Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun Facts in History for Kids

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel
(August 19, 1883 - January 10, 1971)

She rose to become one of the world's leading fashion designers, creating styles that are still in vogue today. Gabrielle Chanel gave the world the little black dress, Chanel No. 5 perfume, and a casually classic notion of style that influenced women's clothes throughout the 20th century. She was the only person in the field of haute couture to be named on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
(March 6, 1475 - February 18, 1564)

Commonly known as Michaelangelo, he was born in the village of Caprese, Italy. He was one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance - a period when the arts and sciences flourished. Michaelangelo’s crowning achievements were his sculptures - “Pieta” and “David”, and the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco (paintings done on plaster), which was finished in four years and contained 300 figures. He was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive.

Albert Einstein
(March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955)

This German-born American physicist revolutionized the science of physics. He is best known for his theories of special relativity and general relativity. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. Often regarded as the father of modern sciense, Einstein published more than 300 scientific works and more than 150 non-scientific works.

Stephen Robert Irwin
(February 22, 1962 – September 4, 2006)

Known simply as Steve Irwin and nicknamed “The Crocodile Hunter”, he was an Australian wildlife expert and television personality. He was a passionate conservationist and believed in promoting environmentalism by sharing his excitement about the natural world rather than preaching it to people. Steve Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the wildlife documentary television program - The Crocodile Hunter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 3 Ways to Handle Child Whining

My 3-year old daughter relies on her mom for her milk and bedtime stories, and on me if she wants to doodle on the internet. Typical with other preschoolers, she relies on grown-ups for almost everything - food, drink, toys, bath, etc. She has to get an adult's attention to obtain the things that she need, especially if she finds it difficult enough (like tracing her hand on a paper). And if she doesn’t get her needed help, she starts to whine.

A whine is the sound of a child who feels helpless and is repeatedly pitching her request in higher and higher tones to get someone to pay attention to her.

Still there are times that even though her needs have been met, she still feels whiny and cranky for no apparent reason. And so we usually end up spoiling to her demands. Sigh… makes me worry that she might grow up to be a whiner and never be anything less that miserable in her behavior.

Not if daddy can help (or her grandpa and grandma since she spends most of her daytime with them). With proper and consistent guidance, my daughter will (I’m positive about it) eventually grow out of her whining.

Show your kid what to do
Make sure your child knows exactly what you mean by whining. Explain how you would like her to ask for something without whining. Encourage the use of "please" or "may I". For example, when my daughter asks for milk, we teach her "Mom (or dad), may I please have some milk?" Let her practice requesting things pleasantly several times. She’s hesitant at first but eventually complied. And we make sure we satisfy her request, to prove our point that asking nicely gets results. If, however, your child isn't talking yet, show her how to suggest her needs by using actions or gestures.

Create a "whining place" if necessary
If your child's whining continues even after teaching her how to request nicely, just let her be and don’t get upset (and don’t raise your voice either… temper, temper). Tell her that she can whine as much as she wants, but that she must do it in the "whining place", an area designated for whining. Let her know that you'd rather not be around a whiner who can't tell you nicely what she wants. Say, "I'm sorry you're so upset. You can go to the whining chair or table (but not directly facing the wall) and come back later when you're feeling better."

Don’t give in (too easily, that is)
Be extra wary when your child’s whining goes into overdrive. Most parents give in but the last thing you would want your preschooler to learn is that whining in public is a sure way to get what she (or he) wants. Wherever you are or no matter who you are with, keep a cool head. Your kid is (subconsciously) testing your limits and if ever they figure that out, there goes a bratty kid in-the-making.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Child-Proofing Your Home Safely

As parents, our kids' safety is our number one concern. Recent statistics indicate that unsupervised playing is the number one cause of unlikely incidents in young children. And quite a number of those events occur as a result of kid's normal, healthy curiosity on the things that surround them. Chances of getting hurt increase as they learn to creep, crawl, walk, climb, and explore.

The following checklist can help parents spot and take care of vulnerable areas in your home and further ensure a safer play environment for kids.

• Plug unused electrical outlets with safety insulators designed
  for this purpose. You wouldn’t want your kids sticking anything   into them.
• Remove unused extension cords. Kids might be tempted to
  tug them with wet hands.
• Move large pieces of furniture in front of electrical outlets that
  have cords plugged in them, or install protective outlet
  coverings that prevent a child from unplugging the cord.
• Position your child's crib away from all drapery, electrical

• Thankfully I don’t have one of these but if you do, always
  keep weapons such as guns and knives locked safely
  away from children. Ammunitions should be kept in
  a separate secure location as well.
• Install child-proof fastener on all cabinets and drawers that
  contain these objects.
• Put up safety latches on stand-alone freezers and oven
  doors (that is if they don't have locks).

