Archive for the ‘Young Children’ Category

25 of the Best Blogs Showing You How to Plan an End of School Year Party

May 13th, 2013 by admin

Soon the pencils and notebooks will be put away and the computers will be turned off, signaling that another school year has come to an end. The kids have worked hard and should celebrate all that they have learned and achieved over the last nine months.  To kick off the party planning take a look at these 25 blog entries to discover creative ideas for throwing the best end of year party ever.

Theme

Picking the right theme for the party will make the party planning go a lot easier.  Details will fall into place like decorations, food and activities.  If the party will be held at school you will want to involve the teacher in the planning to make sure that all of the rules are being followed, if not then the sky is the limit.  Pool parties are common end of year gatherings because the venue can accommodate a lot of students.  These five blog posts will present some theme ideas to help during the planning stages.

Decorations

Set a budget for the decorations because it is easy to go overboard if you have a theme that lends itself easily to lots of decorations.  Determine a color scheme and buy the paper goods in those colors.  Taking the theme into consideration create an atmosphere that makes the theme clear to everyone who attends the party.  For ideas on simple party decorations check out these five blog entries.

Food

It wouldn’t be a party without food, but make sure that the food is kid-friendly so that everyone can find something to eat at the party.  Try to stick with the theme if possible or just go with standard party food like pizza and cupcakes.  Little tricks like toppers and party picks can tie any food into the theme.  For food tips and tricks take a look at these five blog articles.

Activities

Plan plenty of games and activities for the party to make sure the kids stay active and involved.  Sometimes one game takes off and is everyone’s favorite, if that happens go with it.  Be flexible with the party schedule and if the kids are having a good time let them keep going.  The same holds true for an activity that falls flat, don’t torture the kids, just move on to the next activity.  To find game ideas for the party read through these five blog posts.

Party Favors

Kids love to have a little something to take home at the end of the party, but it doesn’t have to be a lot and it doesn’t have to break the bank.  Go with something that follows the theme like a jar of cookies for a cookies and milk party or cotton candy for a circus party.  For more cost saving favor ideas look at these five blog entries.

12 Tips for Choosing a Family-Friendly First Pet

May 5th, 2013 by admin

Introducing a pet to your household can provide your kids with a companion that they love and can help them learn about responsibility and compassion as they care for the animal. It’s important for parents to remember, however, that not all pets are created equal when it comes to compatibility with kids. These 12 tips can help you select a first pet that’s suited to living with children.

