Warhol.

In addition to Alan, we’ve also joined forces with Cirque du Soleil  composers Hugo Bombardier & Robert Meunier to create our theme song and some of the melody tracks featured on Make Me Music. We’re living up to our mantra of “experiential ART by Big Artists for little artists”!

Check out our press release for more info on Make Me Music and what we’re doing to promote music education for our little ones.

And don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday–even if it isn’t your birthday, it’s someone’s birthday and it’ll just make you and everyone around you SMILE!

The REAL Olympians

“Let the Games Begin!”  declared the Queen of England last Friday as 60,000 spectators; 15,000 volunteers; and 10,960 athletes filled Wembley stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games Opening.  It’s estimated the that 8 million tickets will be sold to spectators to watch the events live, and 4 billion viewers will watch the games on tv.  The US is fielding a team of  529 athletes-268 women and 261 men, the first time ever that the US team has more women than men.

Ye Shiwen is a 16 year old swimming phenom. Michael Phelps has made Olympic history with the most medals won – by anyone, ever.  The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won their first Gold in 16 years. Equestrian events are a favorite with the Queen’s grand-daughters.  And there’s Javelin, track & field, fencing, the decathlon…206 events in all.

But there’s not one event that recognizes the Olympics of Parenthood.

“Are those mummies and daddies?” Nell asked, as she waved to the television screen of athletes parading into the stadium.  Yes, lots of those people are mummies and daddies! On the US Olympic team alone there are 54 daddies and 13 mummies. But before I could answer, she disappeared.  Lego is, according the world of this toddler, much more interesting than the Olympics on television…as it should be.

True, being a mum or dad juggling 5 tasks at once while watching a toddler  takes a gold medal performance in gymnastics  to the next level.  Cirque du Soleil, take note.

True, parents wake up before dawn to prepare for a marathon day often following a marathon sleepless night.  And parents prepare for this not every four years, but everyday.

True, fencing is a sport that requires disciplined maneuvers, grace and lightening reflexes – but it’s no match to a parent’s super-human powers to defend or save a child in harm’s way.

A parent doesn’t question another parent’s abilities with demands for blood-doping testing.  Most parents might even concede that if a mom or dad has a great way to do something, we might all just take note.  Sure, parents are competitive.  We’re human.  Just like Darwin theorized – we compete to survive.  And surviving Parenthood is an Olympics like no other.  It does not give out medals;  it does not offer coaching to improve parenting skills; and  there isn’t a “Dream Team” of parents who have all the answers.  There is, however, one truism that shines as brightly as the torch passed from athlete to athlete: “no matter what you do (as a parent), you’ll always be wrong.”

And so, as we continue through the 26 days of great sportsmanship and world class competition, let’s pause to acknowledge the “real Olympians” – and yes, that’s you, mom & dad.

The App-Ed Revolution

Written By Catherine Malcolm

What’s the buzz in the school carpool line?

Common Core State Standards.

Yes, it’s as dry and un-appealing as it sounds, but every parent and every student in 48 states is affected by this new initiative. And while the Core Standards (CCSS) debate continues, we continue to drop to the back of the class in the global rankings.

“U.S. students, who once led the world, currently rank 21st in the world in science and 25th in math,” Newsweek reported in 2011.

The Huffington Post headline yesterday read,

“U.S. Students Still Lag Behind Foreign Peers, Schools Make Little Progress In Improving Achievement.”

CCSS is a hot topic in parenting and teaching circles. Everyone wants what’s best for their little budding brainiac. But does it work? Many, like Sir Ken Robinson (acclaimed educationalist) and most of the elite private schools in the world might disagree.

Not only is the CCSS initiative based on an old paradigm of teaching and testing; production line education at its best produces conformity. When the early educators and curriculum developers designed our current system, conformity in society was what everyone wanted. “Follow the leader!” they said, and everyone did. The handful of creative thinkers who dared to step outside of the box became pioneering entrepreneurs. And everyone else conformed, and followed. While knowing how to get along with the group is as necessary as learning one’s ABC’s, that kind of “teaching to test” fails us when we try to stand out or even stand up to the new global dynamic.

