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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

The Top 10 Family-Friendly Movies of 2017

Top 10 Family Movies of 2017

Movie night is a family tradition. Everyone sprawls around the TV with popcorn! It’s fun and can be the start of heated conversations. But what can you watch? As a new year begins, let’s look at some of the family movies that were made in 2017. Maybe one of these should be the next show for your movie night.

This top ten list is not numbered on purpose. We are all different and like different things. Watch these good movies. Make your own rank. Then compare your ranks to your friends’ lists. You’ll have lots to talk about.

Links to the movie trailers open in new windows/tabs so you can watch the trailers as you read about each movie. Enjoy!

LEAP!

Dreams need people to make them come true. This story, set in the 1800s, shows us an orphan girl struggling to become a ballerina. Her dear friend Victor joins in her fight. There’s dancing, action, adventure and people working together to make dreams come true. Watch Movie Trailer: LEAP

MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI

An orphaned child is befriended by a policeman who takes him to his foster home. Kids—you’ll find your mind filled with new and difficult thoughts, which is why you should watch this with your parents. The stop-action animation is a refreshing change from the usual animated movies, but it hits hard at the heart.
Watch Movie Trailer: MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

What silliness! What slick moves and eye-rolling giggles. Kids of all ages will be drawn into this odd twist on superheroes. Adults will enjoy watching this unusual take on a classic action legend. Best of all, you’ll get to watch Batman relax and enjoy himself for a change. Watch Movie Trailer: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

KEDI

Love cats? Love exotic locations and seeing the world with fresh eyes? Enjoy documentaries? Okay, you might not think of a documentary as a good family movie, but KEDI will change your mind. Tour the city of Istanbul with some of the hundreds of thousands of cats that live there. It is thoughtful, beautiful and fun. KEDI is also a great introduction to documentaries. Be sure you get a version with subtitles.
Watch Movie Trailer: KEDI

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

Enter the quirky, zany world of world-class pranksters and a dimwitted hero. Readers of the infamously funny book series will be delighted. Grown-ups will be thoroughly entertained by the dialogue and action. This movie is a funfest for everyone who can handle a few—ahem—poop jokes. Watch Movie Trailer: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

WONDER

Movies can make you feel. WONDER is one of those movies. It shows you what life is like for a boy with facial deformities. You’ll cheer the heroes, swallow lumps in your throat and see the power of kindness. This is a real-life story with stars you’ll recognize. WONDER proves the power of movies. Watch Movie Trailer: WONDER

CARS 3

Sequels rarely match the quality of the original, but CARS 3 comes close. Kids will be drawn into the story of a familiar friend. They may not understand the scenes about McQueen’s aging, but many adults will understand his feelings.
Watch Movie Trailer: CARS 3

FERDINAND

Children have loved the book for years and now will love the movie. The world’s most famous bull fights against unfair judgement and bullying. Is “bulls” where the term for being mean comes from? Kids, you’ll enjoy this inspirational movie about friendship and true strength. Watch Movie Trailer: FERDINAND

THE BREADWINNER

This is an animated story about telling stories. But be ready. THE BREADWINNER tells the tale of a girl in Afghanistan. The Taliban arrests her father and she is left to care for her family. She survives by hard work—and escaping into a fantasy world. The story is moving and difficult, but rewarding. Be ready for a deep family discussion. Watch Movie Trailer: THE BREADWINNER

WONDER WOMAN

Greek mythology talks about strong, independent warrior women. Now, a new generation watches as a real-life female soldier acts in a movie about World War 2 and facing evil. This is a gorgeous movie that may not appeal to very young children, but will have everyone else enthralled. Watch Movie Trailer: WONDER WOMAN

So when is your next movie night?

Movie night is a family tradition. Everyone sprawls around the TV with popcorn! It’s fun and can be the start of heated conversations. But what can you watch? As a new year begins, let’s look at some of the family movies that were made in 2017. Maybe one of these should be the next show for your movie night.

