Halloween ghost

Creating a memorable Halloween bash for children can be rather difficult. It is challenging due to the fact that there are a lot of Halloween party ideas out there, but very few that are considered to be “unique”. You have your standard Halloween party, with bobbing for apples and spooky music. Then, you have your average “haunted house”, or “haunted hayride”, “Spook walk” and more. The issue is not a lack of ideas for Halloween; it is a lack of “unique” ideas for this festive holiday. Here, I will provide some “not so common” ideas on how you can go about creating a memorable Halloween bash for children.

Halloween Idol

Halloween Idol is a relatively “new” concept when it comes to creating a “memorable” bash this holiday. This concept is based on the ever-popular “American Idol” that many of us, and our children, enjoy watching each year. Basically, this works by establishing three judges who either dress like, or act like, the famous “Paula, Randy, and Simon”. You must also have a person who represents “Ryan”. The children will take a number, and then sit in the “Audience”. Each child will be permitted a “turn” to either display their costume, play a small skit in their costume, or display whatever other talent that they choose to display.


The “judges” should act much like the ones on the show as far as choosing the best, and doing eliminations. However, they should not be as “harsh” as the real judges generally are. Eventually, the participants should be broken down to five, and they should then be “voted off” until there is a winner. All the children should get small prizes for their participation, and then there should be a larger prize for the main winner. Several individuals have put the idea of “Halloween Idol” into place and have found it to be highly entertaining and successful overall. If you are looking to create a “memorable” Halloween bash, this is a great idea to put into place!

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kids and politics

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, the question on everyone’s mind is who the next president will be. Your child may already have comments about some of the people they’ve seen on their television and are asking questions. It’s never too early to get your child invested in politics and to understand what is going on in the world.

Along the way, you’ll be asked some common questions about the campaign. It is best to be honest and open with your children about the process. The most common will be what is voting. You can explain to older children that voting is a process where people cast a ballot to decide the next president. With younger children, you can introduce them to voting by having the family sit down and make a decision together with everyone having a say.

When children ask if they can vote for the president, you can explain to them that the Constitution and the four amendments that deal with it, declare that U.S. Citizens who are 18 years or older are the only ones allowed to vote. While that means they cannot vote in the election for president, they still can have open discussion about politics.

As you talk to your children about voting, make sure they understand the importance of being heard. That when they turn 18, their vote and voice counts. After all, it was largely young voters who decided who won the 2004 presidential election. When the results become neck and neck on items, it could be their vote that ultimately helps to determine a position on a proposition or who holds a particular office.

You’ll also need to explain political parties to them. While it sounds exciting, it isn’t the same as a birthday party. Instead, this is a group of people who share interests that are banding together to help make decisions in the world. While there are similarities to their own parties like balloons and dancing, the focus is on making decisions. There are Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, Green Party, Libertarians, and others.

As your child learns more about being president, the next logical leap is wanting to be president. You’ll need to teach them what the constitution says about being president. The only way they can run for this office is:

  • Being a citizen who was born in the United States.
  • Have lived for the past fourteen years in the United States.
  • Be age 35 or older.

With this in mind, we need to look at the reasons why children should be involved. The first is the most obvious, freedom depends on everyone being part of the political process. When you don’t voice your opinion and allow others to make the decisions that direct your life and your rights, you give up something precious. Many laws are difficult to fight when they are put in place.

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Stop Bullying

Six Steps to Curtail the Trump Effect Before It Harms Our Children Further

We’ve worked so hard to emphasize kindness and understanding while pointing out the dangers of bullying and a feeling of superiority. It’s hard to understand why any American would act out those vicious feelings in public with no feeling of remorse. If you’ve watched even a couple of seconds of Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign, there’s no need to say more. His actions are far beyond acceptable and fail to support the environment we want our children to hope for, work towards, and believe in.

School-aged children are picking up on the aggressive, threatening language that is so much a part of Trump’s litany. Parents, teachers, and religious leaders emphasize the importance of staying within prescribed boundaries that demonstrate a welcome feeling and encourage the desire to get along. The nonprofit organization Southern Poverty Law Center recently asked educators to respond to survey questions about The Donald’s impact on teaching tolerance.

The Republican presidential candidate isn’t encouraging people to get along and work towards a common goal of success and respect. Instead, his disrespectful way of mocking people gives the impression it’s okay to exude hostility to the point of ripping asunder the progress made in America’s melting pot of citizens. It’s far different from the positive examples given by the Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Six specific steps will help teachers, parents, and other Americans stop the reaction to the flood of hatred and threats Donald Trump is using to scare kids and adults.

Defuse the Power Trip

The best way to help students recognize Trump as a bully is to go over the telltale signs of an aggressive bully, such as:

  • Make negative statements about others.
  • Impulsive and belligerent.
  • Gets angry quickly.
  • Doesn’t care about hurting others, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or both.
  • Has trouble following rules.
  • Strong desire to dominate.

