Fit Kids=Smart Kids.

A recent study of 70 kids aged 9-11, led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that strong muscles in children correlates to better memory.  Other studies found that aerobically fit children have better thinking ability, attention, memory, and academic performance.

Bottom line: Getting kids moving with strength-building and aerobic activities during their school years will lead to an overall better school experience. Kids don’t have to join a gym.  Just make sure your child’s school has a playground with lots of equipment and that recess and gym classes are a regular part of the schedule.  Set an example by doing active things together as a family.  Taking after dinner walks, dancing to favorite songs, jumping rope, using a hula hoop, skipping and swimming.  Try crab walks, wheelbarrow races, pillow case races, and soup can arm curls to build muscles.

Activity can be fun when parents set the tone and participate as well.  The rewards are better health and a smarter brain!

Why Poetry by David L. Harrison

This is a great answer to WHY POETRY!

Writing and Illustrating

Evan Robb at his educational site posed the question – “Why poetry?” to David Harrison. If you want to know, asking a great poet is the way to go. Here is what David wrote for his site.

“Why poetry?” the response may be a surprised look, the sort you’d expect if you’d asked, “Why do you breathe?” Perhaps it’s better to ask, “Why poets?” Who are these passionately dedicated people who throw themselves into the slow, tedious business of making poems? Good poetry is hard to write, selling poetry is next to impossible, and poets rarely make much money. So why poetry, why poets, and why should you care?

I can’t speak for other poets (although I bet they’d all answer in much the same way), but I love the challenge of beginning with an idea and facing all those decisions that must be made before I wind up with a finished…

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DIY Backyard Activities.

There is still plenty of summer left to enjoy.  You can get kids out of the house and keep them busy by making your own backyard a fun-filled oasis for the kids.  Besides the usual sprinkler, water balloon fights, and assorted water games, check out these really cool outdoor activities from Buzz Feed.  There’s backyard dominoes, lawn twister, bean bag toss, giant bubbles and a do-it-yourself slip and slide.

Many of the activities use things already on hand, so there is no need to invest in new gadgets.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/cieravelarde/suns-out-funs-out?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Parents%20614&utm_content=Parents%20614%2BCID_04fc34111fe2dc9b39baa67b7b04ef20&utm_source=BuzzFeed%20Newsletters&utm_term=.poglK3NawX#.cdy5Aw7rVb

Happy summer fun!

Kathleen Burkinshaw – The Last Cherry Blossom – Talks Research

Writing and Illustrating

Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during the last days of WWII. After reading Kathleen’s great middle grade book, I asked if she could share how she researched the book, knowing it would help so many writers.

Here is the review I wrote on Goodreads:

Fabulous! From the first page to the last, I kept saying, “Wow, this is such a great book.” It is a story that needed to be told and one that should be read by young and old. Kathleen has woven a beautiful story into a book that submerges the reader in the Japanese culture leading up to the Atomic Bomb that ended WWII. I don’t know how much of her mother’s story Kathleen told, but I know her love for her family and Mother poured out of her and onto the pages of this book – so…

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Let’s Make Some Rain!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the power to make our own rain, especially with so much of the country  experiencing drought?  We may not be able to make rain in the real sense, but with this activity, you can hear the soothing sound of rainfall anytime you wish.

All that’s needed to make a RAINSTICK is a long cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels or foil, construction paper and stickers for decoration, dried couscous, and duct tape.

1. Cover the tube with paper and seal the seam with stickers or the tape.

2.  Cut out two circles for each end of the tube. Drape one circle over one end and seal shut with tape.

3.  Pour about 1/4 C couscous into the tube.  Drape the second circle over the end and seal shut with tape.

4.  Decorate the tube with stickers. 

5. To make the sound of rain, slowly and gently tilt the tube from one end to the other.  Close your eyes, breathe in the rain scented air, and the illusion is complete!