This top ten list is not numbered on purpose. We are all different and like different things. Watch these good movies. Make your own rank. Then compare your ranks to your friends’ lists. You’ll have lots to talk about.

Links to the movie trailers open in new windows/tabs so you can watch the trailers as you read about each movie. Enjoy!

LEAP!

Dreams need people to make them come true. This story, set in the 1800s, shows us an orphan girl struggling to become a ballerina. Her dear friend Victor joins in her fight. There’s dancing, action, adventure and people working together to make dreams come true. Watch Movie Trailer: LEAP

MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI

An orphaned child is befriended by a policeman who takes him to his foster home. Kids—you’ll find your mind filled with new and difficult thoughts, which is why you should watch this with your parents. The stop-action animation is a refreshing change from the usual animated movies, but it hits hard at the heart.
Watch Movie Trailer: MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

What silliness! What slick moves and eye-rolling giggles. Kids of all ages will be drawn into this odd twist on superheroes. Adults will enjoy watching this unusual take on a classic action legend. Best of all, you’ll get to watch Batman relax and enjoy himself for a change. Watch Movie Trailer: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

KEDI

Love cats? Love exotic locations and seeing the world with fresh eyes? Enjoy documentaries? Okay, you might not think of a documentary as a good family movie, but KEDI will change your mind. Tour the city of Istanbul with some of the hundreds of thousands of cats that live there. It is thoughtful, beautiful and fun. KEDI is also a great introduction to documentaries. Be sure you get a version with subtitles.
Watch Movie Trailer: KEDI

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

Enter the quirky, zany world of world-class pranksters and a dimwitted hero. Readers of the infamously funny book series will be delighted. Grown-ups will be thoroughly entertained by the dialogue and action. This movie is a funfest for everyone who can handle a few—ahem—poop jokes. Watch Movie Trailer: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

WONDER

Movies can make you feel. WONDER is one of those movies. It shows you what life is like for a boy with facial deformities. You’ll cheer the heroes, swallow lumps in your throat and see the power of kindness. This is a real-life story with stars you’ll recognize. WONDER proves the power of movies. Watch Movie Trailer: WONDER

CARS 3

Sequels rarely match the quality of the original, but CARS 3 comes close. Kids will be drawn into the story of a familiar friend. They may not understand the scenes about McQueen’s aging, but many adults will understand his feelings.
Watch Movie Trailer: CARS 3

FERDINAND

Children have loved the book for years and now will love the movie. The world’s most famous bull fights against unfair judgement and bullying. Is “bulls” where the term for being mean comes from? Kids, you’ll enjoy this inspirational movie about friendship and true strength. Watch Movie Trailer: FERDINAND

THE BREADWINNER

This is an animated story about telling stories. But be ready. THE BREADWINNER tells the tale of a girl in Afghanistan. The Taliban arrests her father and she is left to care for her family. She survives by hard work—and escaping into a fantasy world. The story is moving and difficult, but rewarding. Be ready for a deep family discussion. Watch Movie Trailer: THE BREADWINNER

WONDER WOMAN

Greek mythology talks about strong, independent warrior women. Now, a new generation watches as a real-life female soldier acts in a movie about World War 2 and facing evil. This is a gorgeous movie that may not appeal to very young children, but will have everyone else enthralled. Watch Movie Trailer: WONDER WOMAN

So when is your next movie night?

Four Really Scary Things

Aliens won’t swoop down and grab you for experiments. Zombies will not eat your brain. And that dark shapeless thing that lurks beneath your basement stairs?  Well, all sorts of monsters may run through your mind, but the fact is – they don’t exist.

Most kids live nice, safe lives. Yes, there are REAL dangers to that exist in the world but here are four things that you should really take precautions for in your everyday life.

Invisible Creatures. One of the biggest dangers for kids are tiny monsters that you can’t even see. Every year, thousands of kids go to the hospital because of sickness caused by germs and bacteria. Luckily, you can beat those SCARY THINGS very easily. The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands often. When these creatures do hurt you, listen to your parents and stay in bed. Sometimes a good night’s sleep is enough to get rid of those monsters.