Aggressive bullies are motivated by power. Defuse the Trump Effect by encouraging kids to decide which actions deserve respect and which do not fall in the description of leadership.

Ask Kids About Their Goals

Just several months of campaigning has reminded many adults of how quickly rights and respect can be destroyed. Knowing that actions like being fired or persecuted without recourse are possible and fully within Trump’s platform is scary. We’ve seen it or perhaps experienced during our lifetime. Talk over things besides Trump’s threats about deportation and using weapons of mass destruction. Instead of letting fear and uncertainty dash kids’ confidence, focus on goals and dreams. Similarities in expectations about ability and hopes help boys and girls recognize that the influential adults in their lives haven’t given up yet.

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Littlebits Premium Kit

With Christmas coming quickly, it’s already time to start thinking about great gifts for the kids. Kids love getting great toys for Christmas, and tech toys have become a big hit with kids of all ages. With customizable robots, smart toys, and iPhone controlled options, there’s so much to choose from as you begin your search for the perfect gift.

You might want to consider some tech toys for the kids that actually teach them important lessons, whether they’re life lessons or essential skills. The best tech toys offer plenty of entertainment while helping kids learn, making it fun for them to develop important skills.

Instead of scouring through all the latest tech toys to find the ones that will improve your child’s education, we’ve done the work for you. Here’s a look at five of the best tech toys that will offer a fun, exciting learning experience for your child too.

1 – LittleBits

Electronics are a huge part of our world today, and now kids can experience creating things with electronics just by snapping together a few blocks. LittleBits are building blocks that are actually circuit components color coded so you can attach them to one another. In fact, you can create many cool things with them without needing to know anything about electronics.

Not only can you put LittleBits building blocks together, they can also be combined with ordinary objects to create some exciting things. For example, add them to a bow tie and you could make it jiggle when it hears your voice. Kids get the chance to become inventors while learning electronics basics. Add these bits to objects to create buzzing and blinking creations.

The LittleBits Base Kit is $99 and comes with a helpful step-by-step guide to help kids learn to make their own inventions, as well as 10 Bits. They can also find more ideas online so they can really explore all that the LittleBits have to offer. For $149 you can get the LittleBits Electronics Premium Kit, which comes with Bits not included in the basic kit, and it works with the Base Kit as well.  Anf for $199 you can get their best kit, LittleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit


2 – LeapFrog LeapReader Letter Writing Pack

leapfrog-leapreaderIf you have a younger child learning to read and write, the LeapFrog LeapReader Letter Writing Pack is the perfect tech gift this year. The complete system is over $100, but it has a lot to offer. Kids can use the pack with the LeapReader Pen to build literacy skills and to learn how to write. The pack includes the LeapReader Pen, special paper that works with the pen, a Learn to Write Letters Writing Workbook, downloadable music album and audio book bundle, and Activity Book.

With the included LeapReader Pen, kids can trace out the letters that are in the workbook, and the pen has a built-in speaker that gives them instructions along the way. It also has flashing lights, encouraging words, and cool sounds to keep kids motivated. For the reading features, kids simply touch the pen to words in special picture books and the pen will speak them out loud.

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Nowadays, respect is a rare gift in young men who grew up understanding the virtues of showing respect to the opposite sex. Teaching equality among the sexes is the best gift we can give our kids. If parents would understand the valuable tool their sons will have if they learn early on how to respect women, there would be far happier marriages later in life. Teach boys the fine art of respecting women so when they search for their life partner they will find the best one.

Teach Respect within the Home First

Teaching young men how to respect women starts with their mothers and fathers and how they respect each other. If for example a father does not listen to his wife and show respect, how is the son to react? Kids learn by example. On the other hand, if a woman is aggressive and disrespectful to her husband, chances are her husband doesn’t show her respect either and sons will grow up without this advantage in knowing to respect other women. Before you can train your son to have respect, are you acting in a respectful manner within your marriage? Mom and dad need to have nailed this first and then parents are better able to train their sons. Children need to learn and value 'equality' among men and women.

First, always react to any disrespect from the sons with calmness and patience. If you ground your son for being disrespectful, you have probably spoken harshly and sent them to their room where they can stew in their anger. Before doling a punishment for disrespect, simmer down and think it through before reacting.

If the son is throwing a verbal fit, it’s best not to match his fit by yelling or being angry. That adds fuel to the disrespect fire. Let him finish his fit, let him calm down first. Young men are sometimes easily agitated (thus the term teenage angst) and knowing this will help you to stay calm and ride out his angst until he calms down too. Listen to his ranting, calmly and without interruption. Once he’s done, then approach, calmly, and let him recognize you listened to what he said. But also let him see where you have experienced the disrespect (or saw the disrespect to another woman) and calmly explain that you will not be a participant in talking with them under those circumstances. Tell them you will talk to and help them once they show the proper respect.

