NBA star presents stellar example of "How to support your LGBTQ+ child"

In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, NBA player Dwyane Wade discussed how he and his wife support and empower their teenaged child Zaya.

[YouTube] Read the rest

The inventor of the ball pit was inspired by a jar of pickled onions

More than 40 years ago, Eric McMillan, a renowned designer of children's play areas, and his team created the ball pit, those troughs of brightly-colored plastic balls that children swim around in. (Ball pits also may be a giant petri dish of pathogens but, hell, the kids love 'em.) Apparently, McMillan--who went on to be known as the "father of soft play" for his numerous playful innovations like the "punch bag forest"--found his inspiration for the ball pit in his kitchen. From the BBC:

McMillan and his team came up with the idea for the ball pit in San Diego more than 40 years ago, when inspiration struck after looking at a container of pickled onions in the kitchen. “There was a jar of onions, and we were sort of saying: ‘wow, how about if you could crawl through those? And then – ding – we decided we’d try it,” he says.

The first ball pit, filled with 40,000 balls, opened soon after their epiphany. “People just went crazy about it. Thank God for those onions.”

More in this BBC podcast: "Pickled onions inspired me to design the ball pit"

image: "Children in ball pit in Nachshonit" by יעקב (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

School apologizes after parents complain that "Santa Goes Green" Christmas concert was anti-oil

On Thursday, the Oxbow Prairie Horizons School in Saskatchewan, Canada staged their annual student Christmas concert. The show, "Santa Goes Green," pissed off parents in the town where oil is one of the major industries. Here's a description from the Santa Goes Green sheet music:

Melting ice caps, global warming, surfing reindeer! The North Pole is going green this year and everyone is excited – everyone, that is, except Santa who likes things just the way they are. Solar panels, LED light bulbs, new power sources? It all sounds a bit inconvenient to him. Mrs. Claus, the elves, toys and reindeer have their hands full!

From CBC:

(Mike Gunderman, whose daughter was in the show,) said the concerns raised were not directed at the children. He said they did a great job singing and performing, but he felt it was "the wrong message to send at the wrong time of the season.

"Especially when our industry is suffering right now," he said. "It's a tough time for everybody."

Audrey Trombley, chair of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division where Oxbow Prairie is located, apologized to anyone who was offended by the concert, saying there was never any intention to make the show political.

"There was no political agenda," said Audrey Trombley, chair of the division's Board of Trustees. "The teacher chose the song because of the rhythm and the beat, and thought the kids would like it."

image: cover detail of Santa Goes Green sheet music book (Hal Leonard) Read the rest

Illinois schools don't just lock special ed kids in solitary, they also restrain them

Last month, Propublica published a characteristically blockbuster piece on the use of "quiet rooms" in Illinois schools, especially in special ed programs: these are a euphemism for solitary confinement, and their use is so cruel and grotesque that Propublica's reporting prompted state level action to ban quiet rooms in schools and reform the policy on their use. Read the rest

Best substitute teacher ever fired for smoking pot in class at Massachusetts high school

Set and setting, people. Read the rest

Crowdfunding for Los Anarchists, a junior roller derby team in Sun Valley, CA

Anthony Gulino writes, "Los Anarchists Junior Derby is a nonprofit that takes a DIY approach to teaching roller derby to kids. It runs programs for all levels from the youngest, newest skaters to the highest level of competitive junior derby at its dedicated facility, Anarchy Hall, in Sun Valley, CA. Los Anarchists' travel team is the current Junior Roller Derby Association World Champions in the Female division and have been invited to The Big O in Oregon, as well as tournaments in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tampa this season." Read the rest

The Challenge Vault: a locksport training tool and mechanical puzzle that teaches you to be a safecracker

Every year around this time, our friends at Sparrow Lockpicks (previously) come out with a incredibly clever, giftable addition to your locksport arsenal; I always buy a few of these for Christmas gifts (often for younger people on my list) and they're universally well received. Read the rest

Quiet Rooms: Illinois schools lead the nation in imprisoning very young, disabled children in isolation chambers

20 years ago, Illinois was rocked by a scandal after the widespread practice of locking schoolchildren, especially those with disabilities or special needs, in small, confining boxes was revealed. The teachers who imprisoned these children argued that they did so out of the interests of safety -- that of the imprisoned students, of the other students, and of school staff. Read the rest

How to build a button box for a toddler

The creator of the CodeParade video channel made an interactive pushbutton busyboard for his toddler.  He bought a bunch of knobs and switches, wired them to an Arduino, LEDs and beepers, and put them in a craft box. It has a simple mode, in which pushing a button triggers a sound or light, and an advanced mode, which includes a Simon game. It looks like something people of all ages would enjoy playing with. Read the rest

Cop violently arrests and terrorizes a 15 year old Black quadruple amputee

A sheriff's deputy in Pima, AZ was video-recorded wrestling with and screaming at a 15 year old Black teenager with no arms or legs; the cop, who was not named, was called to a group home where the teen lived, because the teen had been upset and yelling and shouting, and had knocked over a trash can. Read the rest

Awestruck babies going through a car wash for the first time

Hold on to your cute little butts there, babies, we're about to go through an automated mechanical car wash. Read the rest

Watch: 9-year-old girl kills Nirvana's 'In Bloom' on drums

Nandi Bushell channels drummer David Grohl as she drums to Nirvana's "In Bloom." Read the rest

Watch this kid do a good thing with his candy

Wait for it.

This is good candy karma. Read the rest

Loot: a kids-only comic "store" in Brooklyn that incubates young comics fans and creators

Loot is a Brooklyn comics "store" (463 Court St, Floor 2, 11231) that is oriented around encouraging local kids to become comics creators. Adults are only admitted if they're with kids, and the store sells $30/month memberships that entitle kids to use copious art supplies and meet with artist-mentors, as well as to borrow comics from the store's library. Read the rest

Artist paints their 5-year-old son's fantastic sea monster drawing

This is such an extraordinarily fun creative project. Read the rest

Halloween Costume: Lunar Module Costume: Big Sis Lunar Lander, Little Sis Astronaut (with flag)

The photo is priceless. Read the rest

Out today: a two-volume, slipcased edition of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, introduced by Gloria Steinem and Toshi Reagon

As part of the renaissance in interest in the glorious science fiction novels of afrofuturist pioneer Octavia Butler (previously), Seven Stories press has just released a two-volume, slipcased set of Butler's fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novels The Parable of the Sower (with an introduction by Gloria Steinem) and The Parable of the Talents (with an introduction by Toshi Reagon). Read the rest

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