Household Whoopsies. Simple accidents send thousands of grownups and children to hospital every year. Slipping in bathtubs, grabbing a hot pot off the stove, playing carelessly with sharp objects or matches—accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. You don’t need superpowers to beat a Whoopsie. All you need to do is follow basic rules, like watching out for water on the bathroom floor, respecting knives, being careful around hot pots and, most importantly, listening when your Mom or Dad gives you a warning.

Automotive Accidents. Everyone loves the power and speed of a car or truck. Vehicles take you to exciting places—and sometimes to the hospital. You probably know someone who was hurt badly in a car accident. Luckily, there are actions you can take to prevent this SCARY THING. First, always wear your seat belt. Keep your eyes open and on the streets when riding around. When walking, look both ways before crossing the street. Cars and trucks are fun and useful when people think about safety.

We live in a world full of huge, dangerous animals. You have probably cowered as you watched a movie where sharks take huge gaping bites out of swimmers. You’ve watched kids chased by velociraptors and people crushed by giant snakes. The truth is that the most dangerous living creature to humans is the mosquito. Yup. That little buzzer has hurt more humans than any other living species. They can carry illnesses that they inject when they sting. Most mosquitos aren’t very dangerous; they’re mostly annoying. But don’t just ignore them. Use bug spray when playing in grass or in the woods, especially around ponds or lakes.

Monsters with chainsaws, hungry great white sharks, creatures under your bed—these can be scary, but unless you get a role in a movie, chances are they won’t bother you. The real SCARY THINGS that can happen are things that you can beat, if you think and act with safety in mind.

Aliens won’t swoop down and grab you for experiments. Zombies will not eat your brain. And that dark shapeless thing that lurks beneath your basement stairs?  Well, all sorts of monsters may run through your mind, but the fact is – they don’t exist.

Most kids live nice, safe lives. Yes, there are REAL dangers to that exist in the world but here are four things that you should really take precautions for in your everyday life.

Invisible Creatures. One of the biggest dangers for kids are tiny monsters that you can’t even see. Every year, thousands of kids go to the hospital because of sickness caused by germs and bacteria. Luckily, you can beat those SCARY THINGS very easily. The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands often. When these creatures do hurt you, listen to your parents and stay in bed. Sometimes a good night’s sleep is enough to get rid of those monsters.

Household Whoopsies. Simple accidents send thousands of grownups and children to hospital every year. Slipping in bathtubs, grabbing a hot pot off the stove, playing carelessly with sharp objects or matches—accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. You don’t need superpowers to beat a Whoopsie. All you need to do is follow basic rules, like watching out for water on the bathroom floor, respecting knives, being careful around hot pots and, most importantly, listening when your Mom or Dad gives you a warning.

Automotive Accidents. Everyone loves the power and speed of a car or truck. Vehicles take you to exciting places—and sometimes to the hospital. You probably know someone who was hurt badly in a car accident. Luckily, there are actions you can take to prevent this SCARY THING. First, always wear your seat belt. Keep your eyes open and on the streets when riding around. When walking, look both ways before crossing the street. Cars and trucks are fun and useful when people think about safety.

We live in a world full of huge, dangerous animals. You have probably cowered as you watched a movie where sharks take huge gaping bites out of swimmers. You’ve watched kids chased by velociraptors and people crushed by giant snakes. The truth is that the most dangerous living creature to humans is the mosquito. Yup. That little buzzer has hurt more humans than any other living species. They can carry illnesses that they inject when they sting. Most mosquitos aren’t very dangerous; they’re mostly annoying. But don’t just ignore them. Use bug spray when playing in grass or in the woods, especially around ponds or lakes.

Monsters with chainsaws, hungry great white sharks, creatures under your bed—these can be scary, but unless you get a role in a movie, chances are they won’t bother you. The real SCARY THINGS that can happen are things that you can beat, if you think and act with safety in mind.

