I just left Barnes and Nobles and I have to say I was extremely disturbed by the changes that had been made since my last visit. Instead of the rows and rows of books on the upper level, toys, games, and gadgets occupied the space. And as for the books that were there, many of them were written by a well-known author with few exceptions.
But what concerned me the most was the lack of children rummaging through the book racks. As I made my way into the well-lit children’s section with the small round table and short chairs, I could hear a mother reading to her two young boys. They seemed to be half listening as her voice read through the book. Once she was finished, the smallest child declared, “I am bored.”
I can’t help but think back as a child and hearing the song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Pete Seeger. As a young child growing up during the Vietnam War, I understood it in this context. But now, I think about it as having a different meaning.
“Where have all the children gone, long time passing?
Where have all the children gone, long time ago?
Where have all the children gone?
Gone to video games everyone.
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?”
Technology is stealing away our children’s imagination. Instead of reading a book, our children are held captive by technology that we couldn’t even imagine back in the sixties.
Whatever happened to playing hide in seek or kick the can? Whatever happened to children riding their bicycles around the block without being afraid that harm may come to them? And whatever happened to sitting at the dinner table and sharing about what happened in school without someone pulling out a cell phone to text or play a game?
Our children are leaving us too early. They may not be leaving us physically but they are surely leaving us mentally. Where have all the children gone, long time ago?
For the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of taking care of my two oldest grandchildren. Each year, they come and stay with their Memaw and Papaw while they attend a day camp. You would think that after being at camp all day that they would be tired and ready to just relax in the afternoons but that is the furthest from the truth.
The second they opened the door to the car, they were ready to play ball, ping pong, or ride their bikes around the yard. There was very little down time. I knew I needed to be ready with table games and chores for them to keep their minds occupied and their bodies moving.
We enjoyed playing Uno and Mancala ( a marble game that I learned as a small child). Both children also enjoyed helping me in the kitchen. They did a good job with cutting and mixing. It required a lot of patience on my part which was good for me as well.
My dog, Carl, was also a great playmate for both children. My granddaughter in particular, enjoyed playing with him and imitating his moves.
My granddaughter and I also went to New Bern to do a book reading. We were greeted by two families and children of all ages. The parents loved the message that Jerry Barry, Living Healthy, had to offer. I got some great tips from both the children and the adults.
Overall, it was a growing experience for us all. I will be glad to have them back for next summer's camp. I just need the fifty weeks leading up to it to prepare myself physically and emotionally for their arrival.
There is something special about planting vegetables from seed. After planting the seeds into small containers full of rich potting soil I wait in anticipation for the arrival of any sign of life. Once they make their appearance as a couple of delicate leaves I begin to believe that a vegetable will be created. Each plant needs to be nurtured with water and freshly turned compost. And then after a couple of weeks they transform into hearty plants.
I will update everyone in a few weeks on the progress of this tomato plant. Hopefully, my Bigger Boy tomatoes will be ready to eat by mid July. Yum Yum!
What do you do on rainy days with a house full of kids?
How do you keep your kids physically active when your space is limited? Jerry Barry has some ideas that might be perfect for all your little ones to get the wiggles out and be good on your pocketbook.
Creating an indoor track with construction paper can get the kids moving around. Add some music to the mix, and you will surely have a hit.
Locate some toilet paper rolls and place them on the floor against the wall. Use a tennis ball or other light weight ball to serve as a bowling ball. Make it a contest to see who can knock down the most toilet paper rolls.
The Dollar Store is one of our best friends. For just a dollar, you can buy all kinds of cool toys that we played with many years ago. Jacks is a game that many children have loved to play for generations. For only a dollar, you can purchase a paddle ball toy that can give your child hours of entertainment.
Jerry loves this version of tag with a special twist. Find a room that has very little light. A hallway is perfect because it doesn’t have furniture. Blindfold one person and all the other children try to avoid being tagged by the person with the blindfold. It is similar to Marco Polo that is played in a swimming pool.
Most importantly, encourage your children to use their imaginations and create their own games. It is amazing what they can come up with!
Do you know the foods that make you feel slow and others that enhance your desire to go? If we adults have difficulty identifying these foods, then we shouldn't expect children to know the difference.
As I have been going into classrooms and sharing about making healthy food choices, I am amazed at the number of students who don't seem to care about what they eat and how it impacts their desire to play.
