Friday, July 31, 2009

August Projects and Friendship Month!

Click for August Calendar and Projects for kids and classrooms. I am sure, you will find much more than this since as August is the month for Friendship and this means, celebrating friends online now with the social networking friends and status.

Well, Friendship is the intensity of the love that leaves behind trails of sweet memories to cherish the core of life giving a whole new meaning to it. The enigma of friendship strengthens with the bonds of relationships so unique which is unselfish, intimate, pure and beautiful. Learning to appreciate, speak out on issues, Listening, confide and sharing secrets, meeting of wavelengths and such deeper corners are focused for a caring friendly relationship with the people you love most.

Whenever it's a Friendship Day, Kidsfreesouls wishes all readers Happy Friendship day with a simple message to spread love, faith, peace and unity among human beings. A day when someone asked me, 'How?', I was confused what to reply on a simple icq screen. Today, with the Social networks and people hanging on making a 3/4/5 digit friends lists, the message can be spread far and wide. The question 'How' can turn to 'Somehow' and all humans together can make efforts to spread the message to spread peace! The world is on brink of extinction, Is it? Whatever, we can make a Difference!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids
Author of Guardian of Angels

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cars can be modified to run on water!

Cars can be modified to run on water? Well, the Earth Talk Q & A will interest you if you wish to convert your petrol or a diesel car to convert to water! The kits that attach to the car's engine, use electrolysis to split the water (H2O) into its component molecules (hydrogen and oxygen) and then inject the resulting hydrogen into the engine’s combustion process to power the car along with the gasoline. Doing this, they say, makes the gasoline burn cleaner and more completely, thus making the engine more efficient.

But, is this efficient? Read here for more on this as well as on using Borax for green housecleaning that leaves behind environmental footprints.

I wonder, how much do our children learn on Environment or do they have classwork projects on this? Even if so, most of it is based on general learning - growing trees, keeping surrounding clean or the like and making posters or writing few sentences on How to save Environment. If you have any Ideas to share for Project Classroom on Environment, please do let me know. Sometimes, as teachers too need creativity other than just the routines, what do you say?

- ilaxi patel
Author of Guardian of Angels

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Total Solar Eclipse images and find profile of Bernard Shaw in Literature

Two images of Total Solar Eclipse that was sent by a reader:
The sun´s edge, or limb, peeks out from behind the moon during a total solar eclipse above Varanasi, India on Wednesday, July 22, 2009. A red crescent of sun is visible during a total solar eclipse seen above Varanasi, India on Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blossom by Bernard Shaw

I see the fresh blossoms on the trees,
And know that spring is here at last.
This does my old heart please,
As it has done in the years gone past.
Soon fruit ripened in a warming sun......

Read more George Bernard Shaw in Literature Profiles
(Born 26th July 1856 in Dublin)

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids
Author of Guardian of Angels

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moon Landing on 20th July 1969 & Total Solar Eclipse

20th July is the day when Neil Armstrong, Edwin Eugene Aldin and Michael Collins landed the Moon in Apollo 11 and this day is preserved as the reflection of an extraordinary Achievement of Humans. The first dusty footprints left by them were also indelible footprints left on the hearts and imaginations of the human race. No other adventure was shared by more people. No other quest has meant more to our species as a standard by which we measure our icredible potential. What a great feeling to hear the voice of Neil Armstrong when he reached there and on the Achievement, he said "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind".

To celebrate this historic occasion, NASA and Google announced the launch of the Moon in Google Earth, an interactive, 3D atlas of the moon, viewable with Google Earth 5.0. The Moon in Google Earth enables users to better understand the moon and mankind's relationship to it using an immersive, 3D experience. Ames Research Center and Google brings together the virtual exploration of the moon to anyone with a computer. To learn more about Moon in Google Earth, click here and watch the video.

Btw, on 22st July 2009, India will experience the longest Total Solar Eclipse of the century to take place Wednesday morning in the country. What makes this solar eclipse so unique is that it is occurring at the end of the great year which is known as the precession of the equinoxes, which means over a period of 26,000 years the sun will finally return to its starting point where it crosses once again the galactic equator. Find more information on NASA.

As Science is behind the celestial magic eclipse, to mark the Total Solar Eclipse viewing, various programs are held in Gujarat. At Science City in Ahmedabad, Nasa Cards will help to view Eclipse. NASA has sent 500 eclipse lenticulars for the upcoming total solar eclipse programme on a special request of Gujarat Science City. The Lenticulars are the most attractive resource materials for the school and college students as it is good for hands-on experience and minds-on exposure on total solar eclipse. Science City has distributed the cards to school and college students for Eclipse observation. On tilting the card, one can observe the various process of a total solar eclipse.

