The Best Starter Pets for Kids

hamster-kid

Sooner or later, every child will come home and ask about getting a pet. That’s not a bad thing. Pets are fun companions and they are an excellent way to teach a child responsibility as well. The trip to the pet store can leave your head spinning though. Should you get a mouse or a bird? Or should you bring home a puppy or a goldfish? Below I’ve listed some of the best starter pets for your child and some of the reasons why to help make your decision to bring home that first pet a little easier.

Traditional pets like cats and dogs aren’t necessarily the best choice for a starter pet no matter how adorable they are. The best way to appease a child whose heart is set on one of these is to look into adopting an older animal. These animals are often better with children and you won’t have to take on the added responsibility of housebreaking them.

In the water pet category, goldfish are perhaps the most well known starter pet. After all, feeding them is as easy as shaking some flakes into a bowl and they never need a walk. The biggest responsibility of owning a fish comes when it’s time to clean the bowl. While most parents and children pick a goldfish as a first time pet, don’t overlook such pretty species as the fancy guppy which come in many bright colors with beautiful fan tails, or the platy which thrives in a small bowl. Steer clear of water pets like turtles which are surprisingly high maintenance and carriers of salmonella; also avoid frogs for first time pets as they can’t be handled much and the water needs to be cleaned very frequently.

Among rodents, hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs and rats are excellent choices. These animals acclimate to humans quickly and only need five minutes of handling a day to stay socialized. Another bonus is that rodents need very little equipment to make them happy. An exercise wheel in their cage generally does the trick. All rodents need something to chew on because their teeth never stop growing and this can cause injury or an inability to eat if they can’t wear their teeth down. If you don’t provide something, many resourceful rodents, especially gerbils, will use the bars on their cage for the purpose.

Reptile pets can be a bit tricky. Many reptiles require a diet of mice or insects to be happy, so it’s important to consider how your child will handle feeding. The leopard gecko is a good starter pet for a child who really wants a reptile. They come in many different patterns and colors and they don’t get very big. They will need a heat source in their tank because they are cold blooded and you should make sure that the tank is small enough that they can stay warm.

kids-recycling teaching

In today’s world, teaching your children how to be responsible in protecting the environment must begin as early as possible. By using these methods to teach your children how to recycle, you can prepare them with habits that will last a lifetime. In fact, I have used these methods with great success.

1. Help your children make recycling day a family activity. By encouraging your children to participate in recycling day, you can help create a positive mood around the concept of recycling. Let your children play a role in selecting the recyclable items, and discuss why each item is recyclable when they select it.

2. As a component of recycling, show your children how much space is saved in the trash can by recycling other materials. If a public landfill is nearby, you can take a trip to it, or see if they hold tours, to show the children how much room trash needs and why recycling is so vital.

3. If your children are school aged, discuss the possibility of a school recycling drive with their teacher or the school’s administration. By encouraging other children and parents to join in the fun, you can make recycling a popular social activity.

Additionally, educating your children about the nature of pollution and why recycling is so important can be turned into a fun activity for the entire family. Among the activities I have used with children of all ages are the following:

1. Many county museums have programs and displays discussing the importance of recycling garbage and other waste. Not only can this help your children understand the importance of recycling, but will be a fun outing for the entire family.

2. Many water districts have programs to explain the importance of clean water, and how recycling can help in that goal. Contact your local district in order to see if they offer tours, either for individuals or for school groups.

3. On an individual level, have your children keep a log of how much paper they use over the course of a week, and put it in a specific bin. At the end of the week, you can weigh it, to show them just how much paper they can save through recycling.

Recycling is an important activity and it is never too early to get your children involved. By using some of these activities, you not only can you help your children learn to recycle, but make recycling a fun activity for the entire family.

Fooz Kids – How it Works

fooz kids

Fooz Kids is a safe place online where children can create, discover, learn, play and connect in a parent controlled environment. Fooz Kids is available in 56 countries and is available in 36 different languages and can be used on both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

Fooz Kids offers many different things for your children to learn and experience:

Children are able to discover websites, videos, games and crafts based on their favorite characters Using the Creator, children can make a virtual re-creation of themselves. This app allows the child to change their hair color and allows them to change their clothing.

