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February 25 2014

February 14 2014

10 Adorably Confusing Valentines Made by Kids
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Kids speak from the heart — for better or worse. They're confusing, and sweet and painfully honest, especially to their parents

So it shouldn't surprise you that their written displays of affection are equally over the top. You can't help but wonder what exactly was going through these kid's heads as they wrote these masterpiece Valentine's Day cards

These Valentines spread across the emotional spectrum. One thing's for sure: They're definitely an improvement from the holiday's usual selection of boring and sappy cards. Read more...

More about Pics, Lists, Kids, Valentines, and Valentine S Day

February 10 2014

Remember Fraggle Rock? Its Spinoff Is Coming to Hulu
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Those lively green creatures from 1980s puppet series Fraggle Rock are making a comeback — as animated characters on Hulu

Hulu will unleash Doozers, an animated series from the minds behind Fraggle Rock, Dinosaur Train and Yo Gabba Gabba, on April 25. The streaming service announced on Monday it had acquired the show from the Jim Henson Company and DHX Media.

At first glance of the show's trailer, Doozers feels like Bob the Builder meets Rolie Polie Olie. The 52-episode series is aimed at preschool children and will appear on Hulu Kids Read more...

More about Entertainment, Tv, Hulu, Kids, and Animation

February 06 2014

15 Kids Who Clearly Dressed Themselves
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Kids wear the darndest things. They love to mismatch, over-accessorize, dress up, dress down, or sometimes dress in ways that you couldn't have imagined

While some of us feel intimidated by a pop of color, these experimental tykes let their little imaginations run wild with all the fashion possibilities provided in their (or your) closet. And who are we to stifle their originality, even if their choices may be a little eccentric? They probably won't even notice their regrettable fashion decisions until way later in life.

Until then, lets encourage all children express themselves like these pint-sized independent spirits. Read more...

More about Lists, Kids, Parenting, Funny, and Cute Kids

January 28 2014

Children's Book 'Hello Ruby' Teaches 4- to 7-Year-Olds How to Code
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As a teenager, Finnish programmer Linda Liukas had a major crush on Al Gore. She wanted to share her passion for the then-vice president with a fan page. Without the pre-made templates that Tumblr and WordPress now place at our fingertips, she taught herself HTML and CSS so she could build a site from scratch.

While building that website, Liukas fell in love with coding. A decade later, she created Hello Ruby

The Kickstarter-funded book, which aims to teach programming principles to children, reached its $10,000 funding goal within hours of its launch, and 24 hours later had amassed $100,000 in donations. The project hit the $200,000 benchmark Jan. 28, with 24 days to go in the campaign Read more...

More about Books, Kids, Children, Features, and Programming

January 25 2014

Build an Engineering Masterpiece With Leftover Soda Straws
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A new Kickstarter project meets children at the intersection of education and engineering, with a little whimsy thrown in.

Strawbees are colorful, key-shaped bits of recycled plastic designed to link straws together to create three-dimensional structures. Each piece has a notched flat end, which you can insert into a quarter-inch plastic straw, and a circular head, which acts as a connector and pivot point for multiple straws and pieces

Essentially, they're a low-tech version of the TinkerToys you played with as a kid — and just like TinkerToys, they bury the educational experience of designing and prototyping complex structures beneath the facade of play. Read more...

More about Kids, Features, Sustainability, Engineering, and Toys

January 17 2014

Proof the Next Great App Could Come From a Kid
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Are kids these days really as hopeless and self-absorbed as we claim? Perhaps not.

The next wave of tech extraordinaires seem to get younger and younger, and the app-creating students mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg

Check out the apps below from impressive, pint-sized developers, who’ve accomplished much more before high school than most people more than twice their age

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Flickr, Stephen Chin Read more...

More about Mobile, Apps, Kids, Features, and Tech

December 31 2013

Cool Dad Brightens Kids' Day With Interactive Lunch Notes
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As the last in his family to leave for the day, "the Dad" of parenting blog And I'm the Dad is also designated to pack everyone's lunches

When his son was going through a particularly rough time, the Dad decided to kick his lunch notes up a notch to try and brighten his day. Looking at the whimsical notes, we can only assume they did the trick. In addition to his son, recipients now include the Dad's daughter and wife

Deciding what to wear in the morning is difficult enough, so how does the Dad come up with original notes day after day?

"The notes are influenced by several things," he told Mashable (the Dad declined to disclose his real name). "Sometimes it's a topic we discussed that morning or the night before. Other times, it might be along a theme, like the alphabet series I did for my daughter, who is in kindergarten and still learning to read." Read more...

More about Photos, Kids, Family, Cute, and Lunch

December 09 2013

Pug Reenacting 'Home Alone' Is No Filthy Animal
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Macaulay Culkin was pretty adorable as the resourceful kid left to his own devices in Home Alone, but this new version takes the cute factor up a notch.