  1. Consider Your Family Lifestyle – It’s important to take your family’s lifestyle as a whole into consideration when you’re choosing a pet. If the house is empty for most of the day, a puppy that needs to be taken out may not be an ideal choice.
  2. Take the Financial Aspect of Pet Ownership into Account – Any pet will require a financial commitment. After all, food isn’t free. That being said, some pets are more expensive than others. A rescued dog or cat might be a noble and socially responsible choice, but one that comes with preexisting health issues will also bring a slew of vet bills to the table. Think about how much room there is within the family budget, and keep that figure in mind as you consider upkeep costs.
  3. Keep Allergy Issues in Mind – Some pets are more aggravating to allergy sufferers than others, and living with an animal that triggers those allergies can be miserable. For instance, no matter how much your child begs for a kitten, it’s just not a good idea to bring one home if you know that someone in the family has a cat allergy.
  4. Understand Space Constraints – A small, cuddly baby animal might be tempting, but those babies can grow into large, unwieldy pets. An iguana will probably be small when you bring it home, but it will be up to six feet long when it reaches adulthood. A Great Dane puppy might not take up much room, but his fully-grown body will not be an ideal fit in a small apartment.
  5. Realize That Kids are Hands-On Creatures – Your kids will want to handle their new pet, to cuddle him and interact with him. Some animals, like hamsters and iguanas for example, simply do not tolerate a high level of handling well and may be a disappointment to eager kids.
  6. Consider an Animal’s Care Requirements – Every pet will have certain care requirements that are simply non-negotiable. Litter boxes must be cleaned, dogs need to be walked, fish need to be fed and a gerbil’s cage will need to be cleared. If your primary goal for pet ownership is to introduce a level of responsibility for your kids, be sure that the care a particular animal requires isn’t beyond their ability to manage.
  7. Don’t Be Swayed By Cuteness – Just because an animal is cute doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good fit for your family. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re infatuated with an adorable animal, but it may still be the wrong choice for your household. It’s important that you stick to your guns, and that you don’t allow yourself to be won over by a cute pet that simply won’t do well in your home.
  8. Know the Salmonella Risks of Certain Pets – Some reptiles and most turtles present a very real salmonella risk, a cause for concern since kids aren’t known for their dedication to hand washing.
  9. Don’t Choose a Puppy So He and Your Baby Can “Grow Up Together” – The common misconception that a puppy is an ideal choice when you have very small children because they’ll “grow up together” causes many dogs to end up in shelters. A puppy’s size might increase, but he’ll still be an exuberant, energetic puppy for a few years. That untrained puppy will require a serious time commitment in order to introduce proper training, a commodity that new parents simply don’t have much of.
  10. Never Pick an Impulse Pet – Walking into a pet store or perusing local classified ads is a great way to find some kinds of pets, but it also increases your chances of choosing a pet on impulse. It’s important to think the decision through carefully before selecting a pet, something that’s generally not possible when you’re making an impulse adoption.
  11. Be Realistic About Responsibilities – You may have grand notions about your children’s participation in pet care chores, but it’s wise to be realistic about the animal’s care. The adults in the household often end up shouldering the burden of pet care, so be sure that you’re prepared to take on that responsibility if the kids don’t hold up their end of the bargain.
  12. Do Your Homework – The best way to choose a pet that will mesh well with your family is to simply do your research about any type of pet that you’re considering, and to narrow the options down to only those that are likely to be a good fit with the habits of your household.

When they’re carefully chosen and well looked after, a pet can bring joy and laughter to your home. For a successful introduction to pet ownership, however, taking the time to research and choose carefully is essential.

5 Common Childhood Illnesses and How to Spot Them

April 16th, 2013 by admin

Among the standard colds, flus and skin complaints that are par for the course when children are young, there are also a few relatively common illnesses that you may not even be aware of until they strike. These are five of the more common ailments that affect children, along with the signs and symptoms that signal their arrival.

  1. Coxsackie – Coxsackie A virus is the culprit behind hand, foot and mouth disease. Though the names are similar, hand, foot and mouth disease is not related to hoof and mouth disease, which is a potentially-lethal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals exclusively. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a relatively common illness that usually strikes children five years of age or younger and is usually produced by Coxsackie A16. While it can be completely asymptomatic in many cases or only present with very mild symptoms, more severe cases can cause a fever lasting seven to 10 days, painful blisters on the soles of a child’s feet, the palms and fingers of his hands and the inside of his mouth. There is no specific treatment, but pain from blisters and fever may be treated with over-the-counter analgesics. For the most part, doctors will not prescribe medication, and only a very small percentage of patients with hand, foot and mouth disease will require hospitalization.
  2. Fifth Disease – Erythema infectiosum, more commonly known as fifth disease, is one possible manifestation of infection by erythrovirus, formerly known as parvovirus B19. Fifth disease presents with a low-grade fever at the outset of infection, headache and cold-like symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose. A few days after these symptoms resolve, a bright red rash appears. Lacy and red, the rash generally covers most of a child’s body but is most pronounced on the cheeks, which is why the malady is colloquially known as “slapped cheek disease.” Once the rash appears, patients are generally no longer contagious. The rash generally lasts for two to three days, but can persist for several weeks in severe cases.
  3. Roseola – Roseola, also known as exanthem subitum or sixth disease, is a viral infection that causes a pink or red skin rash and high fever, and is most commonly found among infants and young children. The earliest symptoms include eye redness, sore throat, runny nose, irritability and a high fever that appears suddenly and rises as high as 105° Fahrenheit. The fever can last between three and seven days, but usually abates within two to four days. Lowering of the fever is generally accompanied by the appearance of a rash that begins at the trunk and spreads to the arms, legs, neck and face with a pink or rosy color. Small, slightly-raised sores also present, but the rash generally does not itch. The incubation period for roseola is between five and 15 days from the date of exposure.
  4. Scarlet Fever – Scarlet fever, or scarletina as it was once called, is a disease caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, which is the same family of bacteria that causes strep throat. Once a very serious and potentially-lethal childhood disease, scarlet fever is now easily treated. The incubation period for scarlet fever is very short, with symptoms appearing one to two days after exposure. Fever and sore throat are usually the first symptoms to appear, later presenting with a rash that appears on the neck and chest before spreading over the rest of the body. Abdominal pain, Pastia’s lines, chills, headache, muscle aches, swollen tongue and vomiting are amongst the common symptoms of scarlet fever, which must be treated with antibiotics promptly to prevent rheumatic fever.
  5. Whooping Cough – Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, causes uncontrollable, violent coughing that can make it difficult for the sufferer to breathe. Coughing is often accompanied by a deep “whooping” sound when the sufferer attempts to breathe. Pertussis is a very serious upper respiratory infection that can cause infants to become permanently disabled or even die if not properly treated. The earliest symptoms generally appear about one week after exposure, initially presenting with cold-like symptoms. Severe coughing generally begins 10 to 12 days later, with coughs that end in a “whooping” noise. For babies under six months of age, that telltale sound typically is not present.

