15 KIND WAYS TO BEAT “THE BOREDOM BLUES” THIS SUMMER

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Summer is quickly approaching, which means the kiddos are on break and ready to be entertained. When they’re so used to going, going, going, having time off inspires an endless stream of “I’m Bored”s. We have compiled a list of fun activities to do this summer, as a family.

1. Go on a hike. (smile at strangers!)

2. Prepare lunch and go out for a picnic. (surprise someone with their favorite snacks!)

3. Tie dye pillowcases. . . (and promote more peace!)

If this is an activity that your children will enjoy, here is a handy how to guide: http://plainvanillamom.com/2015/06/tie-dye-pillow-cases.html.

4. Create and eat homemade popsicles. (share them too!)

Here are some delicious homemade popsicle recipes: http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/food-drinks/g1597/popsicle-recipes/.

5. Visit your local zoo. (give love to the animals)

6. Make a sundial. (get outside and get grounded)

Learn how to make your own sundial here: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2014/05/how-to-make-sundial.html.

7. Have a water balloon fight. (well, just be nice!!)

8. Play the water balloon phonics game.
An alternative to the “have a water balloon fight” idea is to make it educational. You can read all about the water balloon phonics game here: http://www.messforless.net/water-balloon-phonics-get-ready-for-k/.

9. Visit your local library and spend the day reading. (or volunteer to read to others)

10. Play an outdoor game of Twister. (stretching and laughing in the sun always feels nice)

11. Paint like Jackson Pollock

For inspiration on this one, check out this link: http://www.happinessishomemade.net/homeschool-kids-art-lesson-jackson-pollock/.

12. Follow the life cycle of a butterfly. (and plant some pollenating plants!)

You can order a live butterfly kit here: https://www.amazon.com/Live-Butterfly-Kit-Caterpillars-Now-Hanging/dp/B00B7PNHBG.

13.  Grow flowers. (cut them and give them to someone)

14. Make your own sidewalk foam paint and decorate the driveway. (use kind words such as smile, love, hugs, and peace

Find out how to make your own sidewalk foam paint here: http://thetiptoefairy.com/2016/05/diy-sidewalk-foam-paint/.

15. Go on a camping trip. (spend time with family and friends)

All of the above listed activities can incorporate kindness. Your children can invite others to join them on adventures or teach a friend how to do one of their newfound activities. Their homegrown flowers, tie-dye pillowcases and homemade popsicles can all be shared with others, as well.

A great way to make a habit of teaching your children about the practice of kindness is through Get it Going Now’s monthly kindness box. Each month, Get it Going Now subscribers receive a box which contains instructions, materials and cool souvenirs that result in a project to perform a good deed. By subscribing to Get it Going Now, you will feel inspired by your monthly opportunity to practice kindness.

Learn more about Get it Going Now here: https://www.getitgoingnow.com.

Let us know what your child’s favorite summer activity was in the comments section below.

WHY BEING COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS THOSE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM IS SO IMPORTANT – BY SAVANNAH SLONE

April is Autism Awareness Month and, as a mother to a child with autism, I wanted to share my perspective on compassion and how it relates to how you treat those on the spectrum.

Autism spectrum disorder is currently present in 1 out of every 68 children in the U.S (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0327-autism-spectrum-disorder.html). These numbers have increased exponentially over time and will most likely increase, if the pattern continues. With rates having increased 30% since 2012, we need to increase autism awareness so that children can begin receiving the help that they need as early as possible.

My now three-year-old son was developing normally until he hit a regression at 15 months. He became more serious and rigid and began toe walking, flapping his hands, spinning in circles, and lining up his toys. He lost his 10-word vocabulary and his interest in other children. This happened basically overnight and inspired me to do some research. With a concern of autism, I discussed his behaviors with his doctor. She recommended looking into getting a diagnosis and beginning early intervention services.

After my son received his diagnosis, at 21-months, he began speech, occupational, and ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. He has since made incredible progress and mainly only struggles with social issues, transitions, and a slightly lesser vocabulary than his fellow three-year-old peers. He is now in an autism specific preschool program and absolutely loves it.