How to Have the Happiest Holiday Break!

School Holiday

Winter break is full of fun, food, friends and folks. AND of course – brightly wrapped gifts! It can also feel awkward. You could be spending time with people you don’t know very well. To make the time even worse, YOUR PARENTS WILL TELL YOU TO PUT YOUR SMARTPHONES AWAY! HORROR!

How do you spend time with these people — especially when you haven’t even seen their social media profile? What do you talk about? What do you do?

Relax. Here are some helpful ideas to make awkward real-life moments easier.

Ask your guests the same questions that you answer on social media. Remember when you made your social media page? You posted details like your favorite singer, your favorite movie, what books and sports you like. Talk to your guests about these topics. You will probably find out that you have a lot in common.

Being stuck in a house with your phones turned off can feel weird. Before your guests arrive, think of three things you can do with your company outside of the house. Skating, snow ball fights, walking to a near-by attraction, even showing your company your school.

Don’t worry about sounding lame. Your guests will probably feel relieved to be away from the adults for a short time. If you are going to be in a strange town or location, take time to look up sights in the area. Then, if time together starts to feel weird, you can come to the rescue.

Learn some magic tricks. With a plain deck of cards you can have people scratching their heads and in awe. You never know—you might have real talent for magic. Even if you don’t, you’ll have fun with the challenge.

Even if you aren’t allowed to use your computer or phone, you can still play games. You probably have a stack of board games hidden somewhere in a closet. Dig them out and learn the rules. Or get that deck of cards you used for magic tricks.

Before you hand your phone over to your parents, look up games you can easily teach your guests. There is something fun for every age and skill level.

Remember that no one is perfect. Everyone feels awkward from time to time. When you are together with relatives you don’t know very well, they are probably feeling like you are.

Time without your phone will feel funny. Just be yourself and let yourself have fun in the real world.

Winter break is full of fun, food, friends and folks. AND of course – brightly wrapped gifts! It can also feel awkward. You could be spending time with people you don’t know very well. To make the time even worse, YOUR PARENTS WILL TELL YOU TO PUT YOUR SMARTPHONES AWAY! HORROR!

How do you spend time with these people — especially when you haven’t even seen their social media profile? What do you talk about? What do you do?

Relax. Here are some helpful ideas to make awkward real-life moments easier.

Ask your guests the same questions that you answer on social media. Remember when you made your social media page? You posted details like your favorite singer, your favorite movie, what books and sports you like. Talk to your guests about these topics. You will probably find out that you have a lot in common.

Being stuck in a house with your phones turned off can feel weird. Before your guests arrive, think of three things you can do with your company outside of the house. Skating, snow ball fights, walking to a near-by attraction, even showing your company your school.

Don’t worry about sounding lame. Your guests will probably feel relieved to be away from the adults for a short time. If you are going to be in a strange town or location, take time to look up sights in the area. Then, if time together starts to feel weird, you can come to the rescue.

Learn some magic tricks. With a plain deck of cards you can have people scratching their heads and in awe. You never know—you might have real talent for magic. Even if you don’t, you’ll have fun with the challenge.

Even if you aren’t allowed to use your computer or phone, you can still play games. You probably have a stack of board games hidden somewhere in a closet. Dig them out and learn the rules. Or get that deck of cards you used for magic tricks.

Before you hand your phone over to your parents, look up games you can easily teach your guests. There is something fun for every age and skill level.

Remember that no one is perfect. Everyone feels awkward from time to time. When you are together with relatives you don’t know very well, they are probably feeling like you are.

Time without your phone will feel funny. Just be yourself and let yourself have fun in the real world.

Why Do People Post Fake News?

The world is buzzing with false media. Trolls are being investigated by police in the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Canada—in fact pretty much any country that has social media platforms. Britain has seen a wide variety of “missing kids” posts that receive lots of re-tweets and posts but turn out to be false.