While it’s impossible to keep kids in a sterile environment, many bacterial and viral illnesses can be prevented by encouraging good hygiene and hand-washing habits. Curiosity is a hallmark of childhood, but it can leave your little one’s hands in places that aren’t particularly clean, so make sure that good hand-washing habits are instilled early and emphasized often to prevent the spread of illnesses.

How to Talk More, Yell Less

April 11th, 2013 by admin

Caring for children, whether you’re a parent or a professional, requires an indefatigable well of patience. While losing that patience from time to time is both normal and natural, it can still leave you plagued with guilt and doubts about your ability to nurture the little ones under your care. Learning how to talk to your children more and to yell at them less may not eliminate those moments of lost control altogether, but they can make a difference in the way you communicate as a whole.

Take Care of Yourself

Managing the busy schedules of everyone in your household, staying on top of the chores required to run that household properly and making sure that everyone is fed on a regular basis doesn’t leave much time for parental pampering, but caring for yourself is an essential part of caring for your children. When you’re struggling with your own fatigue and are feeling hungry, stressed or overwhelmed, your patience is the first thing to go. Make sure that you carve out a bit of time for yourself over the course of the day, even if it’s just a few minutes. You’ll find that you’re better equipped to handle situations as they arise, and less likely to resort to raised voices when you reach the end of your proverbial rope.

Be Prepared

Embarking on a journey that hasn’t been properly planned or running with no real plan of action in place for how to handle your seemingly-endless to-do list is just asking for trouble. When you’re trying to get reluctant kids to get in the car or to stop dawdling and you’re attempting to keep to your hasty, ill-formed schedule or running at full tilt to get to the store before it closes, you’re naturally going to be running on empty. Just a bit of preparation in advance can help you create a structured schedule that still has a bit of wiggle room, leaving you under less stress and far less likely to scream at everyone around you when the pressure becomes too much to handle.

Learn Deep Breathing Techniques

Before you lose your temper and start shouting to get your point across, take a moment to stop and breathe deeply for a few seconds. When you hold your breath, you become even tenser and exhaust what little patience you have left. Take deep, slow breaths that you hold for a few seconds before exhaling, or even walk out of the room for a few seconds to regain your composure. As an added bonus, practicing deep breathing in front of your children models effective and productive ways of managing frustration. Remember that your kids will mimic almost everything you do, especially when they’re small. Seeing you take deep breaths and a short time out to keep your temper in check may rub off on them, and it will certainly help you to keep your emotions in check.

Set Clear Consequences, and Adhere to Them

Shouting happens when you’ve threatened your child with dire consequences if he doesn’t cease his misbehavior or follow directions, but continue to issue those empty threats rather than delivering on real consequences. Setting actual boundaries for your children and letting them know the consequences of choosing not to heed your warning is one thing, but you’ll have to follow through. Don’t allow yourself to be dissuaded from allowing those consequences to manifest, or your kids will just start to believe that your threats are empty.

