A comment was left to a post made earlier this week about exposing your children to plants, animals and the joys of exploring nature. The commenter directed me to TickleMePlant.com, a site that sells Sensitive Plant (or touch-me-not) seeds for parents and kids to grow together in the home year round.
What’s so special about these plants? The leaves react to your child’s touch. Touch the leaves and they will fold together for a time and eventually reopen.
I personally remember these plants from when I was a child on a family trip to the west indies. They blew me away and made enough of an impact that I can remember them vividly even today.
There’s currently a promotion going on between Microsoft and eBay (as well as other stores) for those of you resident in the United States. When I checked yesterday the promotion was offering 30% cashback on purchases up to a max of $200 per purchase (as I recall).
With the Holidays just around the corner – don’t kid yourselves, if you want to ensure good deals for the holidays you’d better start looking around soon – and the economy in pretty miserable shape a 30% discount is going to be hard to ignore as you look for gifts for under the tree, festivus pole, etc. If you live in the United States and have access to this promotion consider yourself (and your children) lucky!
The way it works is you have to search on www.Live.com The results page for a product search will include results accompanied by a coin icon and discount-related text. Clicking on those results will provide you with a discount on the target shop if the purchase is made within a given window.
Enough of my babble, here are the links to more information. Note, that if the discounts are low when you check, try again another day as I’ve seen them range as high as 30% for purchases on eBay.
I just stumbled across what looks like a very promising blog called Bread & Honey which offers a number of very appealing recipes that I’m planning to try in coming weeks. The squash-related soups and snacks in particular will make it to our table, this I promise you.
Warm squash soup and grilled cheese sandwiches… mmmmmm… bring the rain.
And I thought it was bad worrying about such things when I was in highschool. I can’t imagine the pressure and stress a young child must experience if these are the kinds of messages they’re presented with.
I grew up with a great deal more freedom than the average child these days. We lived in a quiet neighbourhood, had plenty of yard both front and back and were a short bike ride from farms and the country in almost any direction. We had creeks, streams and even a large river less than a 20 minute bike ride away and a number of woods perfect for exploring. To top it all off my grandparents ran a sizeable farm in Ontario that gave me extensive exposure to animals, crops and gardening.
These days even when similar amenities are nearby very few children are given a long enough leash to explore them. Further, with both parents in the workplace in many cases, they aren’t given the same educational guidance to go along with their regular exploration.
In my mind this is a huge shame. While today I work in technology my love of nature remains very strong. I still remember details about bugs, plants and animals that I learned from my parents and grandparents many, many years ago.
So what’s a parent to do? I have to admit I don’t have the answer. The extent to which you let your child explore their surroundings is a very personal decision and one affected by the specifics of your surrounding. That said there are ways to foster an interest in nature around the house. I’ve gathered a few links below to serve as ideas to get started:
Nothing replaces unhurried outdoor experience in nature, but for those cold / rainy winter days, or for those living in locations without nearby parks, streams and woods this kind of information may stimulate a curiosity in the outdoors and science for kids who might not otherwise get exposure.
This post was inspired by a post over at ParentHacks today. They provide a link to a pdf guide providing best practices for ensuring your children’s safety.
I figured I could dig up a few other resources to round out your evening reading. Remember, your kids have grown up online and no matter how web-savvy you think you are chances are you’re a novice compared to junior.
Microsoft provides a number of resources geared toward keeping your kids safe online. These resources touch on topics like the importance of secure passwords, family contracts governing online use, using shared (public) computers safely and avoiding online predators among other topics.
The FBI provides a parent’s guide to internet safety that should serve as a crash course for you before you reach out to your children.
The Family Online Safety Institute which I believe is part of the ICRA provides links to a number of different resources for parents looking to understand the risks online and to educate and protect their children from online risks. Of the options above this one looks like a real resource and worth a bookmark (in the event you don’t choose to just bookmark this site… after all I’ll be posting more like these
This courtesy of Autoblog. It seems that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided that buses under a certain weight will have to be fitted with seatbelts to – get this – protect our children.
The article goes on to present the reasoning why this hasn’t happened in the past and quite frankly its a disgusting read as they present the dollar sum that was deemed too high to protect children on their way to school. This in a country where that sum is less than the amount a group of 5 bankers alotted themselves as bonuses before declaring their firm bankrupt.
Hmm… protect children on the way to school or reward crooks? I can’t believe it took this long.