The Psychological Benefits of Games

I have an obsession with infographics. I have tried to steer away from reblogging all the lovely ones I keep finding. I think I have managed quite well. On my list of resolutions this year, however, I had written “Design my own Infographic”. I slaved over it for months and months. They never tell you how hard it is to narrow down to a topic. I have felt like a prospective PhD student, ideating pitches.  After all that hair-pulling and day dreaming, I’ve finally finished.

Here is the finished product. Feel free to share and leave your feedback.

The Psychological Benefits of Games

A Picture Paints a 1000 Words

corinnebjacob:

A lovely post from a dad blogger about picture books that got his daughter into sports! A must read for everyone trying to impress gender neutrality into their parenting.

Originally posted on NFL Fan Base:

I often fret about the influence stereotypes have on my kids. There’s only so much you can do as a parent – only so much you can lecture, only so much you can protect. While your support and love towards them will always be unrelenting, the messages that society puts out are sometimes confidence shattering. There is a certain way you have to be, certain subject you have to study, and certain career paths you have to tread. We’re all proponents of equality across genders and sexes but there are some things that are so ingrained in us, we forget we are gender policing subconsciously.

Getting my little girl into sport was easy in the early days. We are an active family and so playing outdoors, having a casual game in the park is normal for us. She was a natural in whatever activity she picked up and I’m aware…

View original 312 more words

Coming Up with a Winning Science Fair Project Idea

So your child is participating in the school science fair, and you’re now trying to help come up with science fair project ideas. Irrespective of whether your child was forced to take part in the science fair or even if science is a much-disliked subject, you can turn the situation around with a winning science fair project idea. Here are six tips to share with your child to ensure (s)he enjoys working on the project, learns a lot in the process and maybe even ends up with a prize!

"Science Fair, 09" by Rich Bowen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Science Fair, 09” by Rich Bowen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1. Begin Early

The science fair is a long way away, and you figure you have more than enough time to come up with a good science fair project idea and see it through to the end. Great! That’s no reason to put off starting on the project. You never know what complications may arise once you actually begin. Even the seemingly simple task of coming up with a good idea may take a lot more time than expected. The last thing you want is to find out that you have only one week left for the project, and an understandably limited choice of ideas to choose from. With more time in hand, you have the liberty of choosing a topic that truly interests you, spending enough time to do research and understand the topic in detail, and collecting the necessary information in a well thought-out and organized manner. And if you’ve got your eyes on the prize, each of these factors will help differentiate your project from the other good ones on display. Believe me, the judges can tell.

2. Choose a topic that really interests you

The right way to go about finding a good science fair project idea is to begin with your interests. Don’t read through a list of ideas and see whether any of them appeal to you. Rather, take some time to think about what kind of topics get you excited. It doesn’t even have to have a direct link to science. What things make you sit up and pay attention? Sports? Cats? Building things with your own hands? Narrow your list down to a few of your favorite topics and spend some time thinking about them. Most probably you will have to do some additional reading on the topic to come up with a question that interests you. The Google Idea Springboard is a great tool to help you out in this area. You’re likely to spend a few weeks if not months working on your project, so having a topic that you love will keep you interested till the end.

3. Come up with a good question that you can work with

A good science fair project idea begins with a good question. How do you define a good question? Firstly, it should not be a question that has already been answered by someone else. If you design a science fair project around the question ‘Which color light do plants grow best in?’, it is unlikely that you or anyone else will learn anything new from it. The experimental procedure and results for such a project can easily be found on the internet. Even if you do decide to do a project based on a science fair project idea you found online, make sure to change the question and ask something new so that you are experimenting and doing research on a slightly different area. Secondly, the question should truly interest you. Don’t adopt a question that someone else finds interesting or exciting. Use your ‘favorite topics’ list, spend time playing with different ideas in your head and only settle for a question that you would genuinely like to know the answer to. This interest will completely change the way you approach the project.

4. Consider the experimental procedure involved

Remember, while trying to settle on your science fair project idea, that you have to come up with a fool proof method for collecting data to answer your question. Consider the kind of time, energy and resources required to set up your experiment, and realistically evaluate whether it can be accomplished with what is available to you. Also check your experiment for any flaws. Is the data that you are collecting quantifiable? Is there any subjectivity involved? Have you considered and taken care of external factors that may affect your results? If you do not know the right answers to these questions, or how to design your experiment accordingly, you will need to spend some time understanding how to set up a scientific experiment.

5. Feel free to change your question based on your background research

It is entirely possible that as you go about collecting the information you need for your project, you realize that your question isn’t a very good one, or that you think of a better and more interesting one. Feel free to change your question according to your findings. This is where point #1 becomes even more important.

6. Make sure you understand all the concepts involved

Don’t worry about finding a topic that sounds highly complicated or scientific. In fact, the more simple your topic, the better you will be able to work with it. Nobody is expecting Ph.D. level research from you. More importantly, you will find the research and data collection far more difficult if you haven’t fully understood the topic yourself. Feel free to ask for help from an adult or the internet in order to learn more about the topic, but when it comes to the project, do all the thinking and analysis yourself. This will help you immensely when it comes to answering the judges’ questions about your project, and your in-depth understanding will show.

As long as you keep these tips in mind, you can be sure to come up with a science fair project idea that will win you over, impress your audience and maybe even tip the judges’ scales in your favor.

Playing and Learning With Straws

Originally posted on Home School On A Dime:

One of my favorite activities this week was one I chose to do with Raspberry Bug.