Respect is often coupled with a sense of remorse if respect wasn’t shown. Train your son to show this remorse if he reacts in a disrespectful way. You do this by not fueling their disrespect. If they are reacting, ranting, in a disrespectful way, say nothing, do nothing until it’s over. Help them understand why you said or did nothing.

Even the most disrespectful boys can learn respect by seeing examples of the adults in their lives practicing it. Show them if you act disrespectful that you have remorse for doing so. This is vitally important for the father, if he disrespects mom in front of the kids, to show he has remorse and can apologize.

It might help to act out scenarios where dad can play act showing disrespect to mom and then play act how he shows remorse. Show your son how to respect, what to do in different situations. Do this while the young man is calm and listening.

Teach Respect by Showing Respect

So many people are under the assumption that respect is earned when it’s something we should offer our fellow human being simply because they are our fellow human being. With this in mind, parents should show respect to their sons from the start. Don’t respect ill behavior, but respect him first in all the things he does right. Don’t lower your morals and values for this respect, but give him the respect you’d like for him to show you.

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Having a family comes with great responsibility. If you want to raise children with a well-rounded upbringing, then you must make time for the family. It’s very good to provide food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. But it requires more than that to make a family a good family. Times are busy. Parents work, kids are often in activities that keeps the schedule crowded, but you should make it a top priority to spend quality time with the family. A great way to do this is to incorporate a family night into your schedule.

How often to schedule family night really depends on the dynamics of your family. Ideally, it would be great to work it in weekly. But depending on what’s going on with the children’s activities, you may need to adjust that. Try for twice a month or even once a month if you must. Here are some awesome ideas for family night fun.

Board Games

Board games offer a time for children to flex the competitive muscles all while spending quality time with you. Depending on the ages of your children, you have a wide range of choices when it comes to board games. Try for the board game classics of Monopoly, Clue, Parcheesi, Aggravation, Trouble, and Scrabble. Newer board games come out all the time. Some board games make take hours to finish, like RISK or the trivia variety. Take the kids shopping and let them choose one game for family night.

Card Games

Cards are an all-time classic. A deck of cards can become so many games from go-fish to crazy 8 to rummy. UNO is a fun deck of cards and it’s good for whatever size of family you are. Give each kid a deck of cards and teach them how to play Solitaire. Play with actual cards because it’s different than playing a video card game. If they learn Solitaire, they will be able to entertain themselves when needed.

Video Games

If you own a game system or computer, you could incorporate a video game playoff. Some game systems allow for up to four players at a time or take turns. This teaches children patience and teaches them how to cheer the others in a friendly game competition.

Charades and Drawing Games

This classic game doesn’t need any special props, just willing and able bodies. It’s fun to act out different movies. Try variations of charades such as drawing. Take a large tablet and start by drawing a shape and the others will guess at what’s on the tablet. See how few drawings (or shapes) it takes for the team to guess at the picture. Tic Tac Toe is a fun game to draw on a marker board, chalk board, or large tablet. Hang man will help teach children spelling skills.

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I am in my 50's, and still in deep debt for going back to college. If it is stressful for me think how stressful it is for those in their 20's and just graduating deep in debt. My story is for another time, this story is about our future and how Debt-Free College is so important, not only for our youth, but for the future of our country.

Lets step back a minute. Late September 2016 brought about an amicable appearance by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. The purpose? To demonstrate to the voting public and observers the importance of education from early childhood forward. Sanders, an advocate of affordable, quality education for all ages, had two important messages. The first one was his official endorsement of Ms. Clinton’s plan for debt-free college. The second was to explain why a Clinton presidency will honor that goal, as opposed to the education proposals by Republican candidate Donald Trump.

What are the differences and similarities between education platforms? The one similarity is that both candidates support charter schools. Clinton leans towards approval of Common Core and supports teachers’ unions, Trump is critical of teachers’ unions and has promised to get rid of Common Core. Voters have the challenge of sorting through their own beliefs before November 2016’s election.

Donald Trump wants to take $20 billion from existing federal monies to fund a voucher program allowing school-age children, particularly those living in poverty, to attend their choice of school, whether public or private. He believes that the free market practice will improve school performance and curriculum. Officials and voters in cities and states, as well as designated school districts, would need to support the plan and contribute an additional $110 billion of their educational budget. The result would be a $12,000 school choice voucher to each student from kindergarten through high school who is living in poverty.

Hillary Clinton states the program would devastate the already financially strapped public schools in the nation. Taking approximately 30 percent of federal tax dollars from public schools would result in adversely affecting students from all walks of life. She believes universal preschool and quality childcare will help young children develop learning skills and the education necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

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