Be Firm, Not Mean

There’s a difference between being firm and being downright mean, and you’ll have to learn to strike that balance if you’re looking to facilitate real and productive conversations with your children. No one wants to talk with someone they think is just going to be mean, even if that person is Mom or Dad. Make sure that you’re never crossing the line from stern into cruel territory, and make sure that you’re truly listening when your kids share their opinions.

It’s important to remember that yelling only breeds more yelling, which leads to major confrontations and hurt feelings. Trying to keep your temper under some semblance of control is a very real challenge, but it’s one that will make all of the difference in your household.

7 Reasons You Should Think Twice Before Putting a TV in Your Child’s Room

March 14th, 2013 by admin

When every child on the block has a television in her bedroom, explaining to your child that it’s not an option isn’t easy. Despite the increased risk of childhood obesity associated with the sedentary habits promoted by watching television, there are a staggering number of American children with unfettered access to television in their own bedrooms. It’s certainly easier to give into your child’s pleas for his own television when you’re faced with the prospect of being able to avoid cartoons when you’d rather be watching more grown-up programming, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the smartest choice in terms of your child’s wellbeing. If you’re considering the idea of putting a television in your child’s bedroom, these are seven of the reasons why you might want to think again.

  1. He’s Under the Age of Two – The American Academy of Pediatrics has a fairly hardline stance on television for children under the age of two: it’s not recommended at all. Limited screen time spent on quality programming is considered more acceptable for older children, but the AAP asserts that there are no developmental benefits for children under two years of age to be gleaned from watching television. Children so young also aren’t likely to request their own television, so providing him with one is essentially establishing a bad habit before he’s had the chance to acquire it on his own.
  2. You Want to Limit Screen Time – It may seem like a no-brainer, but installing a television set in your child’s bedroom when you’d like to limit his screen time will only lead to more problems in the long run. Despite your efforts, you’ll almost certainly find that enforcing a strict television schedule is nearly impossible when your child has a television in his room that he can flip on whenever he likes.
  3. Making the Bedroom a Distraction-Free Homework Zone – While some kids’ learning style makes it easier for them to complete their homework under the watchful eye of an adult who can limit distractions, others work more productively when they’re isolated. A television in the space that’s intended to be distraction-free to improve concentration is completely counterproductive, and should be carefully considered before a decision is made.
  4. Encouraging Active Play – Young children learn about the world through the exploration that comes with active play, and older ones need to be physically active in order to stay in shape. Zoning out in front of a television runs in direct opposition of these needs. If you want to encourage your children to be active and to play and explore the world through hands-on experiences, the first step is to make sure that there’s no glowing box in their bedrooms to lure them into passive entertainment.
  5. Preventing Sleep Problems – When kids watch television in bed, they can stay awake longer to see the resolution of a program or have trouble falling asleep due to the noise generated by the TV. Putting a television in a child’s room when he doesn’t have sleep problems can create them, and doing so when your child has existing ones can exacerbate them dramatically.
  6. Fostering an Environment of Togetherness – It’s easy to send your kids to their rooms to watch their own shows while you pursue your own diversions, but that really only leads to your family living separate lives under the same roof. Spending time together is an important part of building and maintaining familial bonds, something that you may find you do less of when everyone can wander away to watch their own television alone.
  7. Protection from Inappropriate Content – Parental controls do a great job of filtering out much of the inappropriate content on television, but they’re not infallible. The single most effective way of protecting your little ones from things they shouldn’t be seeing is to make sure that the only television they have access to is in a high-traffic, common area. That way, you’ll be able to easily monitor the programs they’re watching and make the appropriate judgment calls. Even networks that specialize in kids’ programming throughout the day tend to have adult-oriented late-night programming, which your child could easily be exposed to if he’s watching TV in his room instead of sleeping.

Ultimately, the decision to place a TV in your child’s room is one that only you can make. The individual needs and habits of your family are unique, and as a parent the final call is yours. It is a wise idea, however, to consider all sides of the debate before deciding which option is best for your family.

