Learning about Passover with Shalom Sesame


This weekend our family celebrated both Pesach (Passover) and Easter. As we transitioned from finding Easter eggs to finding the afikoman (matzah), I was reflecting back on my own childhood. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but I was raised Jewish, and and we celebrated major holidays. Now that I am a parent, and still observe Jewish holidays with my relatives, I feel as though I want to give my daughter a little background about what it all means.

shalom-sesameAs I was reading about the story of Passover, I was also looking for some videos to help visually explain some of the details. While I was searching around, I found Shalom Sesame, a co-production of the American version. Shalom Sesame was created in an effort to introduce Israeli life and Jewish culture to American audiences. The episodes feature Hebrew and English words, which is nice for bilingual families. Monolingual families (like ours) can also benefit from these episodes since English translations of Jewish literature use the Hebrew form of certain words. For example, the afikoman is a piece of matzah that is broken in half and set aside to be eaten as dessert after the Passover seder (dinner).

Children will get to see certain American muppets in some of the episodes of Shalom Sesame, and meet new ones. Moishe Oofnik, for example, is Oscar the Grouch’s cousin. Naturally, Moishe also lives in a garbage can (in Israel).

I am so glad I found something relatable to share with Em as we were preparing for our own celebration. Below are videos we enjoyed the most, but I would encourage any family interested in learning about other cultures to explore Shalom Sesame.


“Here Comes Peter Cottontail” – The Hipwaders


yearroundsounds.jpg.w300h275 Happy Easter weekend everybody! Today, I am reposting my favorite Easter song of all time, which is featured on The Hipwaders‘ most recent release, Year-Round Sounds.

*”Here Comes Peter Cottontail”

In this holiday single The Hipwaders deliver a swingin’ rendition of Gene Autry’s classic, “Peter Cottontail.” “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” is the perfect companion for your Easter related activities. This bouncy “tail” will make you want to kick off your shoes and do a little (sock) hopping of your own. Always upbeat, the Hipwaders deliver straight rockin’ grooves while introducing us to one of the coolest bunnies in town as he hip hip hoppa hippa hip hip hop’s down the bunny trail. Get your Easter baskets ready, kids!

You can listen to the song via the SoundCloud widget below.

*The original post, which featured “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and “Gaia She Knows,” can be found here.

8 Excellent Ways to Kick Off Your Weekend – Song + Video Digest

BBSS_142_Beats_03 As you head out for the weekend, take these tasty beats with you! Indulge in this collection of eye (and ear) candy.

“Smile” by Andy Roo and the Rooniverse from Color Your World!

“The Way We Gets Down” – Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips

“Dog” – Big Block Singsong from Big Block Singsong Vol.1

Amazon | iTunes

“Beats” – Big Block Singsong from Big Block Singsong Vol.1

Amazon | iTunes


“Bicycle” – The Singing Lizard from Make Believe

Bandcamp | Amazon | iTunes

“Up All Night” – Caspar Babypants from Night Night!

CD Baby

“The National Tree of England” – Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly from Trees

iTunes | Amazon | Bandcamp | CD Baby

“Just for You” – Caspar Babypants from Night Night!

CD Baby

“Interconnected” – Celebrating Rachel Carson by Jonathan Sprout

Rachel Carson-young, shoulders up, white color shirt,   smile
“The more we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”  – Rachel Carson

Women’s History Month drew to a close earlier this week and now we look forward to spring holidays, and Earth Day. Today’s post celebrates a female hero, and her fight to maintain a healthier, greener planet for all living things.
Rachel Carson was a marine biologist who valiantly fought for conservation by calling out the hazardous effects of synthetic pesticides. Her book, Silent Spring, forced the banning of DDT, and made a revolutionary dent in the legislation governing the use of chemicals and other pesticides. Carson’s work and tireless efforts also inspired a grassroots movement which ultimate led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Jonathan Sprout, a Grammy nominated musician who has devoted 21 years or his career focusing on heroes from a variety of trades and professions, (science, politics, sports, medicine, entertainment, education) wrote a song in honor of Rachel Carson called “Interconnected.”

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Women’s History Month: “What Does Your Mama Do?” – Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer


Every day when I pick Em up from school she asks me how my day was and what I did all day. As a mom working at home, my day consists of working on the computer combined with household duties. I explain this to her but as a 6-year-old, she comprehends it as me staying home and making sure I have the right snacks for her.

Until my daughter was born, I worked in an office. I left the corporate world to run my own business and have been doing that before she was born and every since. It’s a strange situation to be in because choosing to stay at home has its own set of responsibilities, as does the addition of working from home. The balance can be tricky but the explanation to my daughter feels trickier sometimes.

