This Halloween I did some Halloween candy science experiments with my nieces and nephew. One of the experiments we didn't get to do (but soon will) is: Pouring Pop Rocks into a bottle of pop will make all that pent-up carbon dioxide escape but not fizz over. If you put the rocks into a balloon, then fit the balloon over the bottle's mouth and let the rocks fall in, it inflates the balloon with carbon dioxide. But what can I do with a balloon full of carbon dioxide? ...Is it a stupid idea to inhale it to see if I get a funny voice? [more inside]
Help me and my kids plan a fun, low-hassle weekend in New York watching Missus_A run the marathon! [more inside]
My daughter just turned 3 and is ready to learn to downhill ski. We live in Norwich, VT, and can head west to Vermont or east to New Hampshire for beginner lessons. I'm fine sitting and watching while she learns, and we're fine with the lesson being the only reason to make a drive. If we can only choose one place for the first ski lesson, where should we go?
My girl is turning 8 and we're having her party at the local Michael's. Unfortunately the sales people there haven't been real helpful in terms of making recommendations for what crafts the girls can do; and I'm completely overwhelmed when I look on the Internets. So here's the question: what are some really fun crafts that can be done in an hour and a half, and are messy? (Because that's the whole point of having it at the store instead of in my house, right. Otherwise I'm wasting that $50.) Is marbling paper fun? Is tye-dying fun? What else haven't I thought of? [more inside]
I've recently come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time with my 3.5-year-old boy/girl twins, and looking for some structured activities/things to do to help drive it and get them excited, as they generally prefer my wife over me... [more inside]
I'd like to convey as much wisdom/advice as possible to my kids before they become feral teenagers drenched in Axe and scorn. Please share the best lists/essays/articles you've ever seen on the theme of "Teaching Your Kids About ______". [more inside]
I am a 31 year old woman and newly married. I have a kick ass husband who also came with a kick ass stepson that I love to death and with whom I have a great relationship. I have no desire to have a bio-kid, especially now that I have a step son. I have had many comments from people about how I am going to change my mind about not wanting more kids, a lot of “Uh huh…” comments with ‘knowing’ smug smiles, sort of like when a 6 year old boy says that he will never ever kiss a girl, eww that is gross. Are they likely right, or are they being assholes? How do I deal with this? [more inside]
Next week, my 10 year old daughter and I will be in Rome for 3 days; what should we see? [more inside]
As a parent and father, how do I, or how can I or should I, deal with parents of other children whose badly behaved kids do something mean or nasty to my own kid? [more inside]
Looking for an RPG for a couple of kids (9 and 10) that ADORE Minecraft but want more role-playing elements (quests, a story, upgrades) in their gaming experience. We've tried mods, but that only gets you so far. We have a PC and an XBOX 360. What do you recommend?
Looking to get a phone for our 9-year-old son for use in case of emergency. Several factors precipitated the decision, but most recently, he was left sitting alone outside school for an hour waiting to be picked up early. [more inside]
My son (11) has expressed an interest in playing Dungeons and Dragons. I would like to help him but I know nothing about the game and Amazon reviews of the basic starter set confuse things even further. What exactly does he need in order to start playing? [more inside]
I'm looking for board books that do not just portray white children. Books appropriate for ages 1-4 would be fine, but I'm buying for a 2-year-old so a bit on the simpler side is better. Thank you!
Please recommend your favorite stores for books for kids in Chicago. I am interested in finding used books, quirky books, and progressive books. Not necessarily all three and not necessarily in that order. Toddler Xalf is almost 1.5 years old, but I'm happy to buy books that will be over his head for the next few of years. Any part of Chicago is fine. Suburbs too, especially those to the north.
A twelve year old I'm related to keeps sending me invites to play horrid money wall Facebook games. Said kid is going through a hard time and I like the idea of playing with her as a small, regular form of reaching out. However...Zynga Poker ain"t gonna happen. What kind of easily accessible games suitable to a 12 year old are out there for me to suggest? Specifics under the cut... [more inside]
I am tasked with stocking up a Maker Space gallery that will be part of a museum. I'm very much a crafter and maker myself, but am looking for the Makers of MetaFilter to tell me your favorite tools, especially ones for small hands (we will be catering to kids and families, as young as 3 years old). We will be doing simple woodworking projects (already looking at Japanese Pull Saws), sewing, circuitry, paper art, lots of tinkering (including activities with recycled materials and new materials). We are focusing on "real" tools (no plastic Fisher Price kids stuff, please), and I expect to buy a couple different versions of some items (hammers for smaller people, hammers for bigger jobs). The tools will get lots of use, so I'm happy to spend a bit more if it means I don't have to constantly replace broken items. I am especially looking for specific recommendations for specific tools, reviews, or resources ("these sewing scissors are amazing for the price" or "don't buy this brand of clamp" or "this site sells very good quality paper punches"). Thanks in advance!
