Archive for September, 2013

18 of the Best Blogs about Rainbow Loom Bracelets

September 30th, 2013 by admin

You may or may not have heard about the Rainbow Loom, but it’s a relatively new craze for kids, starting around age eight. Tweens especially have really adopted this craft and gone wild with it. Currently there are over 130,000 how-to videos online demonstrating how to make rainbow loom bracelets in various patterns. The basic bracelet and the fishtail are probably the simplest to start with, and can both be made without the loom if you don’t have one. Take a look at the instructions on these 18 blogs to get started making your own colorful rubber band bracelets.

Basic Bracelet

The basic rainbow loom bracelet is simple to do and is made up of interlocking rubber bands.  You can use any color combination, and it’s easy to personalize these bracelets for all of your friends. There are even a few moms sporting these trendy bracelets! These six blogs explain how to make the basic bracelet.

Fishtail Technique

If you’ve ever seen a fishtail braid in someone’s hair, this bracelet technique is similar in appearance to that. The weave is tighter and uses more rubber bands than the basic bracelet, but it’s got a chunkier look to it. This pattern isn’t just for girls either, it’s also become quite popular with boys. Take a look at these six blog posts for some tutorials on how to create the fishtail bracelet.

No-Loom Bracelet

While looms only run about $15, you don’t necessarily have to buy one to let your child get started making rubber band bracelets. Watch the videos and read the tutorials on these six blogs to see how these bloggers have found a way around using a store bought loom. This might be especially nice if you want to have a group create these bracelets as a craft project, especially since buying a loom for each person could get expensive quickly.

The Top 10 Risks Teenagers Take

September 23rd, 2013 by admin

Taking healthy risks is an essential aspect of childhood development, and is one of the best ways for kids to learn about cause and effect and the consequences that come from their actions. Parents should encourage youngsters to take safe risks when the situation arises, but there are a host of not-so-healthy risks that come into the picture when little ones grow into teenagers. To adults, it often seems as if teens’ daredevil antics and harebrained schemes are as baffling as they are enraging, but there is a scientific reason behind teens’ risky behavior that boils down to neural chemistry, reward signals and development as they move into adulthood. While dealing with this behavior isn’t easy, parents can make a more concerted effort to curb dangerous impulses by understanding the most common risky behaviors that teenagers adopt.

  • Speeding – Whether they’re trying to impress their friends or drunk on the heady prospect of being in control of a car without adult supervision, one of the most common risks that teens take is driving at a high rate of speed. Thankfully, there are devices that will allow you to monitor the speed at which your teen is driving these days.
  • Texting and Driving – There is a sense of urgency, especially in social settings, that causes teens to be less than cautious when they’re behind the wheel and an incoming text alert gets their attention. Distracted driving is dangerous driving though, which is why a strict no-texting-and-driving policy should be backed up by apps and parental control software that prevents such risks.
  • Experimenting With Drugs – Teenagers are well aware of the risks of experimentation with illicit drugs. Most are raised with the “just say no” attitude, and there are entire school programs dedicated to educating teens on the dangers of drugs. That doesn’t change the fact that curiosity, the desire to rebel and a need to assert an adult level of independence drives many kids to try these substances.
  • Binge Drinking – Seasoned adults have a variety of reasons for social drinking, but teenagers have only one goal: to experiment with something they’re not supposed to be using while altering their mood. Alcohol poisoning and bad decisions borne of lowered inhibitions are both very real prospects, however, which is why it’s important for parents to discuss the matter with their teens in real-life, honest ways.
  • Truancy – Some teens skip school to avoid bullies or a classroom setting they are struggling in, while others skip simply because they can. From asserting independence to practicing avoidance, skipping school for any reason is still a common and risky situation.
  • Vandalism – While older generations took a “kids will be kids” approach to dealing with vandalism, that’s not the case today. Even when it’s meant to be a harmless prank, the destruction of property is something parents must take seriously. You can be assured that law enforcement won’t see this risky behavior as a joke.
  • Trespassing – From the thrill of hanging out in a forbidden place to the more practical application of simply finding a place to hang out away from the prying eyes of adults, trespassing is another common risk that teens take. It’s also a crime, which is why parents shouldn’t turn a blind eye to such habits if they’re discovered.
  • Having Unprotected Sex – Few parents look forward to having a talk about sex with their kids, but some of the riskiest sexual behavior of teens stems from a lack of understanding and information. Unprotected sex can lead to teen pregnancy and the contracting of sexually-transmitted diseases, which is why parents must have a frank and honest discussion about the importance of using protection.
  • Self-Harming – Self-harming behavior like cutting is, according to a 2002 British study, more common among teenage girls. Most parents would never dream that their kids are cutting themselves, but it is common and it is incredibly risky. From cutting deeply and sustaining real injury to contracting an infection through open wounds, this damaging, risky impulse can have very serious consequences.
  • Crash Dieting – Spurred on by the media’s fixation on physical perfection paired with the inherent insecurity of adolescence, crash dieting and even eating disorders are a common risk that teens take in a bid to obtain their skewed ideas of physical beauty. Parents should discuss these issues with their teens, even if no signs of eating disorders or problematic relationships with food are present.

