Moonlight #mermaidmonday

Moonlight by JustNeus
The moonlight fuels my magic

4 Ways To Inspire Kids To Turn Off Electronics And Turn On Their Creativity

Children love their electronic devices.

Television, video games, cellphones and laptops keep them occupied for hours, in some cases acting as live-in babysitters while parents finish chores or just relax.

But while all those devices have their advantages, they also can stifle creativity as children become absorbed in what’s happening inside those screens instead of exploring the real world and letting their imaginations soar.

There are ways to turn that around, though, and get the creative juices flowing in those young minds, says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of fulltime and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools.

“You can always just tell a child to put down the electronic device, but a much better strategy is to give them something else to do,” says Miller, who also is the mother of two teenage sons. “If you can provide an alternative the child can get excited about, then you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those battles over electronics.”

One option for young children is toys that require a little artistic inspiration, she says, such as Legos, the popular plastic building bricks, or Magic Sketch, which allows children to doodle or draw on a liquid-crystal-display screen, then clear their work with a push of a button to start over.

This is especially important with children just returning to school after the summer break because many of them may not have kept their brains as sharp as they should have during that time off, Miller says. Being creative helps children develop mentally, emotionally and socially, aiding them in becoming better students.

Miller says there are a number of ways parents can help inspire children to embrace their creative side, including:

•    Spend time in nature. Head to a park and spend a little time on a hiking trail, checking out the plants and the animals, then suggest the children write about the experience or draw something they saw along the way. They could even take along a drawing pad, a Magic Sketch or something similar and draw while they are there.

•    Use holidays as inspiration. Children love holidays, so suggest they draw a picture related to whatever holiday is coming up or create a homemade decoration. Either option can stimulate their creativity.

•    Be supportive, not critical. This is not the time to play art critic or literary reviewer, Miller says. Let this just be fun and give them freedom with their imagination. If they want to color grass orange or put polka dots on a dolphin, let them. Remind them that’s it’s OK to make a mistake. Plus, with a Lego creation, a Magic Sketch drawing or a construction-paper decoration, they can always just start over.

•    Let them choose their passion. Sometimes parents are too insistent that their children learn piano, take ballet lessons or become involved in an activity that the parent is sure will be fun, Miller says. “Giving children the opportunity to try many things is great,” she says, “but make sure you let them have the final say on what it is they are passionate about.”

“Children don’t need to give up their electronic devices completely,” Miller says. “But it’s important to put some limits so they also have time to devote to reading, climbing a tree in the backyard or drawing a picture. They need the opportunity to unleash their creative potential.”

About Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher and mother of two teenage sons, serves as a national spokeswoman for Magic Sketch, ( which uses a liquid-crystal-display screen that children can doodle, draw, sketch and trace on just like pen on paper. Small children can also use the board to learn their letters and numbers. Miller worked as a fulltime sixth-grade teacher for nine years, and has been a substitute teacher for grades 2 through 8 for the last six years. 

Help kids conquer sugar season by getting them off the couch

Fun, physical activities that will get kids excited to move this holiday season

The American Heart Association recommends kids ages 2 to 18, consume six teaspoons or less of added sugar a day, but between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas children tend to consume well over the daily limit. Setting restrictions to how much children can partake in holiday season goodies can help, but ensuring they get off the couch and move their feet around is key to staying healthy during the sugar loaded season.

Below are some tips from Kilian Saekel, co-founder of a tech-based gaming system called ROXs, on fun, physical activities that kids can do indoors during the holiday season.

  • New twists on old games- Play your family’s favorite card or board games, but add a physical twist to them. For example, while playing Go Fish if you ask for a card that no one has you have to do a set amount of sit ups or pushups.

  • Chores can be fun- Turn doing household chores into a physical activity by playing music and encouraging kids to dance around while completing tasks. You can also have kids race against each other to complete tasks and the losing team has to do laps around the living room.

  • At-home gym- Set up stations around the living room, like jump rope, weights and hula hoop and have kids cycle through them setting a timer that lets them know when it’s time to rotate. This keeps kids interested in the activities since there are various stations to go to and they only do them for a short amount of time before moving on.

  • Use technology to get kids excited - Kids love technology and nowadays there are various apps and games that aim to get kids off the couch and participating in physical activities. NFL Play 60 app and ROXs 2s are both good options to get kids excited about burning off calories and sugar from holiday goodies.

  • Turn reading books or watching movies into a game- While reading or watching a movie pick a word or phrase that is frequently repeated and assign a physical activity to it. For example, if you are reading Green Eggs and Ham, every time the word egg is said you have to jump up and down three times and if ham is said you have to touch your toes.

  • Turn your house into a sports arena- Play indoor-friendly versions of your child’s favorite sports. Hallway soccer involves placing pieces of tape on the opposite sides of the hallway floor to represent the nets then give children a small ball to kick around. Volleyball can be played by tying a piece of string between two chairs and using a balloon as a ball.

From Faerie the Blog is Gone

via deviantart

It's ok though, I deleted. On purpose.

I have copied all my stories. Including the Confessions of a Nixie blog posts. I'm going to make an updated ebook with a nice template for Kindle and probably the Barnes & Noble e-publishing too with the From Faerie Short Stories. I will be adding a new one too, once I write it.

Now the question is do I want to make The Nixie series into an ebook or a new fiction blog. Thoughts?

Let there be Magic #mermaidmonday

Leafs magic by AnnaSho

She walked across the forest path
Following the sound of water
Knowing where to go
Without knowing where she was

Was this a dream?
Was it real?

She never knew what to think
Going by what she felt
Feeling the pull ....

Of Magic

Introduction to Pinhole Photography | Interview with Moni Smith

Wisdom Wednesday

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Here are a few of our favorite picks.

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Happy New Year