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Archive for the 'Kids & Tweens' Category

GIRL SCOUTS Chat with the Space Station

There’s more to Girl Scouts than Thin Mints and Do-si-do cookies. Just got this video clip of a very cool phone call between 100 Illinois Girl Scouts and Dr. Sandra Magnus, an International Space Station astronaut and former Girl Scout – watch it and enjoy! Click here to read Dr. Magnus’ space blogs too, and over here to find out when the Space Station and various spy satellites(!) will be flying over your house.

We never got to do anything this cool back when I was a Brownie, but I loved those campouts and s’mores. How about you? What’s your fondest recollection of Girl Scouts?

Posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2009
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

What would you do if Michael Phelps were your son?

If Michael Phelps were a teenager and your son, what would you do if you caught him smoking pot? New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey says USA Swimming made the wrong call.
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Posted on Friday, February 6th, 2009
Under: Kids & Tweens, Sports | No Comments »

CREEK Kids Care Craft Boutique

Volunteers (Gary Meader Illustration)Now this is a sweet event! If you’re starting to think about holiday shopping, check out this Sunday’s crafts boutique held by Creek Kids Care, a group of Walnut Creek tweens and teens from Walnut Creek Intermediate and Las Lomas High schools. All the craft items – handmade stationery, framed artwork and touchstone magnets – were made by concerned, hopeful Walnut Creek children and teens “who believe their time, creativity and effort can make a difference in the world.” The proceeds are being used to help the local homeless community and fully fund a preschool in Zimbabwe that serves kids orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This Sunday’s event runs from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2008
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AMERICAN GIRL Says Ta-Ta To Samantha

American Girl Samantha ParkingtonThe fictitious world can be a harsh place. Beloved American Girl Samantha Parkington, star of several AG books and innumerable childhood fantasies, is being “archived,” a euphemism for retired, back burnered or “gone to the great doll heaven in the sky.” Samantha learns a lesson and gets a surprise, all right. We are bereft … and more than a little suspicious that this is just a way to get people to buy the doll, taffeta holiday skirt and velveteen coat right this minute, before it’s too late. Sigh. Oh well, as long as they don’t touch Kirsten, I guess we’re OK.

Meanwhile, AG is collecting Samantha stories from young fans. Follow the link and add yours. Or click “comments” and share your Samantha grief right here. We’ll understand…

Posted on Monday, October 13th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: College Cash, Mean Girls and More

Playground “College Financial Planning”
Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Martinez Adult Ed Center. College financial planning workshop. ($19)

“Air Quality & Children’s Health Forum”
Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., Benicia High School Theater. A Benicia First public forum on community concerns about air quality, air pollution and children’s health, with panelists Ira Tager, MD., UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Director of the Prevention Research Center; Paul Roberts, Sonoma Technologies, Inc.; and Jenny Bard, RN, American Lung Association of California.

“Booties Camp: Language and Brain Development”
Sept. 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland. Second in a series of five “Baby Basics” classes for new and expectant parents on breastfeeding, diapering, baby-proofing, time management and other issues. (Register with Bananas.)
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Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2008
Under: Contest, Kids & Tweens, Parenting Issues | No Comments »

BACK TO SCHOOL: 9 Ways to Fix the Morning Rush

Morning Routine (Hector Casanova illus., MCT Direct) Shifting children from the lazy days of summer to rigid school schedules is a challenge for most families. It’s hard enough when young sleepyheads don’t hear the alarm or wake up just enough to turn the ringer off before going back to sleep – we’ve also had a couple of sleepwalkers who actually went for a walk with the clock and left it somewhere.

But add in the frantic rush to get washed, dressed and fed, load the backpack, pack the lunch and get out the door and you’ve got all the elements of a nightmarish morning. So we asked some experts for help in beating the morning rush.

“Your child is not being a problem,” said parenting expert Bonnie Harris, author of “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With.” “Your child is having a problem. When you shift your perception in this way, you can begin to address the underlying causes of the problematic morning behaviors.”

1. ID the problem: Some children aren’t morning people, others have trouble with transitions, and some get too easily distracted to focus on more than one instruction at a time. Make sure you’re solving the right problem.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

PARENT POLL: Grand Theft Auto or Raging Kegger?

Video game controller We are just reeling over something our buddy Danny at Gamester discovered this morning. According to a survey by the family-centric game site What They Play, parents are more concerned about their older teens playing “Grand Theft Auto,” than about their exposure to booze, violence or porn. Ahem. Supposedly, the poll results “demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their children’s media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex.” Um, no. No, it doesn’t. It demonstrates that parents are nuts. Read Danny’s hilarious take, then click “comments” and tell us: What would you worry about most at a 17-year-old’s slumber party? Kids watching porn, smoking dope, drinking beer or playing Grand Theft Auto?

Posted on Monday, August 11th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Parenting Issues, Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

COLLEGE BOARD Launching 8th Grade Exam

sat The College Board, the multi-gazillionaires who already rake in the big bucks on the SAT, PSAT and assorted other high stakes exams, is set to launch an eighth grade college assessment exam in 2010. The reasoning, says Wayne Camara, a College Board exec, is that college-bound kids need to take rigorous high school courses from the get-go, and how else will they know? “By the time they’re taking the PSAT,” he told the LA Times, “it’s much too late to determine whether they should be taking algebra in the eighth grade, biology, and other important gatekeeper classes needed for college.”

Yeah, right, say critics. The College Board is pushing “admissions frenzy” into junior high because their rivals launched an 8th grade exam first. Nearly a million middle schoolers took ACT’s Explore exam in 2005-06. And now the SAT makers are “locked in a death match” with ACT, says Paul Kanarek, who heads up SoCal’s Princeton Review test prep service.

We’d like to weigh in with a couple of other thoughts. First, there are already plenty of crazed families who try to get a leg up on the competition by subjecting their children to the PSAT in middle school. This is merely a re-branding, a golden opportunity to guilt parents into paying not just for the PSAT and SAT — and the specialized prep courses that accompany each — but a whole new set of pre-PSATs and test prep services. And you know what comes next, right? The PPPPPPPPSAT, the essential college assessment exam for kindergartners.
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Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2008
Under: College Apps & Angst, Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

NEW BARBIE: Is it sexy or ‘filth’?

barbieUh-oh, Mattel has shaken up conservative groups with its latest incarnation of Barbie. Representing DC Comics’ Black Canary, Barbie sports a black leather jacket, fish-net stockings and black, leather high-heeled boots. It’s part of Mattel’s Black Label line of dolls and designated by the Barbie Collector Web site as “For the adult collector, age 14 and older.”

showgirl barbieThat disclaimer doesn’t cut it with Christian Voice of the United Kingdom — “Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far. A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible – it’s filth.”

Personally, I don’t think she looks any more questionable than Showgirl Barbie, with her pink feathers and fish-net stockings. And at $40, the Black Canary Barbie isn’t the type of doll that parents are going to let their kids take out of the box to play with. What do you think?

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
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BULLIES as Victims?

Bullies (Illustration by Gaylen Floy/MCT)Apparently, it’s not just bullies’ victims who are at risk. It’s the bullies too, according to a just-released Yale School of Medicine study. According to a story in today’s New York Times, researchers found heightened risks for suicidal thoughts among bullied children — and their aggressors as well. Children who beat up other kids, physically or emotionally, are two to nine times more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts than youngsters in the general population, and young female bullies are at the high end of the spectrum. What’s unclear is whether bullying behavior increases the suicide risk, or whether suicidal kids are more likely to become bullies.

Your thoughts?

Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »