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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

What To Do When There Is Nothing To Do

We all have days at home that are boring.  You can’t think of anything to do that’s fun and exciting.  You just feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, what else is there, right?  Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do to have fun without spending any money. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going!

You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do.

You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Go for a walk in the fresh air and use your imagination.  You may just find that the adventure will never stop.

We all have days at home that are boring.  You can’t think of anything to do that’s fun and exciting.  You just feel like just hanging out in bed watching videos on your phone. After all, what else is there, right?  Wrong. You don’t have to fly across the country or spend lots of money to have a fun, interesting time.

Here are a few ideas. Once you start thinking about the world around your home, you’ll see other activities that you can do to have fun without spending any money. By the way, you still get to use your phone when doing these things.

1. Take something apart.

This is really cool, but you need a parent to help you. Ask for a broken machine. It can be a lawn mower or a tower computer or an old toy or bike. Then ask your parents for the tools you need. Before you start, go online and read about the safety steps you need to do the work. You might need eye protection or gloves. Then grab a screwdriver and get going!

You’ll see how gadgets do what they do. You’ll learn about the insides of machines and maybe even figure out what is wrong with them. You’ll also learn how to use tools, something everyone needs to know. Taking something apart is perfect for when your parents are doing a task beside you.

2. Become an ornithologist.

That long word looks terribly scary, but it means that you study birds. This is so easy and doesn’t cost much. All you need is a book from the library on local birds and a pair of binoculars. You could even use your phone. Just take pictures of any birds you see then go online to find out what kind of birds they are.

Warning: bird watching can be surprisingly fun and lead to a life-long hobby, not just something you do on your summer vacation.

3. Make a movie.

For this, call the friends who, like you, are bored. Get together and talk about what kind of movie you want to make. It could be a documentary, where your movie is about something real. It could be a drama, where you write a script and play pretend. Then start recording videos. You will need to learn how to write a script, how to talk clearly, how to question people and how movies really work.

4. Build a bowling alley.

You need some outdoor chalk and a flat place—like your patio or driveway or the paved area around the school. With the chalk, draw the place where the “pins” will go, then outline a lane, with a line where you roll the ball. Get some empty plastic pop bottles and fill them about one-third full with water. Then get a ball—a baseball will do.

You will need to practice throwing the ball to make sure that the lane is the right length. The bottles may need more or less water. Play around with your bowling alley until the ball rolls right and the bottles are filled so that they need a good hit with the ball to tip over. Once you start building your bowling alley, you might be surprised by the people who stop to watch you and play.

What is there to do when there’s nothing to do? Go for a walk in the fresh air and use your imagination.  You may just find that the adventure will never stop.

Around the World Online With Kids

The world is a big and exciting place, filled with adventure and ideas. The world is also more and more online. Even though you explore Earth with your fingertips, the reality of kids in other lands and their online experiences may surprise you.

CHINA
The largest country on Earth has the most people online. 800 million people in China use the Internet, but that makes sense because it has the most people living there. The Chinese also see a different online world than other people, because the government controls Internet searches and there are some websites that the Chinese government keeps from coming up when people do a Google search. This is a problem that companies still fight about.

Kids in China mostly use QQ or WeChat to connect with their friends. Unlike kids in the US, Canada or most countries in Europe, kids tend to use the Internet for school or to chat with small groups of friends. Kids in China also know that too much Internet can hurt their school marks and keep them from being who they want to be when they grow up.

INDIA
If you are between the ages of 8 and 13 and live in India, you are probably using Snapchat to connect with your friends. Parents of those kids don’t like Snapchat because they can’t see what their children are sharing. Most parents think that they know what their kids do online, but about half of those kids disagree—those are kids who spend time online with activities their parents don’t know about.

To help protect kids, India has passed laws that make going online illegal for children under the age of 18. That has not stopped kids from signing up for Facebook and Google accounts. India is working hard as a country to better watch their children as they enter the online world.

NIGERIA
People in this West African country are quickly becoming huge Internet users. The biggest problem is that electricity isn’t always available. The power can go out a dozen times a day. Children lucky enough to have Internet service tend to concentrate on education, because for many, becoming educated will help them escape poverty. Unfortunately, many who are educated grow up to use the Internet for crime. Pretty much everyone online has come across a Nigerian scam. Hopefully, as more children get a good education, fewer will turn to scamming.

