Tag Archives: summer

Stimulating the Summer Brain: For parents who are watching their children drool over their devices.

Heavy into summer, kids do not want to hear the word “school” let alone the word “read” and do NOT utter the name we do not speak of “HOMEWORK.”

So if you’re a parent like me and you’ve begun noticing that there’s no intellectual stimulation other than YouTube and gaming with an occasional excursion to the movie theater, then you’re probably starting to scheme about how to awaken your child’s brain.

Here are some tips and resources for elementary, middle, and high school age children that might at least initiate some interest in accessing their intellect.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Little ones are more receptive to anything educational than the older ones (parents of older children, especially the parents of teenagers). With older children, you often have to play dumb because after all, tweens and teens know everything. If you ask them if they think something is true or not, they’re more likely to give it a chance.

  1. Check out the short videos on almost any topic available on TedEd. From short animations such as “How Do Self-Driving Cars See?” to “The Aztec Myth of the Unlikeliest Sun God” you can initiate a watch of the video that will peak their interest without making their eyes glaze over.


  2. In keeping with the idea initiating learning through video, at least at first, when they’ve blinked the cobwebs from their eyes and hopefully their brains as well, YouTube itself is a vast resource of knowledge once you’ve sifted through the nonsense. Unfortunately, our kids are often drawn to the nonsense, but with a few questions about any subject or current event, you can steer them to something that will provide them with some intellectual stimulation.

    Tell your little one: Look at this. I used to watch this when I was little.



    Disney Educational Productions houses a ridiculous amount of resources that any parent of young children can use on almost any topic.

    Ask your teen or tween: Is this photoshop tutorial worth watching?



    Something like this might just show your teen or tween that he or she could learn a little something between veggie out.
  3. Take a walk or drive to the library or the bookstore. For me, libraries are better if you’re trying to save money, but if you’re on vacation sometimes a bookstore is all you’ve got. Either way, it’s the same set up. The little ones usually go happily. The tweens or teens take some innovative thinking on the part of the parents.

    Little ones love to browse through anything, and a book as a prize is often welcome. For the older children, you may bribe them with lunch afterward or during. Or, perhaps you might ask for their help. For instance, similar to the question about photoshop, you might ask, will you help me find some materials at the library on learning Spanish? I don’t want to spend a ton of money on a class and I exhausted my resources on that app.
  4. The beach is a wonderful resource for both young and older children. You’re surrounded by science, art, sounds, beauty… Best of all, you are unplugged for a while. If you have portable batteries or any other resource, leave it behind by accident or on purpose. Bring some books, and magazines for reading or just talk to each other and learn about their interests and insights. Talk to them about something you’ve been wanting to discuss. You’ll be so delighted with the results.
  5. Drive somewhere or go somewhere that’s outside your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be far away. How many of us spend our lives in a certain area of the country or world, save all our money for a family vacation, only to realize people save all of their money to vacation where we are? For example, we live in Miami and we never visit some of the most famous landmarks, ironically, because we live here. We’ve never been on an airboat ride at the Everglades National Park. We’ve gone to Ocean Drive, but only once, maybe twice a year. Some of the best museums are nearby and parents might wander into one with their unsuspecting children in tow.
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Mija’s Moxie Makes Okja Magic

Her eyes bit the screen as the camera zeroed in on her face. Her grandfather’s love split from her own when she realized she’d found herself slapped in the face with betrayal. It wasn’t the reaction of a spoiled child having a toy taken away. It was the reaction of pure love being ripped from your heart.

If we were unsure whether we wanted to watch this movie, we no longer were after that intense moment portrayed by Actress An Seo Hyun who plays Mija in the Netflix original film Okja directed by Bon Joon Ho.

Our stay-at-home summer has given us ample time to check out Netflix. When we started looking at different categories, we found Okja. We were skeptical as always because sometimes you stumble upon something you connect with and other times you enter a downward spiral and just keep watching because you already started and can’t look away.

You know the feeling. Then you spend the rest of the week watching movies you know are good just to get that movie out of your mind. That wasn’t the case with this movie.

An Seo Hyun (Mija) lulls you into her world set in the mountains of South Korea where she lives and breathes her life along with Okja, a “super pig” temporarily given to her grandfather who is a farmer.

You fall in love with Mija and Okja after the first fifteen minutes or so.

I have proof of this because I live with a house full of cynics:  an eleven year old who sounds like a lawyer, a fifteen year old who will be focusing on her film strand this coming year, and a journalist/online producer who won’t watch Alice In Wonderland directed by Tim Burton because it’s “not realistic.”

By falling in love with both of them, you feel the bite when Mija decides to find Okja who’s taken away from her by a large corporation that plans to use these super pigs for its own profit.

Mija runs, flies, punches, kicks, and takes a real beating on her quest to reach Okja. Her <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/moxie/”>Moxie</a&gt; makes her the perfect heroine for such a wildly fanciful film with a heavy message that delivers layers of frightful beliefs and behaviors we all embrace on a daily basis.

So, if you haven’t experienced this, set aside some time and watch what happens to your mind.

The Best Summer Ever

The great part about being a parent is always the intensity with which kids force me to have fun. They bend my perception of myself backwards to a time when I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to stand like that or say those things.

So, here’s what happens when you spend summer with kids.

1. You learn the meaning of freedom. You swim!

Kids see water and jump in. No wondering if their thighs are too fat or if the water’s too cold. They go for it. So, for those of you bent on hibernating, remember, this is summer so swim.

This is me documenting it via Vine…all because of the Weekly Writing Challenge. Thanks for the spark.

2. You make movies.

They don’t just watch movies, they make them. My sister taught them how to think like filmmakers and this is one of their awesome creations with her help.

3. You eat ice cream and you’re messy about it.

The messier the better.
The messier the better.

Everyone was being so neat and nice, so polite. But, my son indulged in his cotton candy ice cream cone and made a mess. I did have to stop him before he got out of control.

4. You build a Lego Ship.

In lieu of homework, mine negotiated a challenge, “We’ll build this Lego ship.” So, they conveniently stretched the construction period out to four days long, but the results speak volumes.

5.  You day dream.

Tilt your head back. Close your eyes or stare off at something in the room or at the ceiling then let your mind wonder to those places we rarely speak of because we’re too busy going from here to there or trying to meet a deadline.

6. You draw or doodle.

Sketching your favorite cartoon or TV character when you should be focusing on work keeps you relaxed and sometimes refocuses you if you’re struggling to finish writing. If you’re listening to someone who’s thoroughly boring, then doodle.

7. You dance.

Dance. Wiggle. Move. And do it often. Smiles follow.

8. You watch Nacho Libre, a lot.

Nacho Libre starring Jack Black became my son’s obsession. Thank God it was a funny one.  Interpreted, this one means find a movie you really like, that makes you so happy you want to see it over and over again and do just that.

9. You’re gross.

Pick your nose and fart if you feel like it. Just promise, don’t be ashamed. Kids never are—at least not during summertime.

10. You sleep, a lot.

Go to bed late. Sleep until noon. Need I say more?

For a double whammy, I’ll use this time to say that I’m so proud of them. Without even knowing it, they’ve managed to give me amazing moments to write about and give you a laugh or two–thank you to the Daily Post Challenge.