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centre of the universe: Growing Pains

We talk a lot about milestones, when we have kids. Milestones and rites of passage. By 18 months, your baby should be able to… Baby’s first tooth, baby’s first step, first day of school, first girlfriend, driver’s permit…the list goes on and on and on. But those aren’t the real rites of passage. Those aren’t the real milestones. When you … Continue reading →

Things Are Good: A Video Series That’s Fighting Obesity

The obesity problem in North America keeps growing larger and it’s within all of our interests to ensure that we trim the fat. An online video series directed at kids is making a difference. The Adventure to Fitness series educates kids about animals, geography, and other fun things while keeping kids moving. This is really great because any parent or teacher can use the series to bring more activity and learning into a kid’s day.

According to Dr. Jenny Delfin, the Adventure to Fitness medical advisor and a cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, the program’s effectiveness (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Three Stories

A Story About Crows for @lizzers_ Once Upon a Time, I lived far north of here in a “ranch-style bungalow” on a hill in a city bound by a river. The city itself still had many Wild Places. Not the kind of wild places where one might go after a night in one’s cups, but the kind of Wild Places … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Storytelling Month – The Basement

To celebrate Storytelling Month, I’m going to tell you at least one story per week in February. These are all true stories. I don’t think I’ve ever told this story before. Maybe I have and I’ve just reached that stage of perpetual awesomeness where my memory of stories is like that thing that things get out of. A prison or a … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Why we can’t be friends when you’re in Hawaii

My cousin is in Hawaii right now, and I have vowed that she and I can NOT be friends until she is home. Now. She’s a professional photographer, so all of her pictures of her little “vacation” are fucking gorgeous, and because I am not at all petty or jealous, I’ve decided that I’m going to post photographs of MY … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: You’re to Blame

I wasn’t going to say anything about this, but as usual, semantics made me do it. Because we live in a free and democratic first-world country (except for those places you don’t want to walk through), you get to choose not to vaccinate your children, and your reasons for that don’t matter. Good for you. You made a decision! I … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Why a Communications Strategy is imperative

Man, that sounds boring. Bear with me, okay? Whether you are running a business, employed as a writer or PR or communications staff, or whether you’re running or managing a minor sports team, a dance troupe, or a non-profit, you need a communications strategy. This might be as simple as “I have everyone’s email and will always send out notifications … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Post-graduate paper

This morning, #TheTeen and I got into a bit of a tiff. Mornings are chaotic, and as much as I have really enjoyed #TheTeen’s company this summer, when school starts up again and we’re under pressure, something eventually has to give. Here’s some background, although actually, the deets aren’t all that important. In fact, the deets don’t really matter so … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: It’s been nine long years

Not really. Not really long years. Nine ridiculously short years. Nine years that feels like days. Nine years that passed in the blink of an eye. Your brother was in his stroller. I clutched my go-mug of coffee with one white-knuckled hand and the stroller with the other. We took pictures of you out in front of the garage with … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Sacrifice?

See, the thing is, when I chose to become a parent, I did not think in terms of “sacrifice”. I did not think in terms of “giving things up”. It wasn’t about not being able to go out partying with my bee eff effs. It wasn’t about not eating hot food. It wasn’t about giving […]

Things Are Good: A New Zealand School Abandons Rules, Ends Bullying

Having zero tolerance policies in schools is a truly horrible way to treat children. It can blunt curiosity and punish severely for minor infractions, combine such oppressive control with bizarre rules (like no playing schoolyard games) and you’ll bored, agitated and disengaged kids. When children aren’t able to express themselves in more traditional ways (like play), they tend to lash out.

With all of that in mind, a school in Aukland decided to toss out the rules. The results were a decrease in bullying and an increase in attentive learning!

Instead of a playground, children used their imagination to play (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Earth Rangers Launches Battery Blitz

Earth Rangers has launched a new campaign for kids to learn about the potential danger of batteries. Battery Blitz Mission encourages kids to collect used household batteries and dispose of them properly. When batteries are improbably thrown out it can cause a lot of harm to the environment due to the dangerous chemicals inside.

Since batteries provide energy for so many of the things we use every day, what to do with batteries once they are dead is a big problem. When batteries are thrown out in the trash, they end up in landfills where they add to solid waste (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Late last night or the night before…

Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to play in my first ever tabletop Werewolf game, hosted by AJ. It’s all done by magic now, you see, with (so far) four players in three different cities playing via videoconferencing. Let me tell you, I’m liking this. So after the game was over, we […]

The Canadian Progressive: Shareholders vote for McDonald’s to assess its health impacts

Alarmed by the growing epidemic of diet-related diseases caused by junk food, moms, health professionals and shareholders urge McDonald’s to leave hospitals and stop marketing to kids.