Children can browse through the Fooz Kids Mall to find clothing and accessories for their virtual character. The Fooz Kids Places is set up to resemble their room. Here children can decorate by choosing their own furniture and accessories and then invite their pre-approved friends over to check it out.

Parents can set up and manage their child’s list of friends in the Friends section. Kids Mail is your child’s first attempt at using email. With Fooz Kids Mail, your child can type, draw, doodle and add stickers and share with those on their friends list.

Video Mall allows your child to send video email as well as allowing them to record, send and receive video messages. The Fooz Kids University is a great tool to help your pre-K through 5th grade child master their math skills. The free books creator allows children to create stories that parents can to preserve into hard or soft cover books. The University Challenge allows children from all over the world to compete against one another in math competitions.

So, for you parents who are looking for a fun, educational, safe place for your young children online; take a look at Fooz Kids.com.

How To Make a Chore Chart for Kids

kids chore chart

Some of the most important skills and assets concerning contribution and time management were ones that I acquired through my mother’s chore chart. In fact, I use the same techniques today to manage work and life flow. Below are some tips on how to make a chore chart for kids.

1. Make a list of chores. The list will vary, according to your kids’ ages. My mother included every detail of the day, including the estimated time each task might take. For younger children, below are some items that could be on the list:

• Personal hygiene
• Clean up after yourself (bathroom, kitchen, living room)
• Pick up your toys
• Do your homework
• Wipe the dishes

Include the items that you are responsible for, such as:

• Preparing breakfast
• Sweeping kitchen floor
• Prepare packed lunches

I used to keep a notepad handy to record items each day to add to the list. I also put daily items in one column and weekly chores in a separate column.

2. Have a meeting. When I did my list, I explained that I was making a list of things to do each day, to make life easier. Ensure that they understand what is happening by having a good visual to show, either on a blackboard, whiteboard or large piece of paper.

3. Involve the children. I used photos of chores being done by children. Use bright markers on a large white cardboard or a cork board to pin on items. Ask the kids which chores they would like to do from the list, and add others they suggest.

For personal items, I had printable sheets for the kids to mark off each day. The household chores were on a white board with erasable markers for the kids to check off. This provided very visible reminders.

4. Develop an allowance system. For larger jobs, like cleaning up after animals or washing a car, I found it more it motivating to instill a paid system. My mother had a merit and demerit system. Demerits were given when jobs were not done properly or on time. This made us accountable for our time and actions. I also got extra credit for doing more.

5. Be realistic in your expectations. Ensure that your kids really know how to do the chore they are assigned. Train them well enough so that they feel good about performing the task. I always made it possible for the kids to ask questions. Don’t assume that they know how to do everything. Part of this whole process is teaching them how to be self-reliant.

kids car games

One of the primary problems with traveling with children is that they are easily bored, and bored children will find creative ways to be annoying and distracting to us adults. Even really good and well behaved children can become aggressively bothersome when they have nothing to do. Within the confines of a moving car this tendency can be a serious problem. One good way to avoid the hassle is to have several games and activities ready to engage the kids’ minds while the wheels turn.

Education is a wonderful thing, but most kids don’t want to play games that test their knowledge of geography or civics. They do like to show off other sorts of observational skills, however. A game my parents used back in the day before iPods and such was called “Backwards”. To play backwards the person whose turn it is chooses a word and writes it secretly on a piece of paper. Then he or she says the first letter of the word and everyone gets the chance to name the word. Once everyone has had a chance, the player who is ‘it’ says the second letter, and so forth until the word is found. The person who says the word first gets to be the next ‘it’.

The alphabet game is a tried and true favorite as well. In the alphabet game each person tries to find words that begin with each letter of the alphabet on the road signs or vehicles that are passed. Each person calls out the name of the letter he or she has found along with the word that begins with that letter. For instance Johnny would call out, “A – Albany, B branch, C – City,” and so forth. The first to reach Z wins. Playing the alphabet in reverse is an interesting variation of the same game.

A third game is the called Tag. In this game each child tries to find a particular make and model of automobile or truck amongst the vehicles passing. The person designated as the first ‘it’ gets to name the vehicle to look for and the one who spots it gets to name the next make and model target.

Keeping the kids’ minds engaged on a road trip can take a lot of the stress off everyone in the car. It is also a lot of fun to play games with them.