15 Rules New Soccer Moms Should Follow

February 26th, 2013 by admin

It’s exciting watching your kids play soccer for the first time. As they progress, you probably find yourself become more immersed in the game as well. Then, when they really get into it, it can become a little harrowing because you realize you are becoming a soccer mom. Don’t be ashamed of that title! Live it up and enjoy those games with your kids.

  1. Learn the Game – When you don’t understand the rules of the game, it’s more difficult to cheer your little ones on. So, get cracking on learning the basics of soccer. This will also come in handy if your child doesn’t completely understand it yet either. You can sit down with her and explain what the different positions are and what penalties mean.
  2. Don’t Take It More Seriously Than Your Kids – Almost nothing is worse than that parent standing on the sidelines yelling at the referee for a “bad call,” especially when the kid is beet red with embarrassment. If your child realizes that he stepped out of bounds or made an illegal play, he knows he should be sitting out or is deserving of that penalty. Shouting and drawing more attention to the mistake only breeds humiliation and resentment.
  3. Remember That You are Not the Coach – Always remember that you are not the coach. For one thing, the actual coach will appreciate it. There is a difference between cheering for your child and coaching her. When she’s out on the field, she needs to be able to hear what her coach is telling her so that she can run the correct play without worrying about disobeying you if your opinions don’t match up.
  4. Celebrate in Your Own Way – Everyone has a way to celebrate victories. Create one for yourself and your child. It’ll be a treasured memory when he gets older and looks back on his days as a young soccer player.
  5. Remember That Loss Happens – Keep in mind that every team loses at some point. When it happens to your favorite team of pint-sized players, don’t be harsh toward your child, the coach or the referee. It’s a fact of life that things don’t always go as planned. The loss of a game is also a great opportunity for helping kids understand that losing sometimes is a fact of life that can be overcome.
  6. Keep a First Aid Kit Handy – Soccer can be a bit brutal. Chances are, your kid will get kicked occasionally or will sustain a few cuts and bruises along the way. Make a habit of having a basic first aid kit nearby. Those multicolored bandages will come in handy.
  7. Clear Your Schedule – Brand new soccer moms may not realize how many afternoons, evenings and mornings can be filled with practices and games. So, make sure you keep your schedule open for all of the events and practices. You’ll want to be there for your kid as often as you can, and he will appreciate having you there.
  8. Get Used to Doing Laundry – No sport is clean, but soccer produces some of the dirtiest clothes imaginable. Grass stains, mud and sweat will cake your kid’s clothes. You’d better get used to doing the laundry a little more often than you did before you were a soccer mom.
  9. Ignore the Stereotypes – There may be a negative stereotype attached to “soccer moms,” but you don’t have to be that person. If you drive a van, so what? Don’t let the negativity of others get you down. Just remember, you are there to cheer on your child, not worry about what others think.
  10. Keep Snacks Handy – Running around will work up an appetite. Keep healthy snacks handy for your child to nibble on after a game or practice.
  11. Be the Hydrating Machine – Hydration is the key element to any form of exercise. Make sure your child stays properly hydrated throughout games and practices. No one wants to rush to the hospital for dehydration.
  12. Be Open to New Friends – You just met a whole new group of parents that you may never have met otherwise. Be open to becoming friends with them. You’ll be seeing each other a lot during the soccer season and you all share at least one common interest.
  13. Reinforce Rules about Not Kicking Balls Inside the House – If you don’t want broken lamps scattered around your house, you might want to reinforce any rules you may have about no kicking balls indoors. It’s easy on a rainy day for your child to be tempted to kick the ball around due to boredom, but there’s a time and a place for that, and it’s not inside.
  14. Encourage, Don’t Discourage – Always be a positive force for your child. If they lose a game, keep it upbeat. If they are called out of a game, turn it around so they can see the positive side of the situation.
  15. Think About the Off Season – Keep in mind that during the winter months, there are often indoor soccer teams available for kids to join. So, if your kid doesn’t have a winter sport she plays, just take her to an indoor soccer practice. She’ll love it!