The Pet Collective uploaded this abbreviated reenactment to their YouTube account and not only cast the four-legged furballs, they also found a cute kid to narrate the whole thing with his own synopsis of the movie's plot

Pug-Kevin does lack some of the original's enthusiasm— how anyone could sleep though the tarantula scene is beyond us — but with a face like that, who cares? You just want to rub his belly and feed him all the plain cheese pizza he wants. Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Kids, Christmas, Pug, and Film

October 31 2013

Mother's Art Takes Her Toddler on Whimsical Adventures
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Artist Queenie Liao's toddler son Wengenn has taken quite a few adventures in his young lifetime. He's tamed lions, played Cupid and fought ghosts — all from the comfort of his living room floor.

Since Wengenn was born, California-based Liao has placed her napping child at the center of fantastical scenes created from everyday items, like clothes and stuffed animals

Inspired by artist Adele Enersen's own work of a similar nature, Liao set out to recreate beloved fairy tales with her sleeping child as the main character. She titled her photo series, "Wengenn in Wonderland." Read more...

More about List, Pics, Lists, Kids, and Art

October 29 2013

The iPad Era Hasn't Turned Your Kids Into Screen-Time Zombies Yet
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Here’s fresh data to fan the flames of a perennial parenting freak out: children and screen time. A new study released Monday by Common Sense Media details the way young children consume electronic media, based on a large national survey of children under eights years old. Yes, everyone’s kids are obsessed with smartphones. The three most striking findings:

Mobile Devices Are Popular — Just Not as Popular as TV: 38% of children under two have used a tablet, smartphone or other mobile devices. In general, the use of mobile devices is exploding. Three-quarters of households with young children now have some kind of mobile device, and 72% of children have gotten their hands on one. That seems to indicate that there is only a 4% chance that you can own a smartphone or tablet and keep your toddler away from it. Read more...

More about Television, Kids, Smartphone, Children, and Parenting

October 28 2013

Samsung's Tablet for Tots Comes Fully Loaded
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Samsung is getting ready to launch the latest tablet in its lineup, but its target demographic is certainly different this time around.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids is a 7-inch Android device designed for both adults and children, allowing users to switch from standard to kids' mode. Although Samsung first announced the tablet in August, it revealed the launch date and price on Monday: The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids will hit markets in the United States starting Nov. 10 for $229.99. Pre-sales begin Nov. 1.

The young demographic for the new Galaxy Tab is based on Samsung's statistic that 70% of tablet owners share the devices with their children. The kid-friendly tablet comes with parental controls and is loaded with educational, entertainment and gaming apps, including Fruit Ninja and Disney's Toy Story: Smash It!. It's also equipped with Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Read more...

More about Mobile, Kids, Samsung, Tablets, and Samsung Galaxy Tab

October 25 2013

E-Cigarette Brand Apologizes for Advertising in Kids iPad Game
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British American Tobacco has apologized for running an ad for its Vype e-cigarette in an iPad game aimed at children.

The ad drew attention after Graham Brown-Martin, a UK-based author, tweeted a pic of the ad:

.@ecigaretteforum agreed, so over to @batpress why are you advertising to kids via iPad games? pic.twitter.com/aVstTSrFPM

— Graham Brown-Martin (@GrahamBM) October 25, 2013

BAT quickly apologized with the following tweet:

We've found a problem with the advertising of Vype. We apologise and have pulled all online Vype advertising. We're investigating the cause

— BAT Press Office (@BATPress) October 25, 2013 Read more...

More about Advertising, Videogames, Kids, Ipad, and Business

October 10 2013

One Parent's Losing Battle Against "TV Time"

Google may not be making us stupid, but it's sure as heck making it harder for me to keep my kids off the TV. Or, rather, the computer, phone or tablet that today doubles as a TV. Growing, I remember "that rich kid" who had a TV in his room. Now seemingly every child in the US and Western Europe has scads of "TVs" at her disposal.

Which makes parenting really, really hard.

TV Is So 20th Century

On the plus side, according to a recent report from eMarketer, TV time, at least for adults, actually declined in 2013 to four hours and 31 minutes. The bad news? Time spent with other digital screens increased to five hours and 16 minutes each day. 

When it comes to kids, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, things aren't much better:

  • Roughly 66% of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of two hours a day
  • Kids under age six watch roughly two hours of screen media on average per day, primarily TV and videos or DVDs
  • Kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly four hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost two additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games

Again, the positive to take away from this is that traditional TV time, the bane of child development experts, is waning. The negative? It has simply shifted to other screens, screens that are far more invasive in our lives.

Even worse? The best predictor of a child's viewing time is not family rules or the location of the TV: it's how much time the child's parents watch TV or fiddle with their devices.

In other words, my kids are doomed.

Do As I Say Not As I Do

Not that I'm a heavy TV watcher. Aside from Downton Abbey and one or two Arsenal matches per week, I don't watch TV. I haven't seen Breaking Bad or House of Cards or Homeland or any of the other "must see" TV. I think my life is better for it. I read books. And, yes, I'm kind of snobby about it.

But where I really fall down, and in spectacular fashion, is with non-TV screen time. I work from home, and all of my work is done over the phone (usually with a laptop in front of me) or directly on my laptop or other mobile device. My kids see a lot of me, as I try to work in our home's public spaces as much as possible, and pretty much all they see is "Dad typing on some mobile device."