The July 22 total solar eclipse, originating in the Gulf of Cambay in Surat, is expected to last 6 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse of the century. The next such celestial spectacle will take place 2132.

Well, here are links for Parents and Teachers to some great sites to teach kids on Science and Total Solar Eclipse.

- ilaxi patel

Monday, July 20, 2009

Global Warming & Gujarat

To what extent does Human population growth impact Global warming and what can be done about it?, Asks a reader in the Earth Talk Column. Read more also on Train Travel which seems to be less polluting than driving or flying. Click for the Environment Column here. (Also in Spanish here)

Global warming and we all feel the effects. Many of the world's top scientists have urged immediate action, and have called for international cooperation on the problem of Green House Effect. Many scientists agree that warmer temperatures would cause rise in sea levels, the oceans when warmed up will occupy more space. The glaciers and polar ice will begin to melt. It is is predicted by 2030, the sea will rise by 150 to 300 mm endangering coastal town and cities around the world.

Well, recently while writing for the Global Environment theme, I came across the many Initiatives of the government for Climate Change. Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) being implemented to shift 40% of the trips from Personal transport vehicles to Public Transport.
Another thing that draws my attention is the fact that Gujarat is yet on a faster development yet with the talks and presentations going on for Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune bullet train. The ride on the bullet train will be more like a plane and cost wise, it will be fairly similar to air travelling. The high speed train will run at the speed of 350 km/hour. “The Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune bullet train will halt at Vadodara and Surat. It will take 1.5 hour to reach Mumbai while travelling time for Pune will be 2.5 hour. The high velocity train would need special tracks too. The bullet train project will follow Public-Private Partenership model. The estimated cost would be in Crores.

Do you have concerns for Environment? Want kids to know on Environment? Log on to Kidsfreesouls Environment column and also Resources for Kids.
- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Friday, July 17, 2009


Life tread on a faster trail as moms today have tough parental responsibilities to upbring children. The 21st century tech savvy kids know all and get all to the extent that they have not learnt to listen to ‘NO.’ Parents are being too protective to the child and do things for them when they should be allowed to do on their own. She turns to be a ‘Helicopter Mom’ who over indulges in petty things and hovers over the children and their activities.

Being an Involved parent is to protect kids but ‘Over Indulging involvement’ being paranoid to allow children to let them attempt to be on their own, is dangerous. Fear grips fear and suspicion leads to guilt. All sorts of negativity surfaces in children when too much of indulgence adds up to their lives as they turn to Speaking lies, rebelling, getting destructive, out bursting and turn to a nasty brat sort of attitude. Involving, on the other hand is hands-on-parenting being fair, consistent and allowing freedom with guidance and nurturing the genius in a child.
Related Article
According to Dr. Betty Lou Bettner, psychologist, family
therapist and co-author of several parenting books. "Pampering is an
epidemic. She
estimates that pampering or indulging goes on in more than 60 percent of
households with children. It starts early and perpetuates itself.
- Read more
“Hands-on” versus “hands-off” parenting
Create a Genius in your Child

It is important to instill a sense of Independence in children. Help them to be responsible. Resist to carry their school bags, do their homework for them, organize their room, carry their plates or feed them always what they want or get things when they ask without a ‘NO’ - pampering in limitless way. Over Indulgence and Over Attention are two things to keep a vigil check on, as a parent. Too much of over indulgence ends up to a disobedient, rigid or a self centered child whereas too much of over attentiveness causes a child to be unsure, insecure, indecisive, totally lacking in confidence.

This makes me mention on a study conducted by the Columbia University-based National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse looked specifically at the effect of “hands-on” versus “hands-off” parenting on tween and teen behavior. Not surprisingly, the study found that kids who live in highly structured households (hands-on parenting) were at significantly lower risk for substance abuse and other risk-taking behaviors than were children who lived in less structured homes (hands-off parenting). The behaviors examined included smoking cigarettes, substance use and abuse, and other risk-taking behaviors by the children as well as by their friends.

It is here where parents need to build own confidence, know their own fears and anxiety and as teachers, need to know the strength and capacity of the child before expecting a lot from him. Hovering over a child is indeed making him less confident and even getting introvert. Nobody likes to be watched to told to do ‘this and that’ – Disciplining has its own way.