30 Blogs for Parents Who Love to Throw Elaborate Kids’ Parties

February 12th, 2013 by admin

Whether you’re an event-coordinating enthusiast from way back who’s just starting to turn your attention to party planning for the pint-sized set or a parent who only cares for parties if the guest list is comprised of youngsters, there’s no denying the fact that putting together a shindig for kids is a blast. These 30 blogs entries are filled with interesting and innovative ideas for kids’ parties and can prove to be very valuable resources for all of your future soirées.

Party Planning

General party planning tips often fall to the wayside in favor of highlighting nifty, handcrafted decorative touches or the perfectly decorated cupcake. However, the basics can’t be forgotten. These five blog entries cover the essentials of party planning for the major events and holidays in a child’s life.

Cute Food

Turning party snacks and meals into edible art not only adds a touch of whimsy to any party, but can also encourage kids to be a bit more adventurous in terms of eating. The ideas in these five blog entries can help you get started on your quest to create the most adorable edibles on the block and can serve as inspiration for your own food art in the future.

Party Games

No party for the smaller set is complete without plenty of games and diversions. While free play definitely has its merits, a well-planned party with a general schedule that includes structured activities will allow you to maintain a bit more control over the tone of the party and stave off some feuds over toys and unstructured play. These five blog entries are a treasure trove of party game ideas and can help you find the perfect activities for your child’s fete.

Decoration Ideas

Part of the fun in planning a party is deciding on the theme and then decorating accordingly. If you’re a crafty parent who loves to turn out your own decorative creations, the ideas in these five blog entries can serve as a great jumping off point for inspiration. Remember: you’re only limited by your imagination!

DIY Party Favors

Kids love party favors, especially those that are a thematic match to the party they’re attending. The best way to make sure that your favors work with the chosen theme of your party is to make them yourself, a task you can complete with relative ease after perusing the ideas offered by these five bloggers.

Kids’ Party Etiquette

Part of planning the perfect party or accompanying your child to a party he’s invited to is making sure that the little guests or guest of honor that you’re responsible for have a basic idea of party etiquette. If you’re a bit in the dark about proper party manners yourself when it comes to shindigs for kids, these five blog entries can help you avoid any major breach of etiquette.

Top 10 Christmas Carols Kids Should Learn

November 28th, 2012 by admin

Christmas carols are a cornerstone of the holiday season, and hearing your favorite jingle can instantly fill you with holiday cheer. Everyone has their own personal favorite, and your kids will likely find themselves smitten with their own favorite songs.  Whether you’re just starting to teach your kids different carols or trying to put together a medley so that you can go caroling around the neighborhood this year, there is no shortage of songs to choose from. Here is a list of the top 10 Christmas carols kids should learn and a little of their history.

  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Robert May created the story Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the retailer Montgomery Ward in 1939.  May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks then turned the story into a song.  The song was recorded by the legendary Gene Autry and the song went to #1 on the music charts during the week of Christmas in 1949.  It has since sold over 25 million copies.  The story was later made into a cartoon in 1944 and the song was added in 1948.
  2. Frosty the Snowman This song happened in reverse of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  The song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1950 following the success of Rudolph.  A little golden book of Frosty the Snowman was adapted from the song in 1950.  The cartoon version came out in 1969.
  3. Away in the Manger – This song was first published in 1885 and the words have been attributed to Martin Luther, however, there is some skepticism about whether or not he really wrote the poem that became this song.  There is nothing hard and fast that says who really wrote it.  Charles Gabriel added the third verse of “Be near me Lord Jesus” in 1892.  It’s been voted one of the best carols ever written.
  4. Deck the Halls – A very old song, the tune dates back to the 16th century.  Mozart used the tune in Sonata No. 18.  The lyrics are believed to be American. 
  5. Silent Night – This German song was first performed in 1818 in Austria by father Joseph Mohr.  This song is so popular that it has been recorded by nearly every artist that has ever recorded a Christmas album.  There are various stories about this song’s history, but most think Mohr just needed another song he could play on his guitar.
  6. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Going back to 16th century England, this was a popular carol sung through the streets, and the wealthy used to give the carolers figgy puddings for their singing efforts.  This song was typically the last song sung.
  7. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – This traditional song was written by John Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first performed on a radio show in 1934.  The song was very popular, and has been recorded by many artists over the years.
  8. Jingle Bells – A well-known secular song, Jingle Bells was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1850.  Funny as it sounds, this song was actually written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas.  The song was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh.”
  9. Joy to the World – This song is based on Psalm 98 from the Bible and written by a hymn writer named Isaac Watts in 1719.  Watts actually wrote the hymn to celebrate Jesus’ return, not his birth.  Only the last part of Watts’ original lyrics are used today. 
  10. 12 Days of Christmas – Not a lot is known about the origins of this song.  It is believed to be French originally, but was sung a lot in England as well.  Common belief is that it may have started as a game, where one person started and then the next person had to say what the first person said and then add on to it.  The game continued until someone made a mistake.  The 12 days of Christmas start on Dec. 25th and end on Jan. 5th.  All of the gifts are believed to cost $24,263.18 in 2011.  The gifts have almost doubled in price since the 1984 estimated cost.