Most children could actually learn how to feel the differences if they were taught to pay attention to their bodies. They also could learn to enjoy the go foods if they were given an opportunity to help prepare them as well as even grow them.
To help encourage children to choose GO foods,
Download our fun placemat today.
Have you felt trapped by the poor choices you make? I am sure all of us have suffered from the guilt that comes with making unhealthy choices. Just today, I chose a cinnamon roll for breakfast instead of a healthier choice like oatmeal or fruit. I could beat myself up over it but what good would that do? I am grateful for three meals a day and a new start each morning. I also believe that it is important to be around people who make healthy choices. When I go out for lunch with people who choose to eat healthy, I will tend to pick something similar off the menu.
As an adult, I know that what I choose impacts the children in my life. By fixing a meal with all the food groups, my grandchildren will be exposed to foods that hopefully they will enjoy and want to eat. It is all in the manner in which I present it to them. I don't believe in forcing foods on children but I do believe that they should at least try a food that they may not have had before.
My goal is to eat foods that are good for me and encourage children to enjoy all of the food possibilities that will keep their bodies strong and their minds alert.
Does your child need help choosing healthy foods? Get copies of our healthy place mat for all the kids in your home.
Is Your Child A Future Author?
Writing can be such a dreaded activity for children if we don’t approach it in a positive manner. Being an author of children’s books, I want to make sure that the children I work with walk away with a desire to write their own story.
An encouraging atmosphere is the first step towards creating future authors. If we give our students the freedom to express themselves in the manner that they feel most comfortable with, they will enjoy the process.
It is also important to use different mediums. For the activity I conducted today, children were given white boards and markers to work with. Young writers like the use of markers as it slides on the surface of the white boards. They also love the ease of erasing and starting over.
In this particular setting, there were children in kindergarten, first and second grade. Even though there was a wide discrepancy of abilities, all the children were eager to express themselves. They found a comfortable spot on the floor and before I knew it, each child was creating their own story.
There were no errors or corrections at this stage. Children asked for words to be spelled and confirmation of their work but no one’s work was judged. It was a so much fun to watch all of the children enjoy the writing process!
Could there be future authors among this group? Definitely yes!
Creating a fun healthy snack can be easier than you think. I have learned this first hand from a curly headed seven year old that comes to my house for tutoring.
Earlier this year, Parker would come flying into the house with various kinds of snacks that would probably not be considered on the healthy side of the spectrum. Her snack would usually consist of goldfish, chips, and small cookies with a fruit drink heavy with sugar.
All this changed the day that I shared my book Jerry Barry, Healthy Living with her mom. Since my book’s audience is for young children and their parents, I asked Parker’s mom to read my book and give me feedback.
What I received in feedback was somewhat amazing. Mom wrote out a nice review but it was what happened since that spoke volumes.
Instead of the typical snacky food that I was used to seeing Parker bring in, a shift to healthier snacks began to appear. Apples, bananas, protein bars replaced the goldfish and cookies.
What was also surprising, was that Parker seemed to enjoy eating the fruit as much as any other previous snack. She would take her time with each bite of the apple, savoring the taste of each morsel. And you would think that the protein bar she consumed the other day was just as good as any candy bar that she had ever eaten.
I have been learning a lot about myself as I have been going into different classrooms. First and foremost, I have not realized until just recently how much I enjoy spending time with children. They have such a desire to learn and soak in what we have to share with them.
Children, particularly kindergartners, believe they can be what they want to be. And many of them would love to be an author or an illustrator. I have made several visits to different schools and the one thing that I never get tired of is the two or three children at the end of my visit that want to give me a hug of gratitude.
Since beginning my book tour, I have found a wonderment in the eyes of the children when they open up their new books and begin to read. I absolutely love being back in the classroom!
My first visit to a classroom started in December. I had a wonderful time sharing my book Seasons at the Bus Stop with a kindergarten class at Glenn Elementary School. The children were attentive and asked some wonderful questions about becoming an author or an illustrator. Most of the discussion centered around making friends in school. The children agreed that it is very important to be a friend and make friends with others that have difficulty developing friendship.
I believe Bee would be very proud of this group of students! Please get in touch with me if you know of a class of children that would love for me to come in and share.