JAPAN
Japan has kids that spend so much time online, they are suffering from physical and mental problems. Many can’t sleep or concentrate, have problems eating and are becoming physically unfit, to name only a few of the symptoms. Doctor’s call this either Internet Use Disorder or Problematic Internet Use. Boys are more likely to have problems due to playing games online. Girls are more likely to have problems with messaging and social platforms.

Parents, doctors and school officials are looking for ways to help bring children back to the real world. Many Japanese parents are turning to camps where kids are put on an Internet “fast.” Instead of going online, children go outside and play, talk with each other and even go into counseling.

YOU
You are very lucky. You are reading this, so, obviously, you have a computer or a smart phone. You also have an Internet connection. You can learn about our planet and can read different points of view. That isn’t the case for all kids in the world.

Remember, life is much bigger than your social platform and friends. We can all learn from each other to better explore the Internet while living fun, happy lives in the real world.

The world is a big and exciting place, filled with adventure and ideas. The world is also more and more online. Even though you explore Earth with your fingertips, the reality of kids in other lands and their online experiences may surprise you.

CHINA
The largest country on Earth has the most people online. 800 million people in China use the Internet, but that makes sense because it has the most people living there. The Chinese also see a different online world than other people, because the government controls Internet searches and there are some websites that the Chinese government keeps from coming up when people do a Google search. This is a problem that companies still fight about.

Kids in China mostly use QQ or WeChat to connect with their friends. Unlike kids in the US, Canada or most countries in Europe, kids tend to use the Internet for school or to chat with small groups of friends. Kids in China also know that too much Internet can hurt their school marks and keep them from being who they want to be when they grow up.

INDIA
If you are between the ages of 8 and 13 and live in India, you are probably using Snapchat to connect with your friends. Parents of those kids don’t like Snapchat because they can’t see what their children are sharing. Most parents think that they know what their kids do online, but about half of those kids disagree—those are kids who spend time online with activities their parents don’t know about.

To help protect kids, India has passed laws that make going online illegal for children under the age of 18. That has not stopped kids from signing up for Facebook and Google accounts. India is working hard as a country to better watch their children as they enter the online world.

NIGERIA
People in this West African country are quickly becoming huge Internet users. The biggest problem is that electricity isn’t always available. The power can go out a dozen times a day. Children lucky enough to have Internet service tend to concentrate on education, because for many, becoming educated will help them escape poverty. Unfortunately, many who are educated grow up to use the Internet for crime. Pretty much everyone online has come across a Nigerian scam. Hopefully, as more children get a good education, fewer will turn to scamming.

JAPAN
Japan has kids that spend so much time online, they are suffering from physical and mental problems. Many can’t sleep or concentrate, have problems eating and are becoming physically unfit, to name only a few of the symptoms. Doctor’s call this either Internet Use Disorder or Problematic Internet Use. Boys are more likely to have problems due to playing games online. Girls are more likely to have problems with messaging and social platforms.

Parents, doctors and school officials are looking for ways to help bring children back to the real world. Many Japanese parents are turning to camps where kids are put on an Internet “fast.” Instead of going online, children go outside and play, talk with each other and even go into counseling.

YOU
You are very lucky. You are reading this, so, obviously, you have a computer or a smart phone. You also have an Internet connection. You can learn about our planet and can read different points of view. That isn’t the case for all kids in the world.

Remember, life is much bigger than your social platform and friends. We can all learn from each other to better explore the Internet while living fun, happy lives in the real world.

What is STEM?

STEM Education

Familiar to those in education, STEM is an acronym for curriculum revolving around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In other words, students in STEM programs focus on these subjects more than others- taking their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math to higher levels than perhaps English, Arts, and more.

The initialism was developed in 2001 by Judith Ramaley, the Asst. Director of Education & Family Resource at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since Ramaley’s finding, STEM-focused curricula have spread around the world. In fact, today’s high school graduates are some of the first to go through all of K-12 education with a focus on STEM.

However, just 15% of Americans pursue natural science degrees once reaching higher education. This is far less than in other nations. For example, 67% of Singaporeans pursue natural science undergraduate degrees, 50% of Chinese do the same, 47% of the French, and 38% of South Koreans.