30 Blogs with Creative Ideas for Throwing a Candy Land Themed Party

September 19th, 2013 by admin

The board game Candy Land has been a favorite among kids and parents alike for decades. The game, which was invented in 1945, combines two things every child loves: lots of colors and lots of candy. So why not take this childhood favorite and turn it into the inspiration for your child’s next party? For ideas on how to put together the perfect Candy Land themed party, take a look at these 30 blogs.

Invitations

Candy Land invitations need to be bright and colorful.  You can use store bought invitations that will match the game, or you can get creative and make your own.  These six blogs share the invitations that they used for their Candy Land themed party, providing you with plenty of inspiration for your own. You can copy their ideas or use them as the basis for your invitation inspiration.

Decorations

When it comes to decorations, you need to keep only one thing in mind: candy, candy and more candy! Create a life-size Candy Land board using colorful squares for the winding pathway, and be sure to add signs along the way that point out the different areas on the board, like “gumdrop pass.”  Make up some signs with gingerbread men on them to put throughout the board, since the playing pieces are gingerbread men.  Check out the pictures of the decorations on these six blogs for more creative ideas.

Menu

For Candy Land inspired food ideas, look no further than the Candy Land board. You can make spirals on a toothpick to mimic lollipops and sandwiches cut into gingerbread men shapes.  Get creative and make up your own names for food that might tie into the game.  These six blog posts are full of pictures of the foods that they served at their parties.

Games and Activities

Make some giant color block cards to mimic those in the game and play a life-size game of Candy Land with the kids.  Twister uses the same colors, and you can create a painted game of twister on the grass, making the board as big as it needs to be to accommodate all of the guests.  Create a giant spinner on some poster board and let the kids take turns spinning it.  Decorate some gingerbread men with the kids and then let them bag them up to take home for later.  More games and activities can be found on these six blog entries.

Party Favors

What is the obvious thing to use for a party favor at a Candy Land themed party?  Candy, of course!  Make a candy bar and fill it with all sorts of glass jars containing colorful candy.  At the end of the party, let the kids pick their favorite candies to put into a bag or box to take home. A clever addition to the candy that all the mom’s will love is a toothbrush.  Read through these six blogs for more party favor ideas and how to package them.

15 Blogs with Fun Kids’ Crafts for Under $10

September 17th, 2013 by admin

Crafting is a multi-billion dollar business, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to craft with your kids. Instead of shelling out big bucks for all of the fancy items craft stores carry, try to use things you already have around the house or find items that don’t cost a thing, like sticks, pinecones and recycled containers. This will not only save you money, but will also provide you with an opportunity to teach your kids the importance of recycling while creating unique gifts and decorations. To get started crafting for less than $10, take a look at these 15 blogs.

Decorations

Homemade decorations are an inexpensive way to let the kids flex their creative skills and spruce up your house a bit, and the kids will take pride in seeing their crafts displayed. From tissue paper flowers used to decorate for parties to crayon rocks used as paper weights, you’ll find a wealth of different decorations your kids can make in the following five blogs.