These 10 songs are some of the most well-known Christmas carols, and are beloved by many. Your kids will have a blast singing these popular favorites, and if they learn them well enough you might just have to take the kids Christmas caroling this year to show them off.

10 iPhone Apps Kids Love

November 7th, 2012 by admin

While limiting screen time is a very real concern for many parents, there are times when a child’s natural fascination with Apple’s powerful and popular iPhone mobile device can provide a much-needed diversion. The intuitive interface and ease of use offered by these 10 apps, all of which are available in the App Store, make them great options for harried parents who need a distraction for their children during long waits. Sometimes all that children need to prevent tantrums and misbehavior borne of frustration and restlessness is the fun that one or more of these apps can provide.

  1. Helicopter Taxi – By simulating a helicopter flight in the same room as your child through the use of the iPhone’s camera, the $1.99 Helicopter Taxi app delights and amazes. Don’t be surprised, however, if you find yourself furtively using this one yourself. The augmented reality effect is completely addictive, and the app runs no third-party advertising to distract from game play.
  2. Pocket Frogs – Kids can discover frogs with the Pocket Frogs app, then collect and breed them to create their own diverse collection. Habitats are customizable, allowing kids to put their own personal stamp on the game as they play. Free in the app store, Pocket Frogs also makes new in-game items available each day.
  3. Cut the Rope – Cut ropes to release candy into the ravenous Om Nom’s mouth, collecting gold star rewards and unlocking new levels as you progress. While this $0.99 app is directed at kids, it’s cute and engaging enough to make your own mass transit commute or long wait time a bit more bearable.
  4. Disney Fairies Fly – If a few Tinkerbell-themed movies simply aren’t enough to satisfy your little one’s craving for all things Fairy, this $4.99 app might be just what you’re looking for. Kids can explore changing seasons and help the fairies complete various tasks, while dodging dastardly birds and thistles along the way.
  5. Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History Collections – This app is sure to satisfy every dinosaur-crazy aspiring paleontologist. With images from the archives of the American Museum of Natural History, Dinosaurs helps kids learn about science while they entertain themselves.
  6. SmackTalk! – It’s no secret to any parent that the things kids love the most will almost always be the ones that adults find most irritating. This $0.99 app is no exception, as it allows kids to convert recordings of their own voices and chosen phrases into a distorted or altered version of themselves, with the effects ranging from the most high-pitched squeaks to unsettling low rumbles.
  7. Pianist – The full 88 keys of a piano are represented faithfully in this $3.99 app, which is heavily touted by the Apple corporation themselves. Budding musicians can experiment with music and begin to grasp the basics of playing the piano with a few taps of the screen. A word to the wise: invest in headphones.
  8. Pocket Pond – Kids can feed the native koi fish, create ripple effects, and observe the behavior of schools of fish by scaring them, feeding them or simply watching them move with this app. While the app is marketed as a relaxation app for adults, it’s also fascinating to young children and devoid of the character commercialization that often accompanies apps marketed to a younger audience.
  9. Alphabet Animals – Talking ABC Cards for Kids – These interactive flash cards keep toddlers and preschoolers happily engaged with three different sound effects for each, including a pronunciation of the animal’s name, the associated letter or an easy-to-grasp phrase that connects a specific animal to colors or places.
  10. Mad Libs – The same rollicking fun that you remember from your own childhood is now available to your youngsters with this free app, which packs all of the laugh-inducing power of its pen-and-paper predecessor. Help kids learn parts of speech and the basic rules of grammar while composing outlandish tales together through Mad Libs.