So, what to do? How do you help your child to be Independent and responsible? I tried my way and laid down the rules with hands on parenting and even while teaching children. Hands on parenting, a follow through consistently and participating in a child’s day to day routine. More, offer supportive approach, using involving tactics with indulgence when required need arose.

Here are some Kidsfreesouls tips to help be Hands-on-Parenting

1. Be a friend and keep the faith
2. Monitor their activities. Guide when necessary
3. Monitor their Television / Internet viewing and offer your choice
4. Provide assistance for learning but refrain from doing their homework
5. Never say, 'My child is over-burdened' - Instead, set time schedules. Most of the time, it happens, your unorganized time schedule clashes with the child's routine.
6. Know their friends and show interest.
7. Learn to Say 'No' - the biggest mistake parent every makes is not saying 'No' - Explain why you say 'No' and be firm.
8. Encourage and inspire
9. Discipline with tact Parents and Teachers influence children. They are the ones who create
Genius in a child. So, go ahead - enjoy influencing and try Hands-on-parenting - The power is within 'YOU"

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids
Author of Guardian of Angels: A Practical guide to Joyful Parenting

Related Books

Monday, July 13, 2009

Green Revolution - Earth Talk

Our children are growing up with what they get to eat with all the junk food that gets to obesity. Moreover, we have been hearing of the food mix and chemically grown products that may harm our health. Yet, there seems no choice as we eat what we get and we feed our kids, what we eat - quite naturally.

We are quite aware of 'Green Revolution' and Organic farming. Gujarat stands top with the Agri Growth rate and yet, we find sub-standard food reaching way to homes. Junk food is on top menu list and kids have soon learnt to eat the pizza, pasta and sandwich with all the sugary sweets and ice-creams.

Well, here is Earth Talk updates on Kidsfreesouls - a Question and Answer column in English and Spanish. Here are this week's questions that might be of interest:

1. What kind of job opportunities might be opened up by the new federal emphasis on green projects? - Dick Wetzler, St. Paul, MN

2. What effects do fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used on residential lawns or on farms have on nearby water bodies like rivers, streams—or even the ocean for those of us who live near the shore? - Linda Reddington, Manahawkin, NJ

Click to kidsfreesouls and if you have any Environmental Question, do send to Earth Talk.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Science is Fun, Maths is Rocking!!!

Science is Fun! Maths is rocking! English is loving and Geography is exploring! However, this is a Tech Age and children love to explore virtual games which is 'hot stuff' for many of them. Yesterday, I spotted a child at the Sports Club Library who was disappointed as the Internet lines were down. He could have opted to read a book rather than frown and so, I asked him to select some comics. Curtly he replied, "I love playing virtual games and reading is not my hobby." He talked of online games and what he explores.

Well, I never liked Science and Maths as a subject. However, this boy made me explore his world of games and I stepped to Zula World. ZulaWorld is an immersive virtual environment for students and their teachers - a place to play, explore, and discover the wonderful world of science and math through safe and challenging games, quests, and missions. Though some games and activities are free to all members, the exploratory “missions” and deeper levels of the educational games require a subscription. For a first timer, you need to have patience to log to the website but once you are in, the site has good graphics, great music, an interactive resource that defines scientific concepts using videos, and clever ideas for games.

Teachers and parents need to give their email consent prior to children becoming Aliens and virtually exploring the world with economy running on zlinklies - coins earned by playing games, answering science challenges, recycling and going on missions. By spending Zlinkles, kids can trick out their own spaceship, buy a pet and purchase additional accessories for their alien avatar.

For the Teachers who wish their students to explore at Zula World, topics such as Simple Machines, States of Matter, Force, Friction, and Habitats are just a few of the many topics which can be experienced in the classroom through Zula’s Exploration Missions kits and then strengthened through exploration in ZulaWorld. The Zula explorations are designed to reinforce and foster the development of students’ science, math, and critical thinking skills! Playing classic children's games like finding the differences between two pictures, matching shapes and playing memory games is always fun for kids but virtually playing at Zula is learning science and maths as well. Kids can even safely chat using a drop-down menu and make friends with others by simply asking. Use of emoticons help to show how they are feeling. A journal helps them to figure out all the things that are available to explore and their activities are reported to parents and teachers as well.

