Playroom October 2016

Follow This: Mom Magic Videos


It’s every parent’s dream: Clothes that slip onto a squirmy toddler all by themselves. It’s what inspired Southeast Portland mom Anna Matviyenko to create a stop-motion video of a shirt and pants magically slipping onto her 2-year-old daughter, Elina, and post it to her Instagram account @hellofromanya and Youtube Channel: ANYAMATION. “The technique is to take many pictures (my videos usually consist of around 100-200 of them), and when you put them together you create the illusion of moving objects,” says Matviyenko. Matviyenko, who was born in the Ukraine and has been living in Portland for about six years, is a language specialist and coach at an interpreting agency. “I am a fully self-taught, amateur creator who likes composing interesting images, using technology and coming up with creative ideas,” she says. “Also, my husband used to do these videos with his friends, so he knows a little bit about this form of animation and helps me a lot.” Parents are also sure to appreciate her videos How to Make a Child Eat Vegetables and Bedtime, too.

— Denise Castañon

Pay Attention: Outdoor School on the Ballot


Say the words “outdoor school” to born-and-bred Oregonians, and their eyes will likely light up, remembering their 11-year-old selves tromping about the woods for one week of learning how to light a fire without a match and to paddle their own canoe (literally). But the outdoor school experience isn’t universal — statewide, not every school district can afford it, and even in relatively prosperous school districts, outdoor school is often the first thing on the chopping block when a recession hits. An initiative on this November’s ballot aims to change that. The measure would set aside 4 percent of the state lottery fund, or around $22 million per year, for the expansion of outdoor school programs around the state. School districts would need to apply for the money, which would then be awarded based on a set of criteria, including whether the outdoor program will pay off with higher scores on standardized tests in core academic areas. Supporters of the proposal, known as Outdoor School for All, say the hands-on learning inspires everything from connections between rural and urban Oregonians to better knowledge of STEM subjects and environmental stewardship. Opponents acknowledge the importance of outdoor learning, but warn that nothing comes for free. The lottery fund money that would be earmarked for outdoors school under the new measure would most likely mean less money for economic development initiatives statewide. The bottom line? It’s just one more reason — among many! — to pay close attention when your ballot arrives in the mail.


— Julia Silverman

Bookshelf: Spooky Stories

Nothing says Halloween like tales of ghosties and goblins. Get your little ones in the mood for the big night with these frightfully delightful picks from Kim Tano and Richard Corbett, the kids’ bookbuyers at Powell’s Books, Portland’s legendary independent bookstore. (Don’t miss Saturday morning storytimes at the Burnside location, too.)

Ages 0-3playroom-bookshelf-roomonthebroom

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler
The clev er tale of a witch who always has room on her broom for any animal who wants to hitch a ride — much to the dismay of her trusty cat. Plus a surprise twist at the end, involving one very hungry dragon. (Now in board book form — and keep an eye out for the animated version to air on TV in late October.) $6.99.

Spooky Pookie by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton at her best! Pookie dresses up for Halloween trying on different costumes — will it be a dragon? A banana? No spoilers here! Perfect for any kid who spends hours rifling through the dress-up bin. $5.99.

Ages 3-5

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

playroom-bookshelf-greatpumpkinCould this be the year the Great Pumpkin appears from the sky? Join Linus for the long wait in this beloved Halloween classic. Don’t forget to do your “Peanuts dance” afterward! $7.99.

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
Finnigan arrives in a new town armed with his appetite, his eating spoon, his eating stool and his big, eating mouth. What’s a hungry skeleton to do when no one will share their feast with him? Find out in this charming Halloween take on the Stone Soup fable. $6.99.

 Ages 6 and up

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
A classic collection of spine-tingling folktales cleverly updated for modern times. This is a great one for the whole family to read aloud together. It’s a “keep reading — if you dare” situation, for sure. $5.99.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
We are really excited about this newest title from San Francisco-based graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, known for her fresh take on The Baby-sitters Club series. In her latest, Catrina and her sister Maya move to a new town in California and their neighbor lets them in on a secret: there are ghosts that come out on the Day of the Dead. $10.99.

Nordia Hous

TOP 5 …Hidden Museums

When you’re ready to give the stand-bys a break, Portland’s got some off-the-beaten track hidden gems for you and the kids to explore.

➊ Oregon Maritime Museum Anchors away on the last operating sternwheel steam tug in the United States, moored on the Willamette River downtown.

➋ The Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery Trivia games, brain teasers, puzzles and vintage editions in Hillsboro, oh my!

➌ Oregon Rail Heritage Center All aboard this mecca for train lovers in SE Portland, including three steam locomotives.

➍ Nordia House Don’t miss the upcoming exhibit on trolls at this light-filled haven for Scandi-chic in SW Portland.

➎ End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Try your hand at candle-dipping and churning butter, just like those hardy pioneers, in Oregon City. — J.S.

Good Deeds: Halloween Helping

Sometimes we parents grumble about all the hassle of Halloween, from finding the right costume to heading out on a rainy night so the kids can beg for sugar. And then you hear about something that makes you grateful for all the tasks and bustle — like the kids at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel or Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at OHSU who are too sick to scramble around the neighborhood for a night of Halloween fun. And there’s a way to show your thankfulness and get your kids in on the act, too. You can help a child in the hospital have a fun Halloween memory by donating a new, unworn costume between October 11 and 31 at the drop-off inside the California Pizza Kitchen at Bridgeport Village. (Pro tip: Ask your child to pick out the costume a child her age might like the best.) Bridgeport Village and California Pizza Kitchen are teaming up with the Chelsea Hicks Foundation, which will round up the costumes and deliver them to children in the hospital. Visit for more information. — D.C.