While my son has made amazing strides, I worry over the possibility of another regression in the future. I also fear how his “normally” developing peers will treat him in the future. According to a study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network, “A total of 63% of 1,167 children with ASD, ages 6 to 15, had been bullied at some point in their lives” (https://www.iancommunity.org/cs/ian_research_reports/ian_research_report_bullying). Knowing that the majority of children on the spectrum have been bullied breaks my heart for my son.

The most effective way of lowering this tragic statistic is through educating our neurotypical children on what autism is and what an affect their words can make on a person. “Autism”, as defined by Autism Speaks, “refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences” (https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism). According to Psychology Today, children with autism are 28 times more likely to attempt suicide (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/201303/new-research-autism-and-suicide). If those with autism felt more accepted, I have no doubt that this statistic would be lower.

One form of educating your kids about autism is through children’s books on the topic. Below is a list of seven titles to read with your children.

1. “My Friend with Autism” by Beverly Bishop
https://www.amazon.com/My-Friend-Autism-Enhanced-Coloring/dp/193527418X

2. “My Brother Charlie” by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
https://www.amazon.com/Brother-Charlie-Holly-Robinson-Peete/dp/0545094666

3. “Everybody is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism” by Fiona Bleach
https://www.amazon.com/Brother-Charlie-Holly-Robinson-Peete/dp/0545094666

4. “Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism: An Insight into the Autistic Mind” by Max Miller
https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Name-Max-Have-Autism/dp/1496922980/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491247470&sr=8-1&keywords=Hello%2C+My+Name+is+Max+and+I+Have+Autism%3A+An+Insight+into+the+Autistic+Mind

5. “I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism” by Pat Thomas
https://www.amazon.com/See-Things-Differently-First-Autism/dp/1438004796/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491247497&sr=8-1&keywords=I+See+Things+Differently%3A+A+First+Look+at+Autism

6. “Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book” by Celeste Shally
https://www.amazon.com/Since-Were-Friends-Autism-Picture/dp/1616086564/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491247507&sr=8-1&keywords=Since+We%27re+Friends%3A+An+Autism+Picture+Book

7. “All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism” by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
https://www.amazon.com/All-My-Stripes-Children-Autism/dp/1433819171/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491247517&sr=8-1&keywords=All+My+Stripes%3A+A+Story+for+Children+with+Autism

By talking to your children about autism, and other developmental disorders, they will understand that they ought to be treated with respect as equals. Raising compassionate kids can truly save lives.

10 BIRTHDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR THE CHILDREN IN YOUR LIFE

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Kids have too much stuff. There, I said it—someone had to. Kids have way too much stuff and it’s weighing down their imaginations and ability to think for themselves. With television, video games and other forms of technology becoming more and more present in the lives of people of all ages, there needs to be a more well established balance. When your child, sibling, niece, nephew, or best friend’s kiddo has an upcoming birthday, it is an opportunity to nurture what children are losing: the ability to simply be a child. Below are ten ideas for birthday gifts that the children in your life will adore.

1. Gift Certificate

Gift certificates are one of the best gifts that can be given. A gift certificate is a gift of a memory, rather than a dispensable item. Give them a gift certificate for your local zoo, roller-skating rink, restaurant, or any other fun spot that you or their family can take them. By giving the gift of fun and memories, you avoid adding to the clutter of too many toys and encourage the child to make time for play.

2. Gardening Tools

Giving a gift of gardening tools is wonderful! You can pair them with flower seeds, veggie starts, or a book about gardening. This is a gift that teaches children a sustainable skill, while simultaneously encouraging them to get outside and work with their hands. Gardening teaches hard work, patience, and offers a worthwhile (and tasty) reward as the season progresses.

3. Box Subscriptions

Box Subscriptions are always a good idea!  Children love to get mail and open packages.  There are several great subscriptions available for children. Some focus on art, science, clothes, and cooking. Our favorite is the Get it Going box which delivers activities to promote kindness. Boxes are filled with “Top Secret” challenges making the doing part of kind deeds more fun. Check out other subscription boxes at crate joy.com

4. Art Supplies
One of the best ways for children to get creative in play and express themselves is through art. A gift of paints, crayons, colored pencils, or other art supplies are always great “go to” present ideas.

5. Baking Supplies

Cooking is a skill that ought to begin from an early age. Cooking is rewarding and highly enjoyable, so a baking bowl, whisk, and set of measuring cups is the perfect gift for any child. Pair baking supplies with a kid-friendly cookbook like one of these: http://dailyparent.com/articles/the-15-best-cookbooks-for-kids/.