Btw, are you concerned, why children sort for Virtual Games and not Reading books these days? Do let me have your views on this. You may explore 'Games for Kids' and 'Games' section on Kidsfreesouls too. Find more such Resources on Links recommedations too. Enjoy.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids
Author of 'Guardian of Angels: A practical guide to Joyful Parenting

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Kids Blogs & Reading

Reading is an activity for all round development and you cannot deny the pleasure of 'Knowledge is Power.' Summer time and even leisure time is great to pick a book and start reading at any place, any time, anywhere. Most of the kids do not cultivate reading habits due to lack of reading confidence but if inspired and encouraged, we find the child getting interested to read. Even parents fail to encourage reading as their extra curricular activities list have all sorts of activities like dancing, painting, sports but reading - it's parent-child reluctance to join a Reading class. The reason is, Bookstores provide ample reading space and even parents pamper bringing in books home for read - later on to cloud with dust, unread!

So, in comes Computers - playing games and connecting to social networks. Kids love to be on their own - privacy means their own room or at a club - with friends, games and chats. Reading is almost of back seat. The trends have changed. Reading classes have no longer space and even if they are conducted, in comes added activities with fun and games.

However, at Swagat Children Library and Kidsfreesouls, I have a concept of mix intellectual activities - Reading Library + Making Blogs. The idea erupted anew from children who wanted to be creative and those who worked hard making journals, scraps and wrote lot of book reviews. They wanted to do something on computers and the 'Kids Blogs' were made. Some were regular, some were not. The blogs were in form of Projects. Those who can make it up, Kidsfreesouls featured in some of them at random. Those who do not have online blog presence, their work remains in journals, scrap books and review books.

"Why make Blogs", asked a Parent. And my answer came, "To improve Student Literacy and Creativity. And, to help the child to cultivate the reading habit and encourage him to read and write book reviews. Broaden the use of computers, tools and techniques of computing."

I think, its 'Any time and Anywhere learning assistance and involving Parents.' Here's a few points on 'Why make Student Blogs?'

1. Improve Student Literacy
2. Encourage students to read and write
3.Encourage students to explore
4. Encourage students to express their views, criticize creatively(in comments), colloborate and share.
5. Inspire through online kids work and encourage students who are reluctant learners
6. Makes them build confidence
7. While they Interview for their Blog posts, they learn observation, patience and responsibility.
8. Check their boredom and get actively involved in creative writing.
9. Boost self esteem and creates Interest and love for Reading

Apart from this, its more to involve parents who love to see the student work and presentation. And for a teacher, its a sure helping Children in many creative ways. A way for Safe Net surfing and even positive learning. More on this....and you got to come to Swagat.

Btw, here are Kids Blogs - some unupdated but with added 'Aneri's Blog. Enjoy.

- ilaxi patel
for Kids
Author of 'Guardian of Angels'

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sesame : Virtual games

Virtual games are a simulation ground for real time learning for children. In most of the games, kids are constantly required to predict events, explore spatial relationships between objects, keep check on risks, distances, etc. They need to possess better levels of analytical and logical skills and they tend to exhibit faster their reflexes.

Sesame Street More such websites in "Resources" In Links Games for kids

Recently, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, who is an independent, non-profit research center that is fostering innovation in children’s learning through digital media revealed a Report Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health providing recommendations for the media industry, government, philanthropy and academia to harness the appeal of digital games to improve children’s health and learning. It offers a new framework to use games to help children learn healthy behaviors, traditional skills like reading and math, and 21st century strengths such as critical thinking, global learning and programming design.

The report focuses on the vital connections that games and digital media can make in promoting children’s potential. Among the promising games reviewed are Sesame Street’s Color Me Hungry, featuring the Muppet Cookie Monster and Dance Dance Revolution, a mass-market game used in hundreds of schools nationwide. These efforts are helping young children learn about nutrition, healthy habits and exercise. The report highlights the role that games have played in other sectors, such as in transforming military training regimens, and how academic centers like MIT’s Education Arcade and non-profit labs like the Institute of Play are pioneering R&D for educational video games. ( Read More )

Video games have been shown to help children learn vital foundational and 21st-century skills and we cannot deny the rich content of learning from English vocabulary to science, geography or history. Math solving problems are easier with digital play and critical thinking to creativity makes interesting learning skills for children. Some of them promotes healthy habits for life. Educators can integrate curriculum based games into school and after-school activities. Health e-games and curriculum games are more incentives for children than children who get bored with no activities, making Jack a dull boy!

However, often parents and teachers need not forget that the virtual world games demand time schedules and organized routines. Stress levels in children and obesity are on a rise and I would recommend sessions of "Storytime Yoga" which may help children stay tuned to fitness regimes. Here's a recommendation and you may adopt the methods in classrooms. Enjoy.

Find my recent Reviews at ilaxireviews

- ilaxi patel
Author of Guardian of Angels