The major problem with the CCSS initiative is what it leaves out. The arts are not extra-curricular, they are essential educational experiences that nurture true visceral relationships between the student and his/her curriculum. It helps to foster divergent and critical thinking whereas CCSS promotes group-think and let’s be honest, rote memorization. It’s not dynamic and it’s not 21st century.

Schools shouldn’t be factories with children on an assembly-line toward jobs that no longer exist.  To compete in today’s society, with technology, social media and communication at it’s most powerful in the history of our world, we must create a new educational paradigm.

We need a model that embraces the arts and its ability to nurture divergent thinking. A curriculum that uses the tools that we have at our disposal, tools that the authors of our old educational system couldn’t even have imagined. We need teachers who are given the chance to nurture critical thinking and creativity, and a support system to allow those possibilities to grow.

Sir Robinson said of education, “Teachers will tell you, ‘don’t copy!’ – it’s cheating.  But when you leave school, it’s called collaboration.” Sure, some kids cheat.  So do some adults. But that’s not the discussion. Children learn from each other and even when they “borrow” another’s answer, sometimes they might just learn something.

A study published in the book Break Point & Beyond illustrates the need for change in our current educational system.  A longitudinal study tested children for “Divergent Thinking” (the ability to think critically and creatively about a problem).

The first group showed a remarkable 80% scoring at the GENIUS level. How old were they? Kindergarten level. These same children were tested 5 years later. The same children. The same test. The genius level scores dropped to 50%. Five years following…down to 15%. While the educational system cannot be laid blame for all of the decline, it certainly can’t be left outside the margins of cause and effect.

In the last 5 years, with the rise of mobile communications and “smart phones” there is a growing trend toward parents sharing “play” time with their children on apps, some of which are labeled “educational.” Even some “entertainment” apps have shown to encourage a child’s intellectual and creative growth. While apps for children, especially in the educational market is the fastest growing segment in this market, there’s a lot out there that are simply “product.”

The growth of good, high quality apps that help to support what schools are doing, and better yet, NOT doing, is small. App developers have an opportunity to really make a difference, not just in the world of mobile games, but to effect change in our fragile educational eco-system. Great developers could a “game changer.”

Great app development is expensive and labor intensive, while many apps released are either free or cost less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Which is now 10 cents more this year than last. Less than that cup of coffee. Imagine that for a moment. You’ve just experienced divergent thinking. Now imagine what a good app could do for your child…or maybe even you.

Here’s an excerpt of Sir Ken Robinson’s discussion of our current educational crisis and what he believes are key points of inquiry.

Perpetual (e)Motion

Everyday is a day of adventure. The sun is up, it’s a day for the beach, or the kite park, or visiting the turtles in the garden. Rain, rain, go away? No way.

It’s a day for my boots to splash through puddles. There’s just too much in the world to discover. How can We sit still? Yes, WE, the little ones who are now very mobile and you can’t catch us, no matter how hard you try.

Daddy says I’m like the bunny that keeps “going and going and going.”  Silly Papa. Bunnies don’t “go” they “hop and hop and hop.” Hey, what a good idea!

Let’s hop around the dinner table! Wheeeeee!

Mommy reads everything she can to figure out where my off switch is, but maybe she should read this from “What to Expect” (toddlers, 19 months)  I especially like this story, because it recommends squeezing clay and squishing paint as a good indoor exercise. Oh, the fun I have with that! PAINT e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

Sometimes when I’m out and about, the big people say things like, “hold on tight, look left and look right…” and make me really look twice when we cross the street.  I learned that if I put my other hand up high in the air, people in cars might see me better because they’re big and I’m little.  I think that works, because everyone always stops and waves. I have a friend who has a leash, just like my dog.  Her parents say it’s because it’s safer.  That’s what ABC news says too:

I don’t know about that, but if she gets to have a leash, does she also get to drink out of the  dog bowl?
Hmmm, that sounds like fun too.

I wonder where I should wipe my


What’s in a diaper? Ask Jessica Alba!

“My baby just ate a diaper. What’s inside of it and will she be ok”? This comment from none other than Jessica Alba, Hollywood star and founder of The Honest Company , although a bit unusual, really got my brain stirring. After all, do YOU know what a diaper is made of?