6. DIY Science Kit

Many kids love science and learning through cause and effect. Being able to put something together themselves or witnessing a reaction is tons of fun! Check out this list of DIY science kits for children: http://nontoygifts.com/top-11-diy-science-kits-for-kids/. Another great resource is the Science & Discovery Toys section on the Toys”R”Us website: http://www.toysrus.com/products/science-and-discovery-toys.jsp.

7. Musical Instrument

Learning a musical instrument is exciting! It takes patience, practice, and hard work, but leaves them with a creative skill that can become a lifelong hobby or, perhaps, even a career. A musical instrument can be paired with an instructional book, DVD, or prepaid series of classes at a local music shop.

8. A Gift From the Heart

One of the most special gifts that can be given are those from the heart. A handmade card or self-composed and performed song, dance, or poem are all very thoughtful. Another idea is a book of photos of you and the child. Regardless of what it is, a gift that you make will be memorable and kind.

9. Books

Children, or adults, for that matter, cannot have too many books. Reading expands the mind and encourages analytical thinking, as well as empathy for people different than oneself.

10. Journals
A journal is a simple, yet thoughtful gift. This can be given on its own or along with a special pen. You can personalize it by giving a list of journal prompt ideas. For journal prompt inspiration, check out this link: https://www.journalbuddies.com/prompts-by-grade/elementary-writing-journal-prompt-ideas-for-kids/.

Let us know which of these birthday gift ideas you went with, in the comments section below.

FIVE RECIPES THAT YOUR CHILD CAN HELP MAKE

Cooking with your children is not only an excellent learning and bonding experience, but it’s also an opportunity to practice kindness. Below we have found five recipes that kids love to eat, as well as make.

1. The Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcake by Wilde in the Kitchen

http://wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2010/11/cupcake-24-7-spaghetti-meatball-cupcake.html

2. Easy Chocolate Fudge with Pretzels by Martha Stewart

http://www.marthastewart.com/852402/easy-chocolate-fudge-pretzels

3. Summer Zucchini Bites by Circle of Moms

http://www.circleofmoms.com/recipe/summer-zucchini-bites

4. Mini Turkey Burgers by Martha Stewart

http://www.marthastewart.com/268626/mini-turkey-burgers

5. Baked Parmesan Zucchini by Damn Delicious

http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/21/baked-parmesan-zucchini/

With cooking comes the obvious result of food. To bring the teaching of kindness into your cooking lesson, you could take the finished product to local friends or those in need. Sharing edible homemade creations is an expression of love and giving.

A great way to introduce cooking with your children, while simultaneously teaching and practicing kindness is through Get it Going Now’s monthly kindness box. Each month, Get it Going Now subscribers receive a box which contains instructions, materials and cool souvenirs that result in a project to perform a good deed. By subscribing to Get it Going Now, you will feel inspired by your monthly opportunity to practice kindness and you just may get some ingredients to make a great treat!

Learn more about Get it Going Now here: https://www.getitgoingnow.com.

Let us know what your child’s favorite recipe was in the comments section below.

SIX KID CRAFTS THAT TEACH KINDNESS

Teaching and practicing kindness is vital to raising compassionate children. Creating and sharing art is an excellent way to bond and learn alongside your kids. Below are six crafts that offer opportunities to teach kindness.

1. A (Paper) Chain of Kindness

http://sugarspiceandglitter.com/paper-chain-kindness/
2. Kindness Postcards

http://growingbookbybook.com/writing-activities-kindness-postcards/

3. Decorate a Kindness Jar

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/10849/peaceful-parenting-kindness-jar

4. Mail a “Hug”

http://lovenloot.blogspot.com/2013/01/kindness-craft.html

5. Cards for Care Packages for Sick Children

http://capriplus3.com/2015/02/teach-kids-kindness-make-cards-sick-children.html

6. Paper Plate Flowers

http://www.theresourcefulmama.com/paper-plate-flower-craft-for-kids/

To bring the teaching of kindness into your kindness craft sessions, you can share the finished products with local friends or those in need. Sharing homemade creations is an expression of love and giving.