• Safely dispose all
  mercury-based thermometers. Invest in state-of-the-art digital
• Place toxic household substances, such as detergents, cleaning
  fluids, matches, and medicines, well out of reach in a locked
• Make sure toys, furniture, and walls are finished in lead-free
  paint. Check labels to make sure toys are non-toxic.
• Have syrup of ipecac on hand to induce vomiting in case your
  child swallows a non-corrosive poison.

Small Objects
• Keep small objects (pins, buttons, nuts, candies, and coins) that your child could swallow or
  choke on.
• Keep plastic bags out of reach at all times. Kids might wear them over their heads and risk
• Regularly check toys for sharp edges or small broken pieces.
• Place small, fragile tabletop items out of your child's reach.
• Crawl through the house on your hands and knees to spot enticing hazards to be remedied.

• If small tables or other furnishings are not sturdy or have
  sharp corners, put them away until your child is older, or
  install protective coverings around sharp edges.
• Large pieces of furniture that a child can climb and tip over
  should be safely secured to a nearby wall or post.
• Do not hang a tablecloth off a table when your small child is
  close by.

Fires and Burns
• Teach the word hot as
  early as you can. Keep
  your child away from the hot oven, iron, vent, fireplace,
  wood stove, barbecue grill, cigarettes, cigarette lighter, and
  hot teacups and coffee cups.
• Always turn pot handles inward when cooking, and remove
  gas knobs on the stove (or replace them with safety knobs)
  when not in use.
• Install a proper screen on a fireplace (in case you have

Bathroom and Stairs
• Keep the door to the bathroom closed at all times. Use a child-proof doorknob cover if your
  child knows how to turn the doorknob. Install safety latches on toilet lids.
• Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub
• Put a gate on a stairway to prevent unsupervised play on the stairs.

Baby Gears
• Never leave your baby unattended on a changing table, on
  a couch, on your bed, in an infant seat or highchair, on the
  floor, or in a car.
• Always raise crib sides in the up position when your baby
  (even a tiny infant) is in the crib.
• Never tie toys to a crib or playpen. Your baby could get
  caught on the string. Also, never attach a pacifier to a
  string that could get wrapped around your baby's neck.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Top 3 Internet Web Browsers for Kids

Ok, so got yourself the best anti-virus and best firewall solution your free budget can afford. Can you now let your 5-year old use your computer while you pick-up and read the morning papers downstairs?

Not quite. The internet is a good online resource; keeping a lot of us connected. It is also because of this "connectivity" that the internet has been exploited to carry out devious scheming as well.

Good thing there are browsers now specially created with kids in mind. Parents can now let their children surf the net knowing they won’t accidentally stumble upon inappropriate content.

Common Features of the Browsers Featured:
 • Colorful interface optimized for kids
 • Password-protected Control Panel for administrative functions
 • Desktop lockdown with Ctrl+Alt+Del disabling
 • Customizable themes/colors
 • Set time restrictions – time in, time out, duration
 • Various activity centers – doodle, paint, online games, puzzles, etc.
 • Pre-approved list of allowed web sites

KidZui – Internet for Kids
KidZui is a web browser, search engine, and online playground for kids aged 3 to 12 years old. It was developed during the summer of 2006 by KidZui, Inc. and was later offered to the general public on March 19, 2008. KidZui is FREE to all families but also offers paid membership for extra benefits.

With KidZui, parents know what their kids are doing online and they can connect by sharing content. KidZui sends a weekly email that tells you what your kids are doing online. The KidZui parent account lets you share content and set limits.

This is probably the safest and most full-featured kiddie browser available for parents as it is even being backed by toy manufacturer giant – Mattel.

Added Features Summary:
 • Add individual websites
 • Largest number of games, websites, videos and photos
 • Accounts include all the kids in your family
 • E-mailed reports of your kid's online activity
 • Kid's online activity graphed for 30 days
 • Top 10 recently viewed content of your kid's activity
 • Express your style and create your own Zui
   (dress it with fun clothes and accessories)
 • Join the community and make parent approved friends
 • Share your favorite content with friends
 • Rate content with cool Tags and watch popularity meter as content gets hotter
 • Search suggestions and spelling corrections

My Kids Browser
A multi-awarded kid-safe web browser with an engaging rich graphic interface optimized for children. Offered only as shareware, parents can download a free trial though to allow them to see how they can keep their children safe on the internet.

One strong feature of My Kids Browser is that it is capable of analyzing added web sites for porn, explicit materials, chat rooms, and other unsafe contents. It even warns parents if a web site has a search engine that kids can use to freely roam the web.

If you have the bucks to spare, you can never go wrong with this one. With onetime payment, you get unlimited updates and no monthly fees.

