Take them to the public library to get their own library card.
If they are too young to read themselves, read them bedtime stories.
It’s never too early to inspire a love of good books. No, they won’t all become leaders, but research shows that reading to children and discussing the book is the best way to increase your child’s IQ and instill a love of reading.
I’m pleased today to feature a special guest post on Friday Fiction.
My 12 year-old granddaughter Leah wrote the following flash fiction piece for school recently. When her mom showed it to me, I liked it so much, I asked Leah if she would allow me to publish it here on my blog.
Our family’s budding new writer readily agreed. Friends and followers, please take a moment to read it and tell me what you think!
Bart, the security guard, has always loved his job at the amusement park. He loves the greasy smell of deep-fried onions and the sweet smell of cotton candy drifting in the breeze as people happily skip by.
But there was just one thing that made Bart sad. He would always see people of all ages having so much fun with huge smiles on their faces as they jumped with excitement. Bart looked down at his chubby belly sticking out under his uniform with grease stains all over it from his recent lunch break. “I wish I could ride one of the roller coasters,” Bart thought to himself. All he wanted was to be able to ride a roller coaster and know what it was like to be happy and have fun.
Bart decided to make a plan. Maybe he could sneak onto a ride. No one would notice he was gone from his post because no one ever noticed he was there. Except for Trevor.
Trevor was Bart’s very strict boss. If Trevor ever found out about Bart’s plan, he would fire him for good and Bart definitely did not want that to happen. But he wanted to ride a roller coaster so bad, he was willing to take the chance.
Late one day, Bart was ready for action. It was 9:00 pm and the park closed at 10:00 pm. It was dark out so he wouldn’t be seen as easily. Bart slipped off his uniform so that he was left with a T-shirt and a pair of shorts on. He quickly put on his ball cap and ran off to the scariest ride in the park called “The Brain Wash”.
Bart got in line. While everyone was passing their tickets to the tall man standing at the entrance, Bart squeezed past the man without being seen. Bart had made it through!
He was finally on the ride. As the roller coaster was going up the steep hill with a ticking sound, he looked down at everyone below. They all looked like little ants. But there was one face that Bart could pick out. It was Trevor looking up at him with his arms folded across his chest. What if Bart got fired from his job?
“That’s my father.” … Seemingly an innocent and offhand remark made by the youngest of his three children, those three little words meant much more to our dad. I know it made him feel proud and happy to be that father, that figure of authority and loving protector of his family.
It was a responsibility he took seriously, a role that only he could execute with his unique brand of friendship, understanding and humour…”
Thank you for the many, many things you’ve ever done for me. As it is for most mothers, they are far too numerous to list here.
An endless list, actually. Hey, you even took it upon yourself to trim my bangs from time to time. Why would we bother driving to the beauty parlor when you were there, eager and happy to do it? How hard could it be? And naturally, your other daughter’s bangs didn’t escape your butchery expertise either.
Now Mom, I understand we were a one-income household at the time and you liked saving money wherever possible, but don’t you think your scissors-happy ways may have been a tad aggressive, especially for a school photo, recorded for posterity?
This practice of yours was nearly as darling as your penchant for dressing up my sister and me as twins. Never mind that I was two and a half years older than her.
And yet, as I flip through this old family album, my heart swells.
I see your smile.
I hear your laughter.
I feel the love.
I see my happy childhood, personified, in all of these snaps of captured memories.
And you know what, Mom? It makes me realize I wouldn’t change a single thing.
– Love your daughter,
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the loving moms out there!
There’s treasure children always seek to find
and just like us
you must have had
Did you know? Marine scientists have replaced the starfish’s common name with sea star because it’s not a fish. It’s an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. There are 2,000 species of sea star living in all the world’s oceans. The five-arm varieties are the most common. Sea stars have an eye at the tip of each arm.
Last Friday, I had the honour to serve as one of three judges in our local high school’s speak-out competition.
Held and sponsored by Badger’s Quay Lions Club, this year’s event boasted nineteen students competing from Pearson Academy, the highest number of participants in all of Atlantic Canada. Good on you, teen citizens!