A great way to make a habit of practicing kindness is through Get it Going Now’s monthly kindness box. Each month, Get it Going Now subscribers receive a box which contains instructions, materials and cool souvenirs that result in a project to perform a good deed. By subscribing to Get it Going Now, you will feel inspired by your monthly opportunity to practice kindness.

Learn more about Get it Going Now here: https://www.getitgoingnow.com.

Let us know what your child’s favorite kindness craft was in the comments section below.

TEN TITLES ON NETFLIX THAT TEACH KIDS KINDNESS  

Teaching kindness is an important aspect of raising compassionate children. One way of doing so is through witnessing others who are successfully practicing kindness. Below are ten Netflix titles that display kindness through friendship and standing up for what is right. Visit www.netflix.com to begin your first month free.

The Fox and the Hound

This film has profound messages of friendship and teaches the importance of appreciating the differences in those separate from our selves.

Mulan

This movie teaches children to never doubt or limit themselves.  The overarching theme of girl power brings an important gender expectation focus to the table, as well.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This movie teaches kids not to judge people by their appearance. This film encourages standing up for what’s right and wanting to brighten others’ lives.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

This film is all about friendship and being selfless. It teaches children how rewarding it can be to be a helpful and giving person.

Zootopia

This film defines stereotypes and displays the negative side of playing a role in stereotyping others. It also inspires children to be kind and stand up for others.

Babe

This movie exhibits the difference between right and wrong and the prominence of resistance. Themes of friendship, compassion and more have a large presence in the film, as well.

Finding Dory

This movie focuses on differences and disabilities. By increasing awareness and empathy, children are more likely to understand and accept and be inclusive toward the peers that they don’t have too many similarities with.

Home

This movie concentrates on diversity and why it ought to be valued.

Kindness is Contagious

The title of this film gives away the importance of viewing it. This movie played a huge role in the inspiration of this list.

Bully

This is a film that we would suggest showing to your older kids, as it is rated PG-13 and handles sensitive, emotional subjects. It is a very moving, important film, but we suggest that you pre-screen it yourself before you decide whether or not it is age appropriate for your child to view.

To bring the teaching of kindness into your movie night, you can conclude the night by discussing the global themes and lessons learned from watching each feature.

A great way to make a habit of practicing kindness is through Get it Going Now’s monthly kindness box. Each month, Get it Going Now subscribers receive a box which contains instructions, materials and cool souvenirs that result in a project to perform a good deed. By subscribing to Get it Going Now, you will feel inspired by your monthly opportunity to practice kindness.

Learn more about Get it Going Now here: https://www.getitgoingnow.com.

Let us know what your child took away from these Netflix titles in the comments section below.

SUMMER CAMP ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR KIDS

While summer camp can be a highly enjoyable and memorable part of childhood, it isn’t always what’s best for every family. Whether the reasons are financial or otherwise, there are still many ways to make the most of your child’s summer break from school.

By exploring your community’s events and resources, you can plan out a summer equally as fun as any given summer camp. Libraries often host free readings, workshops and classes. National (and local) parks have educational opportunities for children, as well as adults. Your local YMCA and churches most likely have classes and activities for your child, as well. Browse online or in a local newspaper for volunteer opportunities at a local farm, one day workshops, child focused concerts, theatre in the park and so on. Swim lessons and play dates are excellent alternatives, too.

Summer camps are memorable because of their foundations in fun activities and socialization. By creating your own activities and keeping your social calendar full, you can easily make this summer one that your child will never forget.

For even more summer fun ideas, read our blog post titled, “15 Ways to Avoid Hearing “I’m Bored” This Summer” here :https://www.getitgoingnow.com/ourblog/2017/4/10/15-kind-ways-to-beat-the-boredom-blues-this-summer.

Your children can invite others to join them to these enjoyable events. By being inclusive, your child will make new friends, while simultaneously practicing kindness. A great way to make a habit of teaching your children about the practice of kindness is through Get it Going Now’s monthly kindness box. Each month, Get it Going Now subscribers receive a box which contains instructions, materials and cool souvenirs that result in a project to perform a good deed. By subscribing to Get it Going Now, you will feel inspired by your monthly opportunity to practice kindness.

Learn more about Get it Going Now here: https://www.getitgoingnow.com.

Let us know what your child’s favorite summer activity was in the comments section below.