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Archive for the 'Kids & Tweens' Category


The Jonas Brothers star in The Disney Channel looks to have another major hit on its hands with “Camp Rock.” The hot new show, which debuted Friday night, distills all the same tween-pleasing aspects of “High School Musical” into a summer camp-themed movie, then adds the insanely popular Jonas Brothers. So how hot is hot? Some 8.9 million viewers tuned in for the premiere – making the show’s debut more popular even than the original HSM airing – and the show just got hotter as the night went on. Kids must have been madly texting because by the show’s last half hour, another million had tuned in too.

So now we’re really curious. Did you see it? What did you think? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and chime in with your critique.

Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, TV | No Comments »

SLEEPOVERS: When do you say ‘yes’?

The story about the Danville teens who were sleeping in the street has me thinking about how often kids sleep over at each other’s houses these days. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Parenting Issues, Teens | No Comments »

ECO-LUNCH BAGS a Middle Schooler’s Bright Idea

Eco-friendly lunch bags (Susan Pollard, Contra Costa Times)
We love it when kids get bright ideas, and Adrienne Boukis’ eco-brainstorm was just brilliant. A few days ago we wrote about the Walnut Creek seventh grader’s hot pink, eco-friendly lunch bags (they come in taupe, black, navy and neon green too), but here’s the backstory — and then the very cool fast forward.

Between chip bags and sandwich wrappers, the average youngster generates 67 pounds of lunch bag debris a year – and that really bothered young Adrienne. She didn’t want to tote a lunchbox but balked at disposables, so she asked her mother if she’d run across any alternatives — something like the classic brown bag, but reusable, washable and, well, cool. So her mother, Rosalind, whipped up a little bag out of recyclable material, popped in Adrienne’s lunch and sent her off to school.
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Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008
Under: Cuisine, Kids & Tweens | 1 Comment »

GET Thee to a Campfire

Summer campLanyards, s’mores, Hamlet … here’s a twist on summer camp offerings. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is hosting two-week day camps in Alameda, Berkeley, Fremont, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Walnut Creek this summer. The camps, which include drama coaching, stagecraft and a full Shakespearean production, meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, with sessions for kids ages 7-13 and for teens. Big fun with the Bard.

If your kid is really into thespian pursuits, you might also want to try Cal Shakes’ summer offerings, which include a five-week conservatory session in Lafayette, a condensed two-week session in Oakland, and two-week camps for beginning dramateurs in El Cerrito and Oakland. Get thee onstage!

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

DOODLE 4 Google

Doodle 4 Google contestantYou know how Google changes its logo so it looks Mondrian-like or Monet-esque on artists’ birthdays, or the OOs suddenly sprout tulips on the first day of spring? Well, the tech giant has been holding a “Doodle 4 Google” contest for kids. It’s time to vote for the finalists and we’ve got to say, those are some awesomely talented kids! The image to your left is from the 4th to 6th grade category, but there are tons more. Check ’em out, then cast a vote. Or rather, have your kids do it. The national winner goes live on the Google homepage May 22.

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

FAB FIVE: Parenting Survival Tips

Breaking down barriers (illus. by Beto Alvarez) Parenting teen and tween daughters brings its own special joys and challenges. So here, from one of our favorite parenting experts, Ksenija Olmer from the John Muir Women’s Health Center, are five tips to help parents of adolescent girls survive the rollercoaster ride:

1. Remember this too, shall pass. (And when it does, try to be the better person and not drag up the embarrassing moments.)

2. Understand that your daughter saves the worst for you because she knows you will love her despite anything. Your friends and neighbors, her teachers are telling you what a wonderful, polite, helpful girl she is. Don’t say, “Are you sure you didn’t mix her up with someone else?” Smile and glory in the fact that, despite your fears, she is growing up to be a responsible member of our society. She is successful in presenting herself in the best light outside the home, so she can fall apart when she makes it through the door.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Under: Advice, Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

MILEY CYRUS: Another role model tarnished

People Miley CyrusIt’s beginning to sound like a broken record. A teen idol reveals a bit too much in photographs that end up before the public eye. Quickly, they shift into damage control with an “I’m oh-so sorry” apology. They made a mistake. It was poor judgment. They will learn from this and grow. Etc. Etc.

Miley Cyrus seemed different. She said the right things and was Disney’s poster child as pop-star/TV star Hannah Montana. Until last week, she had come under fire only once, for forgetting to wear her seat belt. Her parents seemed to do an excellent job of keeping her grounded and away from the bad element of Hollywood teen-dom. Then, borderline photos of Cyrus — showing off part of a green bra in one — hit the Internet last week. Now, she’s also apologizing for a phoot shoot in Vanity Fair’s June issue in which she bares her back while holding a silk sheet over her naked chest.

All of this leads us to one question: What happened to all the teen role models? Take a moment to come up with a list of 10. You can start with… Well, maybe… OK, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ashley Tisdale is about the only one coming to mind, and frankly, after Cyrus’ recent stumble, I’m holding my breath on her, too. Sad, isn’t it?

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Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008
Under: children's music, Kids & Tweens, Movies, TV | 3 Comments »

KIDS’ MUSIC: Gunnar, Giants & More

They Might Be Giants CD A note from one of our favorite moms – and today’s guest blogger – Trine Gallegos:

Boy, oh, boy, was the Easter Bunny good to us. In six-year-old Sofia’s basket were four new children’s CDs, including “Special Kind of Day” by Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck; “I’m Growing” by Gunnar Madsen; “Fast & Feisty” by Princess Katie & Racer Steve; and “Here Comes the 123s” by They Might Be Giants.

Sofia, a kindergartener at Belshaw Elementary in Antioch, loves ’em all, but fell extra hard for “Fast & Feisty” and “Here Comes The 123s.” “Fast” is our second Princess Katie & Racer Steve CD, and again is filled with preppy little tunes that don’t talk down (or is that sing down) to young music listeners. In between toe-tapping hits such as “Hey Claire” and “We Dress Ourselves” are four “skits,” a bit of fun storytelling.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
Under: children's music, Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

GAME ON Too Long

Video game controllerIn this morning’s Times, we look at video game and internet addiction, kids who get iCrazed and how to spot the warning signs before it turns unhealthy. Wii, iPhones and all the technological gadgetry our kids use today are powerful tools for connecting people 24/7 — and for parents who dive into this technology, it can be a wonderful way to connect with your tweens and teens too. But tech toys can also be tools of addiction. Read the story (there’s an accompanying piece on the toddler tech craze, and a column by Times games columnist Gieson Cacho about his own addiction to Everquest, and we’ve put the warning signs here on the blog after the jump), then click “comments” and weigh in with your thoughts. Do you worry about your kids’ overuse of video games or tech toys? Do you set limits for them?
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Posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Technology & Video Games, Teens | 2 Comments »

BRATZ Appeal?

Bratz doll Those pouty-lipped, fishnet-stockinged Bratz dolls are no strangers to controversy, so when Parenting Magazine asked moms to weigh in on whether dolls have gotten too sexy, we weren’t completely surprised to see Bratz take some heat. It was the quantity of heat that was striking – some 82 percent gave an emphatic yes and added such comments as “Parents should ask, ‘Do we want our children to start dressing like this?’ Because allowing them to have toys like this says that it’s OK.” On the other side, one mother said, “It’s not that I don’t wince when I see dolls like Bratz, but if you think the toy your kid plays with will make her promiscuous later, you might want to think more deeply about the issue.” Another asked where the outrage was over overly macho boy dolls. What do you think? Take a sec and click a side, or hit “comments” and weigh in at length.

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | 2 Comments »