Tinker Crate is a monthly subscription service, delivering cool toys to encourage engineering-style skills in kids aged 9 to 14. Instructions are included, but they also produce slick videos like the one above to further engage little minds. Project kits include parts and diagrams to make a trebuchet in one month, and a simple motor the next.
The site doesn't list more projects than that, but since they're offering subscriptions up to 12 months, we'll just have to sign up and be surprised.
Read the rest
Rory The Dinosaur is a new children's picture book by cartoonist Liz Climo. This is an outgrowth of her hobby, drawing cute panel comics, but she's not quitting her day job any time soon. That's because her day job is working on storyboards for The Simpsons. Her simple, funny and cute comics made her a familiar sight online, at Reddit and Pinterest, with a little help from George Takei.
She tells me, "I started writing the book around the same time I found out I was pregnant, and finished before [my baby] was even born (then I did most of the illustrations with her chilling in a bassinet next to me). Now that I'm a mom, I relate to the story way more than I did when I wrote it. Rory's dad is following him around, wanting to let him have his independence while still making sure he's safe and taken care of - something I'm very familiar with now! I just wrapped on my second Rory book, and that one Marlow gave me a ton of inspiration for. I am definitely hoping to do more, and I think being a mom has a lot to do with that."
Oft-cited stats about child abduction puts kidnappers behind every bush. But the numbers are old and frequently mangled, distorting our understanding of genuine risks to children.Read the rest
It's no secret that the Disney-fied versions of fairy tales that we grew up with in modern times pale in comparison to the originals, told by the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.
The originals were often dark and gruesome cautionary tales that taught children about the dangers of the world. Now, for the first time, an English translation of the first edition of the original tales as told by the Brothers Grimm has been published by Princeton University Press. Even the cover of this book is scary!
on how Playmobil's bold stereotyping can be a teachable moment with her 5-year-old, or not.Read the rest
Oldness now officially begins with the dawn of the iPod. Today's youngsters no longer find portable cassette players amusingly old-fashioned; they now have no clue whatsoever about any music gadget old enough to contain moving parts. Just to rub it in, they nevertheless understand the historical context and say very funny, insightful things about consumer technology! [Video Link
"Wheels That Go," a gorgeous 1967 short film by Jim Henson, starring his son Brian, with music by pioneering jazz and electronic music composer Raymond Scott. You'd recognize Scott's big band music from hundreds of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Many of those familiar tunes are available on the compilation Reckless Nights & Turkish Twilights. Scott's experimental electronic pieces, like the one in this film, can be heard on the collections Manhattan Research Inc. and the Soothing Sounds For Baby series. (via Experimental Music on Children's TV)
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have been following and studying the brains and lives of so-called "crack babies" for more than 20 years. Now, they're beginning to publish their findings, and what they're finding is not what they expected
. The researchers saw few statistical differences between kids exposed to crack in utero and those who weren't. But they did find big differences between the exposed babies and the controls when compared to children who grew up in wealthier families. Now, they're coming to the conclusion that it's poverty — not crack — that may present the biggest risk to children's neurological development and their later opportunities in life.
Here is some delightful music for a Monday morning: "Music with Children: Playing the Recorder" by music educator Grace Nash (1909-1990) and friends. (via Toys and Techniques)
A biting incident got someone kicked out of a Cincinnati-area day care on Thursday. That someone was day care worker Robin Mullins, 56, who bit a young child "to teach him a lesson," according to court records. From Cincinnati.com:
According to court documents, the 5-year-old bit another child at Andrew’s Friends Pre-School & Daycare, 9870 Pippin Road, Colerain Township.
He was taken to the office, where Mullins allegedly bit him on the arm… She left a mark on the boy and caused an injury, police said.
"Day-care worker accused of biting 5-year-old" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
About this video
, the parents say: "We popped open our baby monitor app in time to see what really happens when Jude is 'trying to go to sleep.' Hilarious." (Thanks, Tara McGinley!)
In Mother Jones, the story behind "Letters to Newtown." This project was instigated by Boardwalk Empire prop-master, freelance illustrator, and Newtown resident Ross MacDonald, and it serves to digitally archive some of the half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Jacques Hebert of Mother Jones, the magazine putting this all together with Tumblr, explains, "These messages of love, hope, and sadness have been on display in Newtown Town Hall, and have been viewed by many residents. To broaden access to these cards and preserve them as memories of what Newtown residents and the nation experienced on that tragic day, Mother Jones in partnership with Tumblr is launching the 'Letters to Newtown' project."
"The project will aim to digitally preserve these cards (the town of Newtown can't afford to store them any longer and many will be turned into ash for a future memorial site) by photographing them and uploading them to a special Tumblr for the world to see."
Read the rest
My friend John Schwartz
at the New York Times
wrote "Oddly Normal
," a wonderful book about how he and his wife Jeanne worked through challenges to learn how best to support their son Joe, who is gay.
In the Atlantic today, Alice Dreger interviews Joe, who is now 17 years old, "to expand on some of the themes explored in the book and answer some questions raised by people who have commented on it."
Joe is a really interesting person, and the interview is terrific. Go have a read.
(Photo: John and Joe, shot by Ethan Hill for the NYT)
(Video link) Do many people tell you your child is "interesting"? Or "precocious"? Or "downright terrifying"? If you have a special child with a very specific talent for scaring the living bejesus out of people, then here is the fictional casting agency for you (by Barely Political)! (via JoBlo)
There has been a steep increase in the number of CT scans
given to children in emergency rooms across the U.S., mostly for "kids presenting with belly ache," but the appendicitis rate hasn't budged. Findings published today in the journal Pediatrics
detail the spike in use of x-ray-based scans, which are associated with concerns over cancer risks down the road. Study lead Dr. Jahan Fahimi, quoted in Reuters
: "For every six or seven kids that go to the ER for belly ache, one is going to get a CT scan."
Snip: "People in clown costumes and makeup are not allowed in Children's Hospital Los Angeles.'We do observe a no-clown policy because they can be scary for some kids." More on the controversy surrounding creepy clown billboards for Childrens Hospital. FWIW, I drove by another set of ads for this show every day on the way to radiation treatment this summer, and they totally creeped me out. The ad shown here is a little more distinguishable, but I can totally see how some parents and children might confuse the campaign for the real deal. (latimes.com)