Before you face another chorus of “I’m bored” from the kiddos, consider these simple activities you and your child can do together when winter weather or schedules have you stuck indoors.
Simple STEM Activities to Do at Home
(Family Features) Winter is the season for family gatherings, snow days and breaks from school and work, but all this time indoors can lead to a serious case of cabin fever for both children and adults. Before you face another chorus of “I’m bored,” consider these simple activities you and your child can do together when winter weather or schedules have you stuck indoors.
Each activity idea from the experts at KinderCare can help children build foundational skills they’ll need for success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas so you can combine fun and learning.
For more activity ideas, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
From the classroom to the internet, bullying can lead to children developing a poor self-image or lead to bullying others. In fact, members of Generation Z believe bullying is the biggest issue facing their generation. Consider these ideas to help your kids learn how to overcome, avoid and break down the cycle of bullying.
5 Ways to Empower Kids to End Bullying
(Family Features) From the classroom to the internet, bullying can lead to children developing a poor self-image or lead to bullying others. In fact, members of Generation Z believe bullying is the biggest issue facing their generation, according to new data.
A survey of American youth ages 6-17, commissioned by the Boy Scouts of America, the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, found bullying ranked as the top concern for young people in their own communities, across the country and on a global scale. At the same time, 84% of those surveyed said they want to be a part of the solution.
Consider these ideas to help your kids learn how to overcome, avoid and break down the cycle of bullying:
Promote more time unplugged and outdoors. It is important for parents to promote healthy, face-to-face social interactions. Outdoor activities allow children to work together, solve problems and bond in a way that typically can’t be achieved through a screen. They also give children a break from the cyber-world, where bullying is often prevalent.
Encourage kindness. Ninety-seven percent of Gen Z members surveyed said being kind is important. Encourage kids to act on that feeling and remind them that it doesn’t take any extra energy to be kind. Serve as a role model by making kindness a foundation in your family, just as the Boy Scouts of America have done. The Scout Law lists being kind as one of 12 guiding characteristics.
Educate and equip. Parents should educate their children about why bullying is never OK, equip them with the knowledge they’ll need to recognize it and encourage them to report and safely respond to all forms of bullying they observe.
Use the buddy system. In Scouting, the buddy system pairs kids together to help ensure the well-being of one another. This approach is used for practical and safety reasons that can also be applied to everyday life. A pair or group of kids are less likely to get bullied, and buddies can be supportive by being an upstander.
Explore differences. As a family, look for ways to get involved in activities that include families from different backgrounds and cultures. Introducing kids to ideas and lifestyles different from their own can be an enlightening experience, and that knowledge can help break down some of the barriers that contribute to bullying, such as fear and misunderstanding.
Learn more about ways Generation Z and its supporters can help put an end to bullying at Scouting.org.SOURCE:
Boy Scouts of America
When you see something you can’t explain, it can be easy to mistake those moments for magic, such as a balloon floating into the sky or water disappearing from a surface right before your eyes. However, the truth is these moments aren’t magic but science at play. Consider these simple tricks that help convey the “magic” of science.
Science Made Magical
(Family Features) When you see something you can’t explain, it can be easy to mistake those moments for magic, such as a balloon floating into the sky or water disappearing from a surface right before your eyes. However, the truth is these moments aren’t magic but scienceat play. Observing the laws of physics or chemistry can, at first glance, seem too fantastical to be explained, but science can explain a lot.
These moments serving as creative ways to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning may be one of the best tricks of them all. STEM touches many aspects of daily lives, and finding the connections between the classroom and the “magical” STEM moments of day-to-day life can inspire children and pique their interests in these topics.
Consider these simple tricks that help convey the “magic” of science:
Knowing how the magic works doesn't necessarily make these tricks any less fun, and these simple tricks help teach children how STEM plays a role in everything, including fun and games. Another way to encourage children with STEM at an early age is encouraging them to participate in a program such as ExploraVision, the only STEM-related competition of its kind. It allows kids of all ages to create ideas for new technological innovations in response to current real-world issues. Participants work on their projects to supplement their science education, while also developing problem-solving, analytical and collaboration skills.