The post Shareholders vote for McDonald’s to assess its health impacts appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Ask General Kang: How much time should I be spending on Social Media every day?

None. Next question. No, seriously, what is the right amount? It depends. Do you have other things to do? Like, I don’t know, a job? Let’s assume yes, and let’s assume it’s about eight hours a day. Okay, so that … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: Call me Ducky

The Nipper has the Best Ideas Ever Invented. He said, last night on the way to rehearsal, “you know what would be cool, would be if they made a Call of Duty ™ game that’s age-appropriate for kids and they called it Call of Ducky. And you’d play this duck having adventures all over in [...]

centre of the universe: Unbelievable

Something ridiculous happened today. Before I get to that, though, I’m’a set some ground rules, because this is the kind of discussion that gets out of hand really, really fast. 1) I’m not interested in any anti-religion comments. What follows did not happen because people believe in God. This isn’t a discussion about belief versus [...]

Art Threat: Return to Gummo

Harmony Korine has been making headlines for his new pop-culture romp, Spring Breakers, with the usual fanfare and some reviewers decidedly giddy with the possibility of maybe “getting it” or maybe not. The film is apparently non-stop debauch and at least one critic has pointed out the work’s contribution to rape culture in the US, on the heels of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case.

Love him, leave him or hate him, Korine has sparked controversy and inspired debate in film and culture circles (and of course with audiences) since he wrote the racy script for Kids (directed by (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Earth Rangers Wants You to Bring Back the Wild

Earth Rangers is a conservation organization focused on getting kids engaged in protecting and learning about the environment. They have a program currently focused on having kids actively engage in protecting wildlife and their ecosystems. Earth Day happens later this month but there’s no reason why you can’t be thinking about the planet everyday. Get inspired by all the great kids making a difference!

In September 2010, Earth Rangers developed Bring Back the Wild, a national education and fundraising program that educates children about the importance of protecting animals by preserving their natural habitats, while raising funds to support the

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Earth Rangers Wants You to Bring Back the Wild

centre of the universe: New Math

“Takoda and Wesley are collecting shells on the beach in identical pails. Takoda estimates she has filled 7/12 of her pail. Wesley estimates he has filled 4/10 of his pail. Suppose the children combine their shells. Will one pail be full? Explain.” — from Math Makes Sense 7 published by Pearson Education. Before we tackle this [...]

centre of the universe: Head Like a Hole

First, I’d like you to go to Netflix and watch a documentary called “Head Games”. It’s about brain damage due to contact sport. It talks about concussions in football, hockey, and boxing. And entertainment wrestling (not greco-roman wrestling). It’s an incredibly interesting and well-done documentary. One of the really good question it raises is why [...]

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Take me to your breeder

Klaktron XII was the Hyper-Commander of the United Federation of Incredibly Regular Planets Space Vessel, Cheeznip. His was a storied career. He’d eaten ultrasonic oysters in the Seafood Nebula, and lived to tell the tale (in five-part harmony). He’d fought … Continue reading →

centre of the universe: The 7-Year-Old Uncertainty Principle

The 7-year-old Uncertainty Principle (7yoUP) states that you may observe any number of 7-year-olds in your yard at an instant in time, but you can never actually know how many 7-year-olds are in your yard. You can know the *identity* … Continue reading →

Things Are Good: Kids Should Fail

A prevailing attitude in North American schools is that students shouldn’t be able to fail, but really what better place than a school to learn from mistakes? Thankfully people are noticing that letting kids not excel at something is actually a good thing. Interestingly, it’s in the world of games that parents and educators let students fail.

It would be great to see kids being encouraged to explore knowledge and new ways of learning beyond the environment of a modern classroom.

3. Progress must be transparent. Lee Peng Yee, one of the main thinkers behind the system of math instruction

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Kids Should Fail

"Why do all the girls have to buy princesses?"

Charming video of a little girl railing against gender stereotypes in products for kids, especially for girls.

The more cynical of us might say the little girl was coached. I find her too sincere to be anything than what she is: fed up with the cool stuff offered boys, separated from the ‘pink stuff’ condescendingly marketed to girls.