The stress, panic and damage such posts cause to families and individuals can even be handled as a criminal matter. Why do people post false news?

Think about yourself. Suppose that you see two friends walking down the street. One girl–say, Linda–suddenly waves to a car that swerves over to let her in before swerving and speeding away. Later you hear that Linda didn’t show up at an after-school group. Nor has she posted anything on social media for hours. You start texting with a friend and after a few minutes you start to think Linda may have been kidnapped. You upload a post describing the last time you saw Linda and for a headline you type: Was Linda Kidnapped?

The headline is so striking, everyone clicks on it to read about Linda. Everybody who knows Linda shares the story and likes your post. You’ve never had so many hits on your page.

Studies have shown that likes and shares are the main reasons people post false or misleading news—they enjoy seeing the numbers climb higher than they’ve ever had before.

Meanwhile, Linda’s parents are freaking out. They try to call Linda and find her cell isn’t on. Only later, after frantic calls to the police who start a search and show up at your home to interview you, does Linda call home—she’d been at a swimming hole with her cousin and for three hours and didn’t have cell service.

This little story isn’t that far-fetched. People of all ages—not just kids—post stories not because they are true, but because the grim details get likes and shares. Major news sources do it because when more people click on their stories they can charge more for advertising. People do it to get more attention on social media.

How does this matter to you? Think about this: In some situations, people have been jailed for posting fake news. Some have been jailed simply for sharing fake news.  Worst of all, people have had to struggle through heart-ache and pain because someone posted fake information about their homes being burnt, about loved ones missing and killed.

More personally, if you are caught posting fake news, you will never be viewed as a real source ever again. People will read what you say and down-vote it. If you’ve been linked to false news, people will not believe what you post.

In these days of false news, multi-million dollar news outlets, from newspapers to globally-televised broadcast stations to top-rated website, all suffer when they report stories that fudge or play with facts. Don’t let that happen to you.

The world is buzzing with false media. Trolls are being investigated by police in the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Canada—in fact pretty much any country that has social media platforms. Britain has seen a wide variety of “missing kids” posts that receive lots of re-tweets and posts but turn out to be false.

The stress, panic and damage such posts cause to families and individuals can even be handled as a criminal matter. Why do people post false news?

Think about yourself. Suppose that you see two friends walking down the street. One girl–say, Linda–suddenly waves to a car that swerves over to let her in before swerving and speeding away. Later you hear that Linda didn’t show up at an after-school group. Nor has she posted anything on social media for hours. You start texting with a friend and after a few minutes you start to think Linda may have been kidnapped. You upload a post describing the last time you saw Linda and for a headline you type: Was Linda Kidnapped?

The headline is so striking, everyone clicks on it to read about Linda. Everybody who knows Linda shares the story and likes your post. You’ve never had so many hits on your page.

Studies have shown that likes and shares are the main reasons people post false or misleading news—they enjoy seeing the numbers climb higher than they’ve ever had before.

Meanwhile, Linda’s parents are freaking out. They try to call Linda and find her cell isn’t on. Only later, after frantic calls to the police who start a search and show up at your home to interview you, does Linda call home—she’d been at a swimming hole with her cousin and for three hours and didn’t have cell service.

This little story isn’t that far-fetched. People of all ages—not just kids—post stories not because they are true, but because the grim details get likes and shares. Major news sources do it because when more people click on their stories they can charge more for advertising. People do it to get more attention on social media.

How does this matter to you? Think about this: In some situations, people have been jailed for posting fake news. Some have been jailed simply for sharing fake news.  Worst of all, people have had to struggle through heart-ache and pain because someone posted fake information about their homes being burnt, about loved ones missing and killed.

More personally, if you are caught posting fake news, you will never be viewed as a real source ever again. People will read what you say and down-vote it. If you’ve been linked to false news, people will not believe what you post.

In these days of false news, multi-million dollar news outlets, from newspapers to globally-televised broadcast stations to top-rated website, all suffer when they report stories that fudge or play with facts. Don’t let that happen to you.

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