Parents and students can learn more about the competition and how to enter, and teachers can find free tips for engaging students, at exploravision.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Making sure your kids are ready to take on the world as adults is arguably one of the most important roles of a parent. Now, more than ever, education is the foundation of that preparation. As technology continues to evolve, it’s important that kids are learning, and also developing skills in high-demand areas, such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Foundation for the Future
STEM plays a vital role in youth education
(Family Features) Making sure your kids are ready to take on the world as adults is arguably one of the most important roles of a parent. Now, more than ever, education is the foundation of that preparation.
The experts at the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, are aiming to raise awareness of the benefits for today’s students, and partnering with farmers to award STEM grants that enhance programming at rural public school districts.
While nearly everyone has heard about STEM education in one way or another, some people don’t understand its true value in school and in the workplace.
It’s cutting edge. When it comes to innovation, there’s no disputing that STEM is progressing changes throughout society. STEM fields are at the forefront of nearly all of the exciting modern developments, from the latest digital gadgets enabled by technology to ground-breaking scientific research. Another benefit of this progressive environment is the financial and social impact on the community. Skilled STEM workers are driving trends and innovations, which can create jobs and boost the economy. All of these attributes appeal to eager, young graduates looking to make their mark.
It’s where the jobs are. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report on the 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2026. In the report, 100 percent of the jobs fall into STEM categories, from the No. 1 growth career – solar photovoltaic installers – to a handful of medical field jobs to statisticians, software developers and mathematicians.
It’s a chance to make a real difference. STEM fields can drive true social change. Researching and uncovering new treatments, or even the cure, for a debilitating disease is only possible with skills gained through STEM learning. However, science isn’t the only STEM field that brings opportunities to make a difference in others’ lives. A career in technology could mean helping a child hear or see for the first time using a specially constructed device, for example.
It’s a stepping stone to dozens of industries. While STEM learning lends itself well to a fairly large scope of career choices, that list is ever-expanding. In fact, most of today’s graduates find themselves hard-pressed to secure a position without some STEM training. Consider a seemingly distant field such as fashion, for example, where digital technologies enable design sketching, mathematic skills factor into creating patterns and some engineering knowledge is necessary for designing a runway show. Beyond the less obvious career choices, STEM learning provides practical experience with methods of problem solving that can be applied to virtually any aspect of personal or professional life.
It’s helpful in developing additional skills. The specific training involved in STEM education can help lead to certain career paths that will be available in the future. However, it can also help with more general skills your child can use immediately. Students typically follow processes in STEM programming and training, such as the scientific method, that give them a chance to work with other students, test hypotheses and find solutions. These challenges can often help in developing teamwork, leadership and other collaborative life skills.
Learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program at GrowRuralEducation.com.
Support STEM Learning
As a parent, there are many ways you can support STEM learning in your local school district. It’s little secret that school district budgets are continually shrinking, so an important way you can encourage STEM learning is by exploring funding opportunities that can bolster STEM programming.
Initiatives like America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education focus on bringing STEM education to rural school districts. Eligible farmers can nominate their local public school districts for the grants, which help enhance STEM education. Schools then participate in an application process to compete for $10,000 and $25,000 grants.
One school district in Royal, Washington, is utilizing the program to raise academic achievement for students in the classroom and on state-mandated math tests. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant allows teachers to extend learning for students, especially those who are learning English as a second language, who need intervention but lack the technology at home.
An important learning barrier is being removed through the use of Chromebooks and Kajeet, a system that allows internet connectivity but also has a filter to ensure the technology is limited to academic use. Learn more about the program and nomination process at AmericasFarmers.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (teacher with student)SOURCE:
Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. These tips can help you navigate the first few months and incorporate some baby-friendly technology along the way.
New Baby? New Tech Can Make a Big Difference
Innovative gadgets that can make parenting easier
(Family Features) Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. But, there is help… sometimes at the touch of a button. Amy O'Malley, MSN, RN, mother of five and director of education and clinical services at Medela, has pulled together a few tips for navigating the first few months and how to incorporate some baby (and mom) friendly technology along the way!
How many wet diapers? How long did he nurse? Use an App for That!
