The Kindergarten Tribes

I kiss my son goodbye and I stand at the fence watching him as he enters into the kindergarten school yard. I hope for another wave, but he pays no more attention to me. He drops his backpack near the place he is supposed to line up. Almost instantly he is greeted by a bevy of girls who chat with him for just a moment. Then he is off running wildly through the grass with another little boy. He is a citizen of his class and school. I am but a privileged outsider. I remain his confidant at home, but at school he is one of them.  He must navigate his way through the Kindergarten Tribes on his own.

From eight in the morning, until two in the afternoon, five days a week, he is part of Room 3. They march together, break bread together, and learn together. Their life is regimented. Each moment inside the classroom is accounted for. Structure is imperative. Without structure the class would break out into chaos. Even with structure there is sometimes chaos.  

Twice a day, during recess and lunch, however, the children of Room 3 are permitted free play time. Of course they have some play time in the classroom, but for safety and sanity that must be limited and more structured. I don’t think you can really call it true free play time. The true free play time comes when the children are released from the confines of their tiny classroom and marched to the wide open space of the kindergarten playground and set free.

I think it is only fair to note that my understanding of the playground tribes comes purely from my son’s accounts and perceptions. In the quiet of our kitchen he sits and tells me about his other life. He animatedly describes his adventures as a citizen of Room 3. He especially likes to talk about the playground tribes, but he swears me to secrecy.  The information he relays to me is classified. The tribes pride themselves on protecting their secrets.

The story he weaves is about two tiny neighboring kingdoms known as Room 2 and Room 3. Each kingdom houses about 25 citizens. Twice a day these kingdoms merge on the playground. From this melding 5 main tribes with 5 distinct leaders have arisen:  The Diggers, The Minecrafters, The Ballers, and The Superheroes and The Girls.

The Diggers

The Diggers are comprised of students who like to dig. They spend all or most of their free time in the sand area digging and building sand structures. There about 7 members of The Digger tribe.

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Dad Recreates Classic Album Covers With His Two Sons

Some dads really like to get creative with their kids, either building stuff for them or doing fun stuff with them, and thanks to the internet they’re able to share their fun projects with the world.

Lance Underwood is one of these creative dad type dudes, and he spent some quality time with his two sons recreating classic album covers. Lance puts a lot of work into these covers, making sure they all have the proper wardrobe and poses, and the end result is pretty much spot on, and totally adorable!

-Via DesignTAXI



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The Man with the Yellow Hat Gets Therapy

(Image: HMH Books)

Curious George the monkey and the Man with the Yellow Hat have been together a long time. They've been close companions since 1941. But that doesn't mean that they have a healthy relationship.

Far from it. They have serious codependency problems which the Man in the Yellow Hat is only beginning to see. George, of course, is resisting. He doesn't want to join the Man at therapy, just as he's generally opposed to the Man with the Yellow Hat having any sort of meaningful relationship with anyone else. Devorah Blachor of McSweeney's Internet Tendency provides transcripts of the Man's discussions with his therapist:

OK, this time we went out of the house, so really, I’m making an effort here. I took Mrs. Needleman on a European-inspired champagne brunch cruise along the Hudson. What more could I have done, I ask you?

We were just passing Battery Park and had selected a bottle of Gewürztraminer to go with the lobster bisque when suddenly there was a commotion on the outdoor deck.

“Monkey overboard!” someone was shouting.

Well, of course it was George! But you know, I did specifically tell him to stay out of trouble. He promised that he’d be good, but it is easy for little monkeys to forget.

After they pulled George aboard I dried him and let him wear my yellow hat to cheer him up and before I knew it, he was playing the grand piano and juggling chocolate truffles. All the passengers were watching him and applauding. He was the belle of the ball—it was adorable. I think about an hour passed before I noticed that Mrs. Needleman wasn’t there. We found her at the Liberty Bar, already on her fourth gin rickey. It was pretty embarrassing, to tell you the truth. We had to send her home in a taxi after we docked.

No, I can’t leave him at home. That’s exactly what Papa used to do to me. Why, I could never do that to George.

-via Nag on the Lake



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Student Records Bullies, Gets Hauled into Court

An unnamed sophomore at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania, was tired of being bullied every day. His mother thought he was exaggerating his reports about the treatment he received at school. So the teenager took matters into his own hands and gathered evidence by recording an incident on his school iPad. Guess who got into trouble for that.

Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. On Wednesday, March 19, the student, whose name we have agreed to not include in this story, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet.