I need recommendations on articles and books on kindergarten/elementary school education and how it affects someone's later success. My friend is worried that her son's kindergarten program isn't high quality enough. I'm of the opinion that home life is more important at this age, but maybe I'm wrong! Where should I start reading? [more inside]
Do you know any albums or artists that heavily feature very young voices done in a serious matter? Something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dok4wJ4pqo0 [more inside]
My kid wants to be a zombie weasel for Halloween. Help me make it awesome! [more inside]
Parents: I'm wondering how your kids learned things like empathy, honesty, compassion, etc. I know that setting a good example is probably the #1 thing to do, and I plan to, but did you use other ways, like reading (fiction) kids' books with them that demonstrate these things? Am I overthinking this? I want to raise a kid with a conscience...
Are child ID/fingerprint kits really helpful during an abduction? Is it worth the time/effort to fingerprint and photograph small children in the hopes it will help "save" them at some point? [more inside]
I'm an uncle to three great kids, who are 12, 9 and 4. I love talking to them and listening to what they have to say about whatever they want to talk about. Our conversations end up being pretty fun and freewheeling, but sometimes I wonder if I should be putting more effort into what we talk about. Am I over-thinking this? More inside. [more inside]
Please suggest some icebreaker games I can play with 5-7 yo kids. Restrictions: Groups of 4-5 kids, games must be quick (less than 5 minutes) and require little or no materials. [more inside]
My seven-year-old son won a cheap-and-basic MP3 player at a charity tombola. Since then he's been pointing out tunes that he'd like to carry around. I need to find some more! [more inside]
How do you teach your young children not to internalize the sexism in our culture? [more inside]
Please recommend fiction and nonfiction novels which depict folklore and mythology created by children who are free of adult supervision and authority. [more inside]
In Chinese martial arts and dance (in China) it is traditional to have kids try to do the splits (the sideways, or lateral kind). The kids will try to push their legs apart as far as they can, and then the teacher will come along and push down on them to get them further apart, causing the kids to grimace in pain. Is this bad? Or is this good? I'm sure that Americans (like me) will balk at this in a strong reactionary way, but I'm also sure that there are countless people who have had this done to them in martial arts and dance classes as a child (outside of America). Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, all those amazing Chinese gymnasts, etc have certainly undergone this kind of treatment. Jackie Chan is still going strong. Is this "American reaction" unfounded? [more inside]
How can I help my son to not feel embarrassed socially for having the healthy (and admittedly a little weird) lunches that I give him for school? [more inside]
Hi all, I am looking for resources for figuring out the best pre-schools and schools on the East Coast (public and private both are fair game). Is there a national database ranking the schools? I am particularly interested in the Boston/Cambridge area, but am curious for my own personal reasons about schools in NYC as well as Chicago, and maybe the East Coast in general. My kid is 7 months old and definitely not ready to go to school just yet. But as I am originally not from this country, I'd like to familiarize myself with the system fully before I have to enroll her in school. In my humble opinion, schooling is very important - if it wasn't for a good school, I won't have the necessary life skills myself (irrespective of the professional and grad training), so I am hoping to be aware of the US school landscape before my little one starts going to preschool. Many thanks for your kind help. Have a nice day!
My daughter's on the other side of the ocean for a little while, but we keep up with daily video chats. We talk, goof around, make faces, play with puppets, but I sometimes wish I had more ideas to keep her entertained. Can you think of any other fun things we could do? [more inside]
I did something colossally stupid this evening: Put up some pasta on the stove and then fell promptly asleep for a little while on the couch. Woke up to a terrible smell of natural gas. Found the water in the pot had spilled over and doused the flame of the burner it was cooking on. With the gas on high. It was probably like that for about 10 minutes or so. And now, four hours later, the house still has a strong-ish odor. Here is my question: does the smell indicate that gas is still present in the house, and if so, should I be concerned for the health and safety of my small children, who are sleeping a hallway away from the kitchen? [more inside]
I'm embarking on a 20 hour drive with a 4 1/2 year old and an almost-2 year old. Hit me with your best travel games/activities/snacks. Specific requirements inside. Bonus challenge: Terrible books on tape. [more inside]
I'm a single dad and my son will be entering the sixth grade in Ohio this year. What's cool for kids his age (11-12) through and up to 8th grade (13-14)? Looking for suggestions, anecdotes, first-hand experience on fads, trends, clothes, talk, etc.