First, we started with brightly colored straws and a pair of safety scissors. We had fun as I guided her hand (she’s only two and a half and can’t do it on her own yet) and cut the straws into smaller pieces. It was funny; she giggled as the pieces hit the small bowl. At first, they were all closed up on the ends from being pinched by scissors. As they opened up, they “popped” and some flew rather far. An unexpected surprise, even for me!

Next, I pulled a shoestring out and showed her how to lace the “beads” we made on to make jewelry.


She had a great deal of focus and concentration on this one. I think it’s the first time she’s succeeded at being able to fit beads on all…

View original 297 more words

Teaching The Value Of Money

corinnebjacob:

Teaching money to kids is one of the most difficult things to do and yet if you start at a young age, you’re setting your child up for the development of all sorts of good habits. Here’s a really simple yet effective activity to give you that edge!

Originally posted on The Pinterested Parent:

IMG_5417They say “Money can’t buy you happiness.” This may be true, but it sure can buy you a lot of things that make you happy. People love money. Even at an early age the love of money begins. My daughter may not comprehend the value of money, but she sure does know that she likes it. Whenever there is spare change lying around, her face lights up & she hoards it for her piggy bank.

Mai is in her “I want that” phase. We can barely leave the house without it. At the grocery store I hear it echoing down every aisle. “I want the Goldfish crackers.” “I want the funny juice box.” Alright, but you’re buying today. It is funny, she never does.

Children’s brands are clever. They advertise everywhere. Luckily, we do not watch much television that contains commercials, but those marketers find a way to sneak in a…

View original 306 more words

Dear Madam Alien

I love your car. I wish that we had that kind of transport. Google maps could have a UFO option just next to its car, bus, train and stick man options. How cool would that be? Then we can holiday whenever we feel like it instead of only once or twice a year. I bet you have seen planets we haven’t discovered yet. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be allowed to. I heard Pluto was a planet again. Were you happy about that?

I wonder if you look down on Earth and find us weird. I know I would. So many people wearing different types of clothes, working different kinds of jobs, talking different languages, believing different things. We fight all the time and we love all the time. If you watch us long enough, I know that you will love us. As strange as we are, we will grow on you.

For example, if you look down this month you will find us all wearing different costumes. You might wonder why people are walking around like skeletons and animals. You may wonder why little humans dressed as monsters go from door to door collecting sweeties that are obviously bad for them. When you come to visit, I will give you my collection of Mars and Galaxy Bars. I bet you will find that funny. I wonder if you have a Halloween in your planet. If they do, wouldn’t it be nice if they dressed up as humans?

Mum makes us give her ideas of family Halloween costumes at the end of September. I told her she and dad should be bread and the three of us can be bacon, lettuce and tomato. Have you had a sandwich? It’s one of the things that makes Earth special.

Robbie says aliens are actual super intelligent, time travelling humans. If that’s true, you already know why Earth is so great. But here it is, just in case you’ve forgotten.

Hope you will visit soon.

This is the post my DD wrote up for the blog. She has a journal where she practices her writing. One day when she was stuck for ideas, I told her to write a letter, as a prompt. She now writes letters to random people and the results are amazing, even if I am a bit biased myself! Hope you’ve enjoyed this experimental first post!

4 Ideas to Keep Kids Occupied at Family Gatherings

For most of us, family gatherings are once-in-a-blue-moon events that take a lot of planning and coordination, just so we can spend a few precious hours with loved ones. If you are a parent, you definitely want to make sure your toddler is reasonably well behaved and productively engaged at the party. Here are four useful ideas to keep the kids busy and happy next time you host a family get-together.

Crafts and kids’ activities

Depending on the available space, have a dedicated craft/activity room where the kiddos can happily work on crafts, puzzles, building blocks, coloring, toy-making and other activities that require little or no adult supervision. If possible, enlist an adult helper to keep an eye on the kids. Easy-to-make crafts such as paper airplanes, necklaces, scrapbooks and doorknob hangers can also serve as keepsakes or goodie bag items. Whatever activity you choose, make sure there are plenty of supplies at hand so there’s no squabbling or whining.

Fun kids’ games

There’s nothing like a game or two to keep the youngsters occupied while the adults are having fun. For an indoors party, try classic children’s games such as bowling, Hangman, Duck Duck Goose, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Simon Says, and so on. For outdoor games, let the kids run loose with relay races, balance games, poolside games, hide and seek, etc. Consider the amount of preparation required for each game and as far as possible, do all the prep work ahead of time. Keep the kids’ ages in mind while choosing the game – younger kids enjoy simpler games with few rules, while older ones appreciate a certain amount of complexity. After all, the idea is to keep them engaged!

Preschool worksheets

While I do not recommend indiscriminate use of worksheets for kids, there are times when these free printables come in handy, especially when it comes to keeping tiny preschoolers busy. Online preschool worksheets cover a variety of interesting topics – healthy eating and physical activity, coloring, dot-to-dot, reading, alphabet, critical thinking, etc. Since preschoolers have notoriously short attention spans, you’d be better off downloading simple one-page worksheets that can be completed in a few minutes. The kids can then move on to a different topic or subject without getting bored. Like games, preschool worksheets combine fun and learning in one innovative package.

Books and movies

Visit your local library to find children’s storybooks and picture books. Once the party begins, have an adult read to the kids and encourage them to invent and exchange stories. Lots of hot chocolate (or iced tea) and munchies can keep them going. Or you could play a selection of kids’ movies (The Wizard of Oz, Toy Story, How to Train your Dragon) with plenty of popcorn and cold drinks doing the rounds. Either way, your party is definitely going to be a tantrum-free success!

A combination of or more of the above ideas will make your family gathering a smooth and stress-free affair.