In 1984, Cathy Fink released a song called “What Does Your Mama Do?” from their album Grandma Slid Down the Mountain. According to Fink, the song was successful in terms of engaging kids to talk about what they knew about their moms did:

In the 1980’s this song really had a positive impact on giving kids a wide view of women at work, both in the home or outside of the home. We would include verses where kids told us what their own moms did and got some fun responses: 

She bags potato chips

She’s a lady wrestler

She’s an opera singer

I love hearing what my daughter comes up with as part of how she understands her world and the roles people play in it. When music can invoke thought and serve as a guide to raise awareness and encourage conversations, I am reminded of how powerful it is. 

As part of rounding out Women’s History Month, it is my pleasure to feature “What Does Your Mama Do?” for families.
Share this with your children and share their responses in the comments. I’d love to know all about it!

Learn more about Cathy Fink’s work, including her new album, Dancing in the Kitchen: Songs for ALL famililes, which features Marcy Marxer, at their official site. The album celebrates the diversity of families in today’s society and encourages togetherness and love.

“What Does Your Mama Do?” is available for purchase at Amazon, and you can buy the corresponding album, Grandma Slid Down the Mountain, through Cathy and Marcy’s store.


Women’s History Month: “Trapped in the Attic” – Lloyd H. Miller and Shamsi Ruhe honor Harriet Ann Jacobs


Throughout the month, Emily and I have been reading about women in history. Earlier this year, she was fascinated with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work to end segregation, and was especially excited to recount how Rosa Parks made history by refusing to let anyone bully her. In Emily’s words, “that is really cool!” I love when we share enlightened moments like this and am prompted to continue to find similar stories to share with her. Shortly after the excitement around Rosa Parks’ story, Em learned about Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and slavery. While reading about this period of time, we came across the brave tale of Harriet Ann Jacobs, an African-American woman and writer who sought to gain freedom and prevailed.

Jacobs’ autobiographical novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, chronicles her struggles as a slave, and how she gained autonomy through willpower. Though the specifics of her story, as described in her book, talk about the complex relationship between male slave owners and female slaves, Jacobs’ story also touches upon perseverance while also providing an opportunity to discuss race and gender issues.

Shamsi Ruhe, the bold, beautiful voice also featured on “Stand With Me” from Dean Jones’ album When The World Was New, brings this tale to life in a song by Lloyd H. Miller of The Deedle Deedle Dees. Today I am proud to premiere a song and video for “Trapped in the Attic” from Miller’s forthcoming album Sing-A-Long History Volume 1: Glory! Glory! Halleluah! which contains a collection of original and traditional songs about the Civil War Era. “Trapped in the Attic” highlights the fact that Jacobs spent 7 years in the cramped corners of an attic before she escaped and was ultimately set free.

Miller has done extensive research to make history accessible to kids through his music. Sing-A-Long History Volume 1 is follow up to S.S. Tales, Miller’s first solo release which highlights men and women who have made a historical impact on the world. This release will be the first album in Miller’s sing-along series. Stay tuned for additional coverage here on Kids Can Groove around the time of the album’s release in April.


Learn more about Lloyd H. Miller’s work at his official site, through Facebook and Twitter. 

Teachers and families can following along with the words in the lyric video below.

Continue learning about female heroes through a previously published Kids Can Groove post on Amelia Earhart, and listen to the song “8000 feet” by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band here. 

World Premiere Clip: “Spring Day” – Karen K & the Jitterbugs

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What is there to do when it just keeps snowing? Write a song about Spring, of course!

Even though I’ve been living on the West Coast for the past few years, I am still not completely adjusted to sunny, warm winters (though I’m not complaining either). When I hear from friends and family on the other coast that it is snowing AGAIN, I feel as though I am on another planet. As a former snow bunny, I can sympathize, though I do miss the beauty of the falling snow and monster-sized snowflakes.

Karen Kalafatas of Karen K & the Jitterbugs has a different take on the allure of a freshly painted powedery landscape, especially after being stuck inside for the last 4 months. But her spirits are up and her creative juices are flowing!

Today’s audio premiere, “Spring Day,” is an anti-snow, pro-sun anthem eager to welcome Spring and hang outside with a cool glass of ANYTHING!

Stay tuned for the video for “Spring Day,” though Kalafatas explains that they will need a few Springtime shots for that.  Says Kalafatas, “So basically August.  August is when we’ll get the Spring shots.”

“Spring Day” is available at iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon


Karen K (aka Karen Kalafatas) is a writer and performer along with her band Karen K & the Jitterbugs.  A winner of a Parents Choice Award and “Best Kid Vid of 2014″ for her YouTube Smash hit (I Woke Up in a) Fire Truck, Karen and her Jitterbugs tour the country performing her original songs and delivering a rockin’, energized, theatrical show to kids ages zero to one-hundred-and-three.  They’ve been seen on CBS-New York and in the Boston Globe, Boston.com, the New York Times and New York Magazine.  Karen is also the founder and producer of Kids Really Rock family music festival at the Lawn on D in Boston.

For more information, visit http://www.karenkjitterbugs.com