If your neighbors have a teal pumpkin in front of their house on Halloween it means that they are offering non-food treats — with the intention of making Halloween less scary for kids with life-threatening food allergies. Visit to get in on the act. — D.C.

Gear Guide: Pearly Whites

Ah, Halloween. Also known as every dentist’s least favorite holiday. These fun kid toothbrushes will help keep the cavities at bay. (Many of our favorite dentists also offer “switch witch” services post-Halloween. Bring in your candy and your kids will get a treat at Greenburg Pediatric Dentistry in Tigard, World of Smiles locations in North Portland and on Barnes Road and Dentistry for Kids in Wilsonville.)

Green Sprouts Finger Toothbrush
Baby’s first toothbrush! We like this one for brand-new teethers (and even just baby gums) because of its great design — the safety shield ensures that the head of the toothbrush won’t poke too far into your little darling’s mouth. Plus, it’s PVC, BPA and petroleum free. $4. At Polliwog, 234 NE 28th Ave.

Preserve Junior Toothbrush
Perfect for ages 2 to 5 or so, these are made from BPA-free recycled yogurt cups and come in nifty tubes that can be mailed back to the company for recycling when the bristles wear down. And the handle is specially designed for smaller grips. Plus, a portion of sales benefits the National Wildlife Federation. $3. At New Seasons Market and Whole Foods.

Philips Sonicare for Kids
When your kiddos are ready to graduate to an electronic toothbrush, check out this option, which comes complete with stickers to decorate the handle, access to an interactive “better brushing” app, and a handy chime that lets kids know when they’ve finished a good teeth cleaning. $49.99. — J.S.

Chalkboard: Risks of Birth
Weighing whether to give birth at home or at the hospital? You’re not alone. Oregon has the country’s highest rate of women who decide to skip a hospital birthing experience, with more than twice the national average opting for at-home births. Doctors at Oregon Health and Sciences University wanted to take a closer look at the risks of giving birth inside a hospital, and outside.
Here’s what they found, in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine: Your chances of having a Cesarean (unsurprisingly) are significantly higher if you give birth in a hospital. And there’s also much less chance that labor will be medically induced if you choose a home birth. But babies born in a hospital also have a slightly lower risk of perinatal death (though the chances of that happening are tiny, no matter where you give birth — less than one percent.) Neonatal seizures were also rare in all settings (less than 0.5 percent), but were higher in planned out-of-hospital births compared to planned hospital births.
Doctors at OHSU say there are a few significant takeaways from the study. They’re calling for development of guidelines on which women are good candidates for out-of-hospital at-home births, as well as better communication between doctors and home-birth midwives. — J.S.

PlayRoom-Jun16-DrFishAsk Dr. Corey

Q: We’re considering putting our 2-year-old daughter into day care. But our friends who have kids in day care say their kids are sick all the time as a result of being in a school environment. On the other hand, I’ve heard that this can help kids build up resistance to getting sick later in life. Is this true?

A: Most parents I know can easily empathize with the difficulties that come along with the first year in day care. In addition to normal issues around changes in routine and separation anxiety, healthy children who were previously not in day care almost always get many more illnesses during this time of transition.

There is good evidence to support the idea that children attending day care for the first time average between six and 10 viral illnesses that first year. This would include everything from tummy bugs to colds and sniffles. Because the duration of some of these viral illnesses can be three to four weeks or more, it can give parents the impression that their children are constantly sick.

I usually counsel my patients to expect one new illness every three to four weeks for the entire first year of day care. Unfortunately, besides hand washing, good sleep and good nutrition, there isn’t a lot for parents to do to prevent these nasty bugs. Several studies have looked at ways to ward off these bugs, including various immune-system boosters and probiotics, but unfortunately there just isn’t very good evidence that they do much of anything.

However, there is hope! Usually the second year goes better than the first and the third year better still. I think most pediatricians would agree that these illnesses are a rite of passage and generally do not cause any lasting distress. And yes, they are probably important in developing future immunity.

Dr. Corey Fish, a Pacific Northwest native and graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, is a pediatrician at Sellwood Medical Clinic. When he is not at work, he likes backcountry skiing with his wife and their border collie/Australian shepherd mix, and playing his guitar. For more info: sellwoodmd. com. Got a question for Dr. Corey? Get in touch at and we’ll pass it along.

Playlist: Music to Munch On

LA songsters, parents and podcasters Andrew & Polly have released a shiny, happy album of silly songs from the inaugural season of their podcast. Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast captures the essence of preschooler proclivities. But the best part is the clever lyrics that appeal to parents. Case in point: Ballphabet’s nods to Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” and the Sports Center theme song. My 4-year-old kept requesting the shimmy-inducing track Dancing Pants, which promptly got stuck in both of our heads. Another one that wormed its way into my head: “Grapes,” which perfectly captures that stubborn toddler single-mindedness when it comes to food obsessions. — D.C.

Scroll to Top