Though these apps are loved by kids and are extremely useful at keeping them occupied in some situations, it’s also important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that parents keep kids’ screen time to a manageable minimum. In addition to their ability to stave off any bad behavior resulting from boredom, using these apps together with your little one allows you to spend quality time with your youngsters, even when they’re absorbed in the features of your iPhone.

10 iPhone Apps That Foster Creativity in Kids

October 28th, 2012 by admin

The business innovators, problem solvers and success stories of the future are very likely to be children whose parents encouraged their creativity, doing everything that they could to nurture creative impulses throughout their little one’s childhood. Thankfully, the wildly popular iPhone not only manages a variety of tasks for busy parents, but also has an entire subsection of applications in the App Store that can help kids develop their creativity along the way.

  1. PlayART – Selected by USA TODAY as one of the Five Top Apps for Creative Kids and among the Guardian’s 50 Best Apps for Children, this $3.99 application lets kid create their own mashed-up versions of iconic artistic images. Pairing creativity-boosting play with a hands-on art history lesson, this app is a must-have for the parents of budding art buffs.
  2. Sketch Club While this $2.99 app is powerful enough for advanced artists of the adult variety, it’s also a great tool for youngsters. The variety of tools and options allows kids to customize their works of art fully, experimenting with brushes and tools to learn more about digital art creation on a larger scale. There is also an option to upload created projects for critique by other users, which you might want to disable before letting your little one loose.
  3. Auryn Ink – Watercolors are beautiful, intriguing and incredibly messy when they’re put into little hands. Thankfully, the creators of this $3.99 app have simulated the watercolor painting experience beautifully. You and your children can create entire watercolor paintings right on your iPhone!
  4. Kid Art – Simplified, stripped-down controls make this $0.99 app a great choice for little fingers, as it’s designed solely for their use. Intended to deliver as autonomous an artistic experience on your Apple device as possible for your little art aficionado, the bright colors and kid-favorite themes are sure to be a hit.
  5. Touch Sketch – Experimenting with a variety of effects and tools makes this $0.99 app a big hit with older kids, who may have less patience for the cartoon-influenced offerings of art apps directed at youngsters. Customizable and feature-packed, you may even find yourself using this one when the kids aren’t around.
  6. Kid Paint – Simple and intuitive, this free app is supported by ads but doesn’t allow in-app purchases so little ones won’t accidentally purchase paid apps while they create their masterpieces. Kid Paint also doesn’t allow third party data collection or location tracking, ensuring the safety of your sensitive personal information.
  7. Magic Painter – With a variety of brush and background styles to choose from, this winner of Macworld Asia’s 2012 Top One Prize is available for $2.99 in the app store and supports both English and Chinese languages. You can save your kids’ artwork to Photos for printing and preservation, so their hard work isn’t discarded after completion.
  8. Art App – Let your kids edit photos and create their own digital art with this free app, which allows for removal of the source image after completion to leave only the traced lines in the digital painting. Young children may need assistance with the opacity options, but older ones should be able to navigate Art App with relative ease.
  9. Kids Song Machine Lite – Kids that are actively involved in musical instruction have higher standardized test scores, are more likely to perform well academically, and tend to be more proficient in mathematics than their non-musical peers. This free app will let your budding virtuoso learn the lyrics to classic kids’ songs, perhaps sparking a lifelong love affair with music.
  10. Kids Musician – With a piano keyboard and seven percussion instrument sounds, Kids Musician makes it easy for little fingers to play classic songs right on your iPhone. Kids can begin to learn the basics of music with this $0.99 app, which could reveal previously hidden musical interests.

While these apps are great ways to keep your child engaged in an enriching, worthwhile activity on the go, they’re also effective tools for use at home. Using these apps together will not only help to encourage creative thinking in your child, but also forge stronger emotional bonds between the two of you as you share precious time together.