Eco-friendly. BPA free. Organically grown, locally sourced. Low carbon footprint. Non-GMO. PABA free. Terms like these pervade the landscape of our lives. Turn on the local news, flip through the pages of a magazine, or check out the headlines on Our world is rapidly changing. Technology and science are making astounding leaps. Every time I watch something on The Science Channel my mind boggles at what human ingenuity is creating, modifying and understanding. But we’re rapidly approaching a time (if we’re not there already) where many of these things are beyond the scope of comprehension for an everyday Average Joe like me. So what do you do with this onslaught of information?

 I’m thinking specifically about the lengths that parents go to in the interest of protecting their children. When I was little, I don’t remember there being health-food stores.  I don’t think there was a single organic item in our local grocery store. I stood next to my dad as he poured gasoline in to the lawnmower and my grandparents let me eat Count Chocula out of a neat plastic dish shaped like a bunny. I think the only time my brothers and I wore sunscreen was when we were going to spend an entire day at the pool. But I see my friends now and the expense and time that they put in to everything that comes into contact with their children and I’ve been a bit of a cynic. Does the baby really need to be bathed with $20-a-bottle body wash? Is there truly an issue with letting toddlers drink from plastic sippy cups emblazoned with Disney Princesses? Up until recently, I thought that a lot of what I was seeing was over-protective bunk. But it’s amazing how something small can change your perspective!

As one of three full-time ambassadors of our new children’s brand, I have been immersing myself into parent/child culture. I’ve found camaraderie in the ranks of mommy-bloggers. I’ve opened the pages of handfuls of parenting magazines. And recently I attended an event called Entrepreneurship for Moms. The event featured a panel of highly successful mompreneurs, sharing their experiences, expertise and advice on running their companies and at the same time maintaining healthy family lives. Inevitably the question was posed to the panel “What inspired you to start your business”? The answers were varied and interesting, but panelist Jessica Alba’s diaper question really gave me pause. If something is ingested, of course you’re going to ask if it’s poisonous. But lots of poisons are inhaled or topical. And if you can’t find out what something as common as a diaper is made out of, what else don’t we know about things we’re ingesting, inhaling or covering our skin with?

 It turns out that finding those answers is a big, daunting job. Entire blogs are devoted to single facets of this enormous question. But groups are forming devoted to informing parents and protecting children. Groups like Healthy Child Healthy World are collecting and disseminating information, lobbying for regulations, and raising awareness. It’s a noble cause and an immense challenge and they are far from knowing every answer.

So what’s a parent to do? My (untrained, unprofessional) advice would be to use your common sense! Does the insect repellent that you’re spraying on your two year old actually kill the bugs that come near or does it just smell too strongly of geranium oil for a mosquito to be interested? If you know that antibiotic over-use in illness can cause drug resistance, then does it make sense to feed antibiotic treated food to our little ones (or ourselves) every day? Do myriad health articles in the media today say that Americans are eating way too much sugar and yet are barely eking fraction of the fruit and vegetable consumption that they should? Then maybe it’s time to take the juice box away and hand your kiddo a slice of apple and a glass of water(see the baby-approved apple recipe from FeeFiFoFun Mom at the end of this blog).

Then, when the issue is larger than common sense, use the experts to tell you which paint to use on the nursery walls or whether the water bottles on the sidelines at the soccer game are safe.  Want to know what’s in a diaper? There’s information available online, like this great concise article from Brace yourself-the answer is a little scary!

Protecting our kids and living safe and healthy lives alongside them is a something that none of us will do perfectly. So use your brain. Use the resources at hand. And then enjoy! While it’s not the best choice in the world, a candy coated marshmallow once in a blue moon is the stuff that visions of sugarplums are made of.

Apple-Squash Puree
For babies just exploring foods, here’s a quick and simple homemade favorite!

Apple (organic)
Squash or Kabocha Pumpkin (organic)

Steam apple and squash or pumpkin pieces until fork tender.
Puree in blender.
Freeze in single servings in ice-cube trays.

Serve each portion as is, or mix with 2T. coconut milk (unsweetened) and baby cereal (organic rice or mixed grains) to thicken to desired consistency.