Purpose of a Speak-Out:
• To provide youth with the opportunity to practice and build skills through public speaking
• To encourage youth to have a public voice in issues of concern to them
And the winners are:
Bridgette, 3rd place. Topic: The dangers of drunk driving.
Leah, 2nd place. Topic: Being “Seventeen” in today’s world.
Megan, 1st place. Topic: How cancer in a family affects the children. As the winner, Megan will go on to compete at the regional level next month.
What stood out about the winners: plenty of eye contact, how well they articulated their thoughts, and how animated and relaxed they were with the audience.
I thought all the students did very well with the preparation of their chosen material. As per speak-out regulations, however, several excellent speeches received penalties for exceeding time limits.
I enjoyed this event immensely and would love to be invited back again, and I’m super-encouraged by the high level of participation and interest in public speaking demonstrated by our local youth.
Has your child ever competed in a public speaking event? Share your experiences with me below.
Today’s post is brought to you by my guest, author Susan Day.
Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the best things you can do for them, and for you too, for that matter.
Sure, kids love gifts and candy, and they get really excited about going to a theme park or spending time with their friends. However, there is a secret world which exists right outside the window and one which has a powerful allure. I’m referring to nature.
Nature offers an endless array of beauty and wonder, and for the most part it’s free and easy to access. Taking your grandchildren outdoors is a great way to build a strong connection with them. Just spending time and ‘being’ with children is important for their wellbeing.
Some children don’t get outdoors enough, and the simple act of wandering along the street, running at the park or tramping through the beach sand is an experience they are sadly missing out on.
Ignite a Sense of Curiosity
Research tells us that curious kids are intelligent kids. The more questions they ask, the more their minds grow and develop.
Nature has a bounty of things to be curious about. You could literally spend hours outside with your grandchildren exploring, and you don’t have to live near a forest or a beach to enjoy nature either. It’s in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, at your local park, or any place a tree is growing and the birds are singing.
Do your grandkids know where bees go, and what they are doing buzzing around those flowers? Do they know why some birds migrate, and others live in the same area all their lives?
Point Out the Beauty in Small Objects
Each time your grandchildren come to visit, make a point of taking them outside and showing them something nature is doing. It might be new buds on the tree or the color autumn leaves are turning.
How many people rush through their busy days, not noticing subtle changes happening around them? Isn’t there something magnificent about the way birds take off or the way clouds move across the sky?
“Isn’t that interesting…” you might begin to say, and then point out an aspect of nature that is happening right under their very noses.
Look at a Leaf
What shape is it? Does it have any spots or spines? Compare it to another leaf from a plant that is growing close by. What things are similar? What are different? You could also begin a leaf scrap-book and share details of trees and shrubs that live in your area.
Analyse an Ant
Who doesn’t love bugs? Well, most adults don’t find them interesting, but kids love ’em! Bugs, beetles, aphids, and ants are like miniature dinosaurs or creatures from outer space living in our backyards. Without interfering with their busy lives, make a point of sharing these remarkable creatures with your grandchild.
Marvel at Moths
Moths, butterflies and dragonflies all go about their daily lives in nearly every place on earth, living in the most amazing ways.
Your grandchildren will love to learn about them. They will enjoy the wonder nature has to offer through your eyes, and come to a deeper understanding of how remarkable the world really is.
“I’d Rather Watch TV, Grandma!”
Nature has a way of going about its business whether we are watching or not, and all the while our televisions and devices are nagging us to watch and engage.
You may find your grandchildren are not used to examining nature in so much detail. They may not understand what you are getting at, but one thing is for sure: they won’t forget the time you have spent with them and how important nature was to you. It is a privilege to be able to see what nature is doing, and stand in awe of what it will do next.
What child doesn’t deserve to be introduced to all of this wondrous world?
No doubt your grandkids will grow and mature, and will find themselves stopping to admire a flower or cloud patterns. They will turn to a friend, their partner or even their own children, and share memories they have of you and how you introduced them to one of the most magnificent things on this planet – nature.
Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.
Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – Jennifer