Added Features Summary:
 • Add individual web sites with Web-page analyzer
 • History area that lets you see where your kids have been
 • Pop-up blocker (configurable)
 • Enable/disable the printer and search bar
 • View how long your children have used the internet
 • Unlimited updates / auto-update checker

KidRocket KidSafe Browser
This is a stand-alone browser application - it runs from within itself, no install needed. Instead of letting access to the whole world wide web and trying to filter out the bad content like most children’s internet browsers do, KidRocket blocks out the entire internet and only lets access to limited, top quality, and child-related web sites.

Although it is offered for free, older kids may find it very limiting eventually as it only allows a limited selection of (but definitely for kids) approved web sites namely:



Added Features Summary:
 • Designed to be simple to use
 • Full featured children’s web browser, internet filter.
 • Interactive math flashcards with configurable math equations.
 • Allow/Block use of printer and e-mail
 • Built-in popup blocker
 • New Email for Kids with Art/eCard attachments
 • Now provides vocal prompts and confirmations

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Remembering EDSA Revolution

One of the songs made popular during the EDSA Revolution (also referred to as the People Power Revolution) of 1986 when the late Corazon Aquino became the first female president of the Philippines and the first female president of any country in Asia as well.

The following song was composed by Jim Paredes of the APO Hiking Society. It was sung and recorded by 15 Filipino artists in April 1986. Its lyrics are embedded on a wall of Our Lady of EDSA Shrine - regarded as the center of the revolution.

  Handog Ng Pilipino Sa Mundo
  by Apo Hiking Society

  'Di na 'ko papayag mawala ka muli.
  'Di na 'ko papayag na muli mabawi,
  Ating kalayaan kay tagal natin mithi.
  'Di na papayagang mabawi muli.

  Magkakapit-bisig libo-libong tao.
  Kay sarap palang maging Pilipino.
  Sama-sama iisa ang adhikain.
  Kelan man 'di na paalipin.

  Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo,
  Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
  Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan
  Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
  Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat.

  Masdan ang nagaganap sa aming bayan.
  Nagkasama ng mahirap at mayaman.
  Kapit-bisig madre, pari, at sundalo.
  Naging Langit itong bahagi ng mundo.

  Huwag muling payagang umiral ang dilim.
  Tinig ng bawat tao'y bigyan ng pansin.
  Magkakapatid lahat sa Panginoon.
  Ito'y lagi nating tatandaan.
  (repeat refrain two times)

  Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
  Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan.
  Ay kayang makamit na walang dahas.
  Basta't magkaisa tayong lahat!

Listen to the song

Monday, August 3, 2009

Buckaroo - Fun Family Stacking Game

After attending to her school activities last weekend, I decided to bring my baby to the malls. Once there, we stopped by a Toy Kingdom express outlet to look for something new, really interesting, and of course reasonably priced.

I would have gone for the Transformers if only it would make sense for an alibi that I am buying it for my daughter. How will her mom react is she finds Optimus Prime stuffed in a Barbie box? Oh well.

I was looking for other options when I chanced upon Buckaroo. “Bucker” what?! I picked up its box, quite big and sturdy, a good indication that what’s inside is valuable.

Reading on the packaging I found that Buckaroo is like a stacking game with a different twist. It’s a game of physical skill, intended for children aged four and above. Buckaroo is made by Milton Bradley, a division of toy giant Hasbro who also distributes the Transformers line of toys.

Play centers around a colorful articulated plastic model of a mule named Roo. On an even surface, the mule begins the game standing on all four feet, with just a blanket on its back. Players take turns placing various items onto the mule's back. They must do so very gently as a delicate spring mechanism inside the mule will be triggered by excess vibration. Actually, it is more of a mechanical switch that is hooked to the blanket from the mule’s back. If it is triggered, the mule bucks up on its front legs, throwing off all the accumulated items. The player who triggered this buck is knocked out of the game, and play resumes. The winner is the last player remaining in the game. In the (unlikely) event that a player manages to place the last item onto the mule's back without it bucking, that player is the winner.

Basic pieces include the mule, its base, and the blanket. Other items which players must place on the mule's back are:

    • bedroll
    • canteen (water bottle)
    • crate (rifle box)
    • frying pan
    • cowboy hat
    • guitar
    • holster (holster with gun)
    • lantern (lamp)
    • rope
    • saddle
    • shovel
    • stick of dynamite

Of these, the saddle must be placed first. It has a number of points on which the subsequent items are hung. The other items may be placed in any order.

Buckaroo is definitely a fun exciting “you never know when he’s going to buck” stacking game! With lots of colorful pieces to play with, Buckaroo will make the entire family jump with excitement as Roo kicks the load off his back! Has 3 moody mule levels and best of all – no batteries required.