Give Yourself Some Range with a Great Monitor
Pump Quieter and Smarter
“Breast pumps have changed quite a bit since I had my children,” O’Malley said. “While a double electric breast pump is your best bet, newer models go beyond the basics and connect with smartphones to track activity. Our tech-enabled and quietest pump, Sonata, is comfortable and pairs with the MyMedela app to automatically track pumping sessions and offer personalized tips to help you succeed and monitor your baby. This pump even has many adaptions to meet your needs anywhere and anytime. It has features to help you use it late at night and can adjust based on your changing body shape to give you an effective and consistent experience.”
Find more information at medelabreastfeedingus.com.
Make Temperature Checks a Breeze
You’re not alone. There is tech to help and don’t forget to ask your pediatrician and other friends or family members too. It takes a village to bring a new baby into the world!
1548990 A 1117 © 2017 Medela 4550110SOURCE:
(BPT) - The first days of school are filled with excitement and pangs of anxiety, but it doesn’t take long for high school and college students to fall into a routine. Adjusting to the new reality of school can be difficult, but it's the steps students take now that determine their success throughout the school year.
To make sure your child has a successful school year, consider these smart tips. This advice can help you have a great academic experience from now all the way through spring.
1. Eat and sleep well every day
Healthy habits allow the body and mind to be prepared to learn each day. Teenagers (14-17) should get eight to 10 hours each night and young adults (18-25) should get seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. On top of adequate rest, make sure to eat wholesome meals starting with a daily breakfast to ensure a hungry stomach is never a distraction in class.
2. Choose the right technology
Advanced classes require note taking, research and more, making a trustworthy laptop a student essential. Stay on budget with the portable LG gram notebook available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch options. With 15 hours of battery on a full charge, students can leave the charger at home, making this ultrabook the perfect fit for students on the go. Featuring Intel’s 7th generation i5 processor and plenty of storage, it's extremely versatile. You can change the display from “Reader mode” to “Movie mode,” which offers versatility for students who plan to use the device for a variety of content.
3. Don't let backpacks weigh you down
High school and college students too often are buzzing through campus with incredibly heavy backpacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Select light technology when possible, like the LG gram, the lightest laptop available in its class at just over 2 pounds.
4. Learn smart study habits
How students study influences how well they do in school. Procrastination and last-minute cramming is not effective. The more your child can adopt smart study habits, the better he or she will do in class, plus stress levels will likely decrease. Set times each day to study, preferably not too late at night. Create a quiet, comfortable space free from distractions. If possible, turn the smartphone off or leave it in another room.
5. Reach out for help and available resources
An underutilized resource at high schools and colleges across the country is teacher assistance outside class time. Most professors (and even teacher assistants at colleges) have office hours each week where they help students. If students are struggling or just want to reiterate the material, this is the right opportunity. Swing by the office in person, shoot them an email or set up a video meeting. They are there to help.
6. Strike a balance
There are a lot of demands put on young adults these days. Work, extracurricular activities, classes, study time, exercising, socializing, family time and more make for busy days and nights. It's important to find a balance and set priorities to avoid burnout. Parents can assist children in determining how much they can handle by having an open and honest discussion. Make adjustments as necessary for a happy, healthy school year.
(NewsUSA) - It's an undeniable fact. Among cash, gift cards and the "toy of the moment," kids want to see video games under the Christmas tree. Rail against it all you want, that's the reality. But take heart, parents, today's video games can teach kids valuable life lessons not learned in a classroom.
For those that scoff at the idea that video games have value beyond hours of mindless entertainment, Sherry Turkel, a professor and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, "think again."
"The games demand skills that are complex," Turkel told The Washington Post in an interview. "There is learning how to learn ? there is nothing mindless about mastering a video game."
One game that is getting attention for its complexity and teachable moments is Bungie and Activition's Destiny games, a bold world of action and adventure where kids are a Guardian of the last safe city on Earth. If you're a veteran and have followed the game from its inception, you may like the newest release, Destiny: Rise of Iron. If you're a newbie, Destiny -- The Collection, contains five games in one collection, including the newest release from the award winning franchise. And best of all, it's available for just $59.99.
Still not convinced? The following skills are just a few underlying themes in the Destiny franchise that teach kids lessons outside of simple distraction:
* Astronomy. The game offers a futuristic fictional scenario of our Solar System, where humans colonized other planets but were mysteriously brought to the brink of extinction (with known survivors now living in and defending Earth's last city from alien invaders).