More interestingly, America has seen nearly 2 million new STEM jobs created over the last decade. 86% of Americans believe that increasing STEM-trained workers is vital to maintaining the nation’s place in the global economy. While this is true, our students’ math and science scores continue to lag behind other nations. However, Americans students improved their international standing – according to PISA – from 2015 to 2018. In 2015, America’s 10th-grade students ranked 35th in math and 17th in science.

As technology grows, specific skills become obsolete. 2.4 million STEM-related positions went unfilled in 2018. Continue reading for more information on the rise of STEM in schools.

The Rise of Stem in Schools
Source: Early Childhood Education Degrees

Familiar to those in education, STEM is an acronym for curriculum revolving around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In other words, students in STEM programs focus on these subjects more than others- taking their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math to higher levels than perhaps English, Arts, and more.

The initialism was developed in 2001 by Judith Ramaley, the Asst. Director of Education & Family Resource at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since Ramaley’s finding, STEM-focused curricula have spread around the world. In fact, today’s high school graduates are some of the first to go through all of K-12 education with a focus on STEM.

However, just 15% of Americans pursue natural science degrees once reaching higher education. This is far less than in other nations. For example, 67% of Singaporeans pursue natural science undergraduate degrees, 50% of Chinese do the same, 47% of the French, and 38% of South Koreans.

More interestingly, America has seen nearly 2 million new STEM jobs created over the last decade. 86% of Americans believe that increasing STEM-trained workers is vital to maintaining the nation’s place in the global economy. While this is true, our students’ math and science scores continue to lag behind other nations. However, Americans students improved their international standing – according to PISA – from 2015 to 2018. In 2015, America’s 10th-grade students ranked 35th in math and 17th in science.

As technology grows, specific skills become obsolete. 2.4 million STEM-related positions went unfilled in 2018. Continue reading for more information on the rise of STEM in schools.

The Rise of Stem in Schools
Source: Early Childhood Education Degrees

The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card.  It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

My very gentle Valentine,

Since for me you were born too soon,

And I for you was born too late.

God forgives him who has estranged

Me from you for the whole year.

I am already sick of love,

My very gentle Valentine.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the history of Valentine’s Day lives on annually every February 14th in a worldwide celebration of love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. It’s a day of flowers, candy and cards decorated with hearts. This special day’s origin, though, is not so rosy.

There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began, but the most noted one begins in Rome in the year 268. Emperor Claudius II wanted a fierce team of young men to fight in his armies. He found that when young men are in love or sharing their lives with a wife and children, they tended to be more cautious.

To insure large numbers of soldiers for his armies, Claudius outlawed marriage for those young men.

Claudius may have outlawed love, but he could not stop it. Young men and women still fell in love and wanted to become couples in the eyes of the church. A brave—and obviously romantic—priest named Valentine thought the law was horribly unjust.

Putting his life in danger, Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies, doing so in secret and hidden from the eyes of authorities.

Still, word of Valentine’s secret ceremonies made its way back to Claudius. The priest was found and put to death on, as some versions state, on February 14th. Centuries later, the Catholic Church made that kindly priest a saint, one of three saints named “Valentine.”

No one knows exactly when St. Valentine’s Day was first celebrated, but there is a poem in existence that is considered to be the first ever written Valentine’s Day card.  It was sent from a prisoner in the Tower of London to his wife in the year 1415.

My very gentle Valentine,

Since for me you were born too soon,

And I for you was born too late.

God forgives him who has estranged

Me from you for the whole year.

I am already sick of love,

My very gentle Valentine.

Today, greeting card companies estimate that over a billion cards of love and affection are sent each St. Valentine’s Day.

While Valentine is a Catholic Christian saint, his death and the tradition of love that he created is celebrated world-wide by people of all religions. People send cards, flowers and candy in counties many countries around the world.

Some countries have banned St. Valentine’s Day, but people in love show the courage of the doomed priest by celebrating the occasion. Repressive governments may confiscate all of the red roses available in the country. Still, no one can ever halt the flow of love and affection.

Today’s click-and-post culture is tossing aside many old traditions and rules. Still, the history of Valentine’s Day lives on annually every February 14th in a worldwide celebration of love.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Tell everyone in your heart how much they mean to you. And remember when you sign those cards how love and friendship lives on, even in the face of adversity.