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TidBits & Cookie Crumbs


Toys provides our children with loads of fun and helps develop their imaginations. It is an outlet that frees their mind. But there is more than just mere play things. Toys deliver a few more surprises than one would expect.

When children play with toys, early in life, they discover how the world works. Six month-old children and younger learn that things fall downwards, others bounce upwards, and some make noise when they do something to them, among other things. In the following two years, their cognitive thinking skills begin to ameliorate, allowing for association play or, rather,  pretend play. During this time, they are developing and learning social behaviors — both, good and bad ones. According to Etienne Benson, contributor for the Association for Psychological Science, when a boy learns not to play with toys that are for girls only or that violent play is “off limits”, he learns something about the society he lives in.

In contrast, some experts suggest that our behavior is hardwired in our genes. There is a study that monitored young monkeys playing with children toys. Researcher found  that the female monkeys were partial to playing with dolls and the males, trucks. They attribute this behavior preference to hormonal differences between boys and girls.

This has caught the attention of toy-makers, who  have employed toy marketers and designers to consider this when designing toys. At MIT, there is  a Toy Product Design course that focuses on developing toys that benefits children.The course will incorporate lectures regarding development psychology. Benson writes, “Developmental psychology is also part of the curricula at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where the United States’ first toy-design degree program was founded in the late 1980s.”

Parents, Too

Children are like empty sponges that are ready to soak up information around them. They learn from watching television or listening to music, but are most susceptible to learning from others. Observational  learning involves observing and mimicking the behavior of others, mostly  people around them. These people usually consist of parents, family members, guardians, and friends of the family.

As a major influence in a child’s life, take the initiative to guide their play behavior to agree with social norms. You can really make a difference in your child’s development. Kids need rules and structure. Children strengthen their understanding of rules through role play. Kids will play house or play school pretending to be some form of authority and dish out commands and instructions. This role playing reinforces the rules that they have learned and grants them a better understanding of their position in the world.

So get out there and play with them as much as you can. Share you knowledge and your imagination. Explore the world, together.

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Whew! What a Friday! Temperatures broke records across the Mid-Atlantic region during the day and  crazy thunderstorms followed behind during the night. Temperatures reached over 100 degrees in cities like Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Indianapolis. Weather stations are warning the public that temperatures could go even higher over the weekend. So we came up with some ways to keep cool this summer weekend.

Why Not Stay Indoors?

The best place to be is indoors, especially if you have air conditioning. Remember to do these things and you should stay as cool as a fan!

Close the Blinds, Curtains

image of blinds

Sunlight contribute to about 85% of the heat in a home that has the blinds open. Reduce this and your home will be noticeably cooler. Basically, it’s the glasshouse effect that heats up your home. Block as much of the Sun’s rays as possible. A good idea would be to install vertical louvers or awnings outside of the windows. Or maybe when designing the layout of your lawn and backyard you may want to consider placing trees in places that may provide shading over windows areas.

Do Not to Many Devices

Most of our appliances and devices are electrical, such as computers, refrigerators, and hot curlers. Electrical devices generate heat. The computer’s CPU temperature can reach up to 200° F. Have this in a closed room and it will heat that room up. Try using as little equipment as possible. You might even want to consider unplugging some devices that uses a standby feature, which means it is on, but in a low-power consumption state.

Downstairs is Better

Warm air travels upward due to its lighter density than cold air. So, avoid upstairs, if possible, and enjoy family time downstairs or in the basement. By doing so, not only will you save everyone from being hot and frustrated, but you may even save some money on your electric by running the AC less, if at all. (Tidbit: According to Pepco, a major utility provider,  keeping your AC unit at a constant temperature — say 74°F — saves you money. They say it cost more to cool a hot room than to maintain a cool one.)

Fun Outdoors

If you are traveling this weekend make sure to keep these things in mind:

Nothing Says “Fun” like Splashing Around

Yes, this is the obvious choice to go in the summer: the water park, pool, beach, lake, pond, waterhole, swamp (ok maybe not swamp). Jump in and splash around with the little ones. You will be keeping cool and having fun at the same time. Why not go for a swim, even? Throw in exercising to make this a top first choice.

Shade is Everyone’s Best Friend

Bring a few picnic blankets and enjoy lunch under a tree. Temperatures are lower in the shade. A quick bite to eat and some time off the feet maybe just what the family needs. Fruits, juice, and sandwiches makes the perfect treat when it comes time to eat. As a bonus, you will spend great quality time together where kids can share the best part of their day with their parents. Just remember to not be a litterbug and stay mindful of the ants and bees. This may be a great time to apply the sun screen and bug repellent.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

Drink plenty of water, constantly. It may be a good idea to note where all the restrooms are nearby. The body will continuously lose water through perspiration. Replete with water or other non-carbonated, non-alcoholic fluids.

Enjoy the weekend and stay safe!