* Problem solving and creativity. In Destiny, players not only fend off alien antagonists, but must also solve mysteries, create their own avatar race and class, and complete multiple tasks.
* Hand eye coordination. As a shooter-based game, Destiny features combat against an onslaught of alien enemy attacks from all angles.
* Team work. The game contains three-player strikes and six-player raids, requiring communication and teamwork.
* Socialization. Unlike other similar shooter-based games, Destiny does not have blood, gore, or adult content. Instead, the game is rated T for teen and focuses on sci-fi fantasy and discovery, making it a perfect game for parents and siblings as well.
Currently Destiny -- The Collection and Destiny: Rise of Iron are both offered on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms.
For more information, please visit www.destinythegame.com.
Yes! Screen time can be good for young kids: Experts agree digital education may help young kids learn
(BPT) - For years, parents and pediatricians fretted over how much screen time was too much, especially for very young children. Many child health experts advised minimal screen time for elementary-aged kids and none at all for children younger than 2. New research, a revised policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the personal experience of millennial parents who grew up in the digital age, have changed the way parents view screen time for youngsters.
"Research now shows us that not all screen time is equal," says Barbara Peacock, managing director of School Zone Inc., a recognized leader in creating innovative multimedia learning tools to prepare children for a lifelong love of education who recently launched AnywhereTeacher.com, a "Digital Educational Playground" for kids 2-8. "Everyone agrees it's important for children to maintain healthful levels of physical activity, but studies also show educational screen time can be an effective way to supplement children's learning. As the American Academy of Pediatrics recently noted, 'the effects of media use are multi-factorial and depend on the type of media, the type of use, the amount and extent of use, and the characteristics of the individual child."
The AAP and other child health experts have long counseled parents against allowing very young children to have much screen time. However, the AAP recently revised its stance, citing "evidence regarding health media use (that) does not support a one-size-fits-all approach" to media use by children.
Rather than keeping young children off devices entirely, the AAP now advises parents to develop a Family Media Use Plan that takes into account children's developmental stages, and uses that information to create an appropriate and individual balance for media usage by each child. The AAP encourages parents to establish boundaries for how and when children may use digital devices, ensure they understand the importance of not sharing personal information online, and openly talk with children about media use.
In revising its recommendation, the AAP looked to a growing body of research that shows digital media use can help facilitate learning. Writing in the Hechinger Report, a highly regarded watchdog media outlet that covers inequality and innovation in education, Lisa Guernsey, director of New America's early education initiative, and Michael H. Levine, founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit literacy and digital media research organization, explained the shift in thinking.
"Literacy rates and toddlers' media use may seem unrelated, but they are inextricably tied," the co-authors noted. "The important connections between media and reading must be brought to light in schools, households, and in the public's imagination ... children at very young ages can gain important skills in literacy and language development if the content on the screen is designed for learning and if they have a parent or educator who talks with them about what they are doing and seeing."
Making media work for learning
Parental involvement in media use is the key difference between programming that benefits children's educational development, and valueless screen time, research shows.
The National Head Start Association recently stressed that "family engagement is integral" to successful learning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education agreed in a joint policy statement issued in May 2015: "Families are children's first and most important teachers, advocates and nurturers," the statement said, calling family involvement in kids' education "critical" to their long-term success.
Busy tech-savvy parents recognize how easy technology can make it to access high-quality supplemental learning tools for their children, but finding a trusted source of curated content is not always easy. Speaking to her company's newly launched site, Peacock comments, "AnywhereTeacher.com features content that has been developed exclusively by School Zone based on decades of research and broad-based experience working with educators, dating back almost 40 years when our founders, James Hoffman, Ed.D and his wife Joan, MA, recognized the need for at-home learning materials." The subscription-based AnywhereTeacher.com is an easy to navigate site for youngsters that combines the power of video with traditional learning tools such as flash cards, games, interactive worksheets and printable activities. Original episodic programming like Charlie & Company engages children with educational messages in a fun, familiar way.
The service, which starts at just $6.99 per month, allows parents to manage their children's activities and view their progress, creating an opportunity to talk about learning goals and improvement. The service is compatible with most devices and you can buy a subscription through iTunes, Google Play or PayPal to gain access from any device. There's no limit on the number of devices families can simultaneously use to access the site. Visit AnywhereTeacher.com to learn more.
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