Gifts

Kids love to give gifts to people, but buying gifts can quickly get expensive. Instead, help your kids create homemade gifts for friends and family members. These handmade presents show the recipient how much love was put into its creation, and allow you to avoid spending a fortune. For a variety of gift ideas that the kids can create, check out these five blog articles.

Recycling

Teaching kids to recycle items when possible instead of just discarding them into the trash gives you a chance to repurpose items into something useful and teach the kids about the benefits of recycling. While teaching this lesson, encourage the kids to use their imaginations to figure out what they can make out of the boxes and containers that are in the recycling bin. These five blogs will explain several craft projects for the kids that involve recycling.

How to Choose the Right Cell Phone for Your Child

September 4th, 2013 by admin

While the idea of having a cell phone in elementary school was about as far-fetched as landing on the moon for today’s parents, there’s no denying the fact that technology has evolved at a rapid enough pace to make that situation a very feasible one for kids just a generation later. Determining when your child is ready for the responsibility of a cell phone is so largely dependent upon the maturity level of your youngster’s unique temperament that there’s really no hard and fast answer, but one thing is certain: determining what kind of cell phone to purchase for your child can be a confusing mess.

Take Control of the Situation

Just because you’ve decided to relent to your child’s pleas for a phone as a reward for her mature and responsible behavior does not mean that you’re automatically required to shell out big bucks for the model for which she’s begging. Kids may not have a clear understanding of just how expensive or how powerful those devices can be; they only understand that the latest high-end model will be considered “cool” by their friends. The first step to choosing a phone for your child is to realize that you’re granting permission for her to own the phone of your choosing, not to make demands regarding the model and brand.

Avoid Choosing Form Over Function

If your child is a tween or very young teen, all she really needs a phone to do is make calls and send text messages. A wealth of features that will allow her to generate spreadsheets, manage a hectic professional schedule or balance her budget are superfluous, and the ability to access games and social media apps from a handheld device could mean that she’s also able to access questionable content. Instead of considering flashy models that also tend to be delicate, look for no-frills phones of sturdy construction. Even the most cautious child will, at some point, drop or lose control of their phone. Basic models are often more rugged, and are almost always more easily replaced should they be damaged or broken.

Keep Her Unique Needs in Mind

Just as there is no set age at which a child is deemed “ready for a cell phone,” there is no real way to choose a one-size-fits-all phone option for your youngster. Very small children may not be mature enough to keep up with the newest smartphone, but some elementary-age kids with level heads and an affinity for learning apps may be well suited to own a smartphone with the right tracking and monitoring features in place. It may be less expensive in the long run to purchase a feature-packed model for your high school student that doubles as a graphing calculator and study aid, rather than buying several devices that could all be replaced with one smartphone. At the same time, a tech-savvy teenager with a track history of looking up questionable content or engaging in cyberbullying may do better with a base model phone that doesn’t have strong Internet capabilities. Keep the needs of your particular child in mind when you visit the store or start browsing for phones, rather than settling upon a model arbitrarily chosen as age-appropriate by other people.

Be On the Lookout For Kid-Specific Phones

There are a surprising number of cell phones available on the market today that have been designed specifically with the youngest users in mind. These phones have fewer buttons and very limited features, are easy to keep up with and can even be restricted in dialing ability so that only emergency services and numbers that you’ve pre-programmed can be accessed. If you’re making a purchase for your young child, don’t forget to ask about or look into phones that were designed with her needs and developmental abilities in mind.

Talk to Your Coverage Provider

Chances are, adding another line to your account will raise your bill noticeably, which means that you may need to keep prices down wherever possible. Talk to agents and representatives of your existing cell phone company to determine what your options are, ways you can keep usage under control and which phones are more likely to meet your child’s needs. These professionals will be able to give you a tour of the available phones, as well as a rundown of all their features and functions.

Take the time to do your homework when it comes to choosing a phone for your child, as this can be a costly investment. Furthermore, choosing the wrong model could present a distraction in school or during homework time, detrimentally impacting her academic performance. Make sure that the phone you choose has the features your child needs, but think twice about bells and whistles that could turn the device into a dangerous distraction.