Given this fact, I can't really blame them that their first instinct when they get home from school is not to turn on the TV, but rather to pick up one of the several laptops or tablets we have scattered around the house. To minimize the contagion, we have a policy against devices finding their way into rooms (except for Kindle PaperWhites, which we freely allow our kids to take wherever they want), but this hasn't stopped them from gorging on screen time in our family room or other public places. 

As fast as I ask them to turn off whatever device they're using, a different child has picked another one up. With four kids, it's like digital device Whac-a-Mole.

I want to tell them to close the laptops and put down the devices. And I do. But I also want them to not see me spending so much of my life working on my computer, because I don't want them to assume it's normal.

Though, I guess, it is.

To Hell In A Handbasket

Maybe it's not as dire as I think. When Nick Carr wrote his article on how the Internet is reprogramming our brains, and not in a good way, many pushed back and called our modern, screen-heavy world "progress." Maybe they're right. 

Or maybe I'm ensuring my kids grow up thinking that they can't possibly live without a device and a connection to the Internet. I'd be very grateful for any insight you may have on how to manage screen time, and whether you think it's a bad thing in the first place.

 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: kids

September 30 2013

Yahoo Japan's 3D Printer Helps Blind Children Search the Web
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At a school for the blind in Japan, the Internet is no longer just a visual toolYahoo Japan has made it possible for children who are blind to search the web.

In collaboration with Japanese creative agency Hakuhodo Kettle, Yahoo developed a machine called Hands On Search that is part 3D printer, part computer — and will build just about anything at your request.

SEE ALSO: You, Too, Can Print a 3D Robot

For example, children at the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired can walk up to Hands On Search and say "giraffe" or "Tokyo Skytree Building." Then, the machine searches Yahoo for an image and prints a miniaturized version of the object. The machine will make an online request for more information if an image cannot be found, according to Yahoo Japan's website. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Web, Kids, School, and Blind

September 12 2013

12-Year-Old Developer Is a Robot-Building Genius
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Rohan Agrawal builds robots — and he's not even a teenager yet. While most kids his age likely spent their summer playing video games or on the monkey bars, the 12-year-old wunderkind tinkered away at an internship making robots from scratch.

The pre-teen spent the last few months at OLogic, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company known for designing robots for Google and Disney. While there, Agrawal built a device capable of autonomously delivering bags of potato chips throughout the office.

"I'm self taught," says Agrawal, who started programming at age 4, and tells Mashable his first language was HTML. "My mom showed me Google once and I was really fascinated by it. I asked her how it works and she told me you use this thing called HTML." Read more...

More about Developers, Kids, Diy, Robots, and Building

August 11 2013

I'm 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook
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I’m a teen living in New York. All of my friends have social networks — Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etcFacebook used to be all I could talk about when I was younger. “Mom, I want a Facebook!” and other whining only a mother could put up with

But now, at 13, I’ve been noticing something different. Facebook is losing teens lately, and I think I know why.

Part of the reason Facebook is losing my generation's attention is the fact that there are other networks now. When I was 10, I wasn’t old enough to have a Facebook. But a magical thing called Instagram had just come out ... and our parents had no idea there was an age limit. Rapidly, all my friends got Instagrams. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Kids, Features, and Teens

August 06 2013

6 Museum Apps for Virtual Field Trips
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You’re nearly three months into summer vacation, your kids are restless, and you’re all out of field trip ideas. Or maybe your student just needs a cultural refresher before hitting the books again this fall. Lucky for you, a smartphone or tablet could be your children's ticket to seeing historical artifacts and world-renowned art — all at the tap of an app

Whether your kids want to understand the first people to walk the earth or find out about the greatest living artists in the world, chances are there’s a museum app out there to educate and entertain them for hours. Read more...

More about Educational, Kids, Education, Museum, and Museum Of Modern Art

July 02 2013

Children's Online Privacy Rules Updated for Social and Mobile Era
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The policies governing companies' collection and use of children's personal information were refreshed for the social media and mobile technology age this week as the new Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules went into effect on Monday

COPPA, overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, first went into effect in 2000 and spells out the language websites must use in privacy policies regarding children under 13 years of age. Most importantly, it requires websites to seek permission from children's parents or guardians before transmitting personal data

Read more...

More about Kids, Privacy, Online Privacy, Us World, and Us

June 11 2013

17 Handwritten Notes That Will Make You Smile
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While handwritten notes can cause a lot of problems (see: Romeo and Juliet; your biology class), they haven't lost their appeal. Especially when they're sweet and sincere, like the ones below.

1. Found tied to a balloon — the most emotionally charged balloon since the one in Up.

Image courtesy of Reddit, ChrevanGohas

2. Found after the dog owner put the pet down. This kid has mastered the condolence card.

Image courtesy of Reddit, vexillifer Read more...

3. Found after a teacher confiscated a student's note. If kids today are creating low-tech versions of classic memes, there might be hope for the next generation after all.

More about Lists, Kids, Watercooler, Pics, and Work Play
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