I occasionally hang out with a smart 11-year-old girl, am a friend of the family. She's ahead of her peers in reading and math, starts 6th grade in the fall, but is not especially challenged by her public school. A few years ago in a different school district, they offered to skip her a grade (this option was not chosen). [more inside]
I'm looking for a short book or series of books for my 7.5 year old son describing the history of the search to explain planetary motion. [more inside]
So finally, I decided to take the bold step and move on to a bigger and brighter future (Hopefully, anyway!). I decided to divorce, on the grounds that I deserve better. [more inside]
My child is 7 and when he was younger, had no trouble smiling (or looking serious) for pictures. But now he gives a horrible grimace...thing. He's been at camp all summer and they take pictures of the kids and post them on Flickr. Paging through it is painful. Cute kid, cute kid...oh hey, my kid with a frightening stretched-face chimp-grimace and slitted eyes. Every fucking picture. It looks like a sneer. [more inside]
I'm looking for kids' books for my 10 year old that were written at least 50 years ago. She's an excellent reader, but enjoys kid themes. We've discovered that older books use more complex language and sophisticated writing style, but simultaneously have sweeter, more gentle content. As a bonus, there seem to be forgotten gems that are under the radar of our excellent local children's librarians who have given us a million great suggestions over the years but sometimes run low on ideas for my widely-read kid. [more inside]
We've built a small secret room in our house for our children to discover. One of the features in the room is a bookshelf where we're putting secret room themed books. [more inside]
My ex-wife suddenly vanished over 2 years ago to her native Asian country, leaving behind a son (then 1, now 3) and daughter (then 6, now 8). Contact was intermittent (sometimes once a week and sometimes every three months). I asked her to commit to a regularly scheduled call and she refused to do so. I also found the phone calls to be borderline abusive to my daughter (the daughter would ask, "Mommy when are you coming back," and the mother would reply, "When are you going to come see me?" which caused the daughter to feel responsible for her absence - or the Skype video chats where the daughter would have the camera on but the mother refused to do so). I have since cut off contact with the mother in order to protect my daughter, though wonder if it is the correct decision. [more inside]
My "glamorous" job just got worse and I have a baby now. Good time to quit? [more inside]
I'm looking for 100% cotton summer nightgowns for Go Banana jr., which is proving to be much more difficult than expected as everything appears to be polyester (so they don't burst into flame, apparently). I found exactly what I want through Boden, but alas they are entirely sold out in her size. Where can I buy these? It would be ideal to buy them in person in the Toronto area, but on-line is also fine. I'm looking for size 7-8.
So I'm dating this single mom with a 6 month old. It's been going well but all our dates end with her rushing to take care of her baby - as a mom should. But she clearly needs a rest and I'm trying to figure out if I can take her on a vacation anywhere. Is there somewhere in the Northern California/Nevada area that is some kind of resort with stuff to do AND offers babysitting for a six month old as part of the package? Is there a name for resorts or vacations or recreation options like this? As a single guy with no kids I have no idea what the options are here. So please...educate me.
Please help me find little kid-friendly sites on the Upper West Side that are near the American Museum of Natural History. Preferably free or cheap, preferably air-conditioned, and preferably not the Children's Museum. [more inside]
I'm trying to think of Things that Our Moms (or possibly Public Service Announcements) taught us while growing up, things that most of us learned are the 'right' way to behave, and that have ended up as commonly-held edicts for those of us who grew up in North America. Stuff like 'chew with your mouth closed' or 'it's rude to stare' or 'look both ways before crossing the street' or 'don't take candy from strangers'. [more inside]
What did you do to set up an iPad mini for your tween child? [more inside]
My friend is getting a divorce, and doesn't know how to talk to her two young daughters (3 and 4) about it. Are there any books that have helped others in a similar situation? [more inside]
My four and a half year-old son has expressed an interest in blues music. Can you help me find enough great blues songs to fill a mixtape for him that are: a) electric; b) kinda rockin'; and c) not overly lyrically troublesome for a preschool-aged tyke? [more inside]
The book I'm looking for is one I remember reading in my childhood. It had a boy as a protagonist. It was similar to The Wizard of Oz in that the boy was travelling with friends through a magical realm to free it from some kind of oppressive rule. And when the boy arrived to the happy ending (which I think took place in the royal palace) it was revealed that actually he's not a boy - he's a girl. A princess, to be exact. And a rightful ruler of the realm. Which came as quite a shock to him/her. I must have been less than 10 years old when I read it, which places the book in the 1970s. Did I imagine it or does it really exist? (it is possible that I mixed it up with The Wizard of Oz, although I think I've read it later).
My 10 and 8 year old daughters adored The Nr. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (the TV series). What other made-for-adults movies or TV could we watch together? [more inside]