The student deleted the recording under orders from school administration, although his mother had already made a transcript. The alleged bullies heard on the recording were not disciplined. South Fayette Township police Lieutenant Robert Kurta defended the charge of disorderly conduct, saying the student “engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose.” The student’s family attorney thinks that destruction of the evidence may also be a crime. The unnamed student is appealing his conviction. -via The Daily Dot

(Image credit: Tom Morris)

Update: Since the story made national news, things have changed. The charge against the student was rescinded on appeal.



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3 Awesome Experiments Dads Can Do With Their Kids

There are few things more satisfying than doing science experiments with your children. There are so many benefits! First, it's a great way to spend family time together. Second, it will feed your child's curiosity and spark an interest in science. Third, it's a lot of fun! And fourth, but most important, you will impress your child with your intelligence and skills. And you don't even have to have intelligence and skills if you have the right guidance.

That's why we are happy to bring you an excerpt from Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family! It's a new book by Mike Adamick that gives you step-by-step instructions adn explanations for impressive science experiments that will convince your children that you, Dad or Mom, Grandma or Uncle, are indeed awesome. The book ships on April 18th, but as a sneak preview, here are three of the thirty awesome experiments from the book.

Volcano Time!

If you grew up watching endless Brady Bunch reruns you’re probably familiar with Peter Brady’s volcano—a mud-spewing, steep-sided science project that sent showers of muck and sludge all over Peter’s sister, Marsha, and her snooty friends. It was the coolest thing ever.



There’s a good chance that this one episode alone launched our love affair with kitchen-sink volcano projects—an experiment so simple that you and your lab partner can most likely do it right now with stuff you already have in the kitchen. All you really need is vinegar, baking soda, and a bottle to mix them in, but it is much cooler to use good ol’ fashioned backyard dirt to construct a volcano model around the bottle first and then conduct the experiment.

Either way you do it, this is a science experiment with serious thrills. But it also expertly mimics what happens under the earth’s crust to create volcanic eruptions.

Here’s Why It Works

When the solid baking soda (sodium bicarbonate—a base) mixes with the liquid vinegar (acetic acid—a weak acid), a chemical reaction occurs and forms a gas (carbon dioxide). All those bubbles and foam? They’re evidence of gas, and as the gas expands, it looks for an escape route for all that built-up pressure. So the foam and bubbles rise until they flood out of your bottle’s opening.

Pretty much the same exact thing is happening under the earth right now.

The earth’s crust is made up of many sections of superthick shell—65-plus miles thick!—called tectonic plates that are always moving, very slowly, over the much, much hotter inner earth. Most of the world’s volcanoes are found where two or more of these tectonic plates meet one another. Sometimes those plates shift and sometimes they collide, forming escape routes in the earth’s crust for molten rocks and gas, called magma. Much like the carbon dioxide in your baking soda–vinegar experiment seeks the quickest escape route to relieve pressure, the gases in the underground magma do the same thing before erupting out of a volcano.

Not all eruptions are alike, however. Sometimes the gases in the magma are easily released from the earth’s crust and the result is a slow, oozing spread of superhot lava. But  sometimes the gases stay trapped beneath cooled magma and rock building up pressure until they erupt in violent explosions that can send ash and boulders flying up to 20 miles high. In fact, airplane pilots keep track of volcano activity around the earth, just to be sure they don’t fly into clouds of dangerous ash.

Here’s What You Need



Baking soda

Vinegar

A bottle (a good vase with a wide bottom and slender top also works well, but use whatever you can find)

Red food dye

String

Toilet paper

Here’s What You Do

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Name the Baby, Redux

Back in 2008, we posted a notice that Jason Morrison and his wife were having a baby and taking votes from internet users on what to name the child. Five and half years later, they have a daughter named Athena, and are expecting another baby! Once again, they are asking for your help to name the child, but there are a couple of differences. 1. They know this one is a boy, and 2. they are paying for the votes this time around.

My wife and I (along with some other Googlers) have pledged to donate $1 for each vote –   see details in the FAQ.  For $1, Save the Children can provide one complete polio vaccination course for a child.  Just by voting, you will be helping a child in need.  If you would like to join us and donate $1 of your own, please go to this OneToday campaign.  Google OneToday makes donating to a good cause easy and fun.

As you might be able to tell from that paragraph alone, Jason works for Google. Read the rest of the story (and vote) at his blog.



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Mr. Forthright's Tips for Raising Kids

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Mr. Fortright (previously at Neatorama) tells us how to raise kids. He bass some intriguing ideas. That idea about throwing them a birthday party with clowns at 4AM may be just the thing to keep them in line! I can’t wait for the next  video on how to wake a teenager. -via Tastefully Offensive



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Baby Starts Dancing When The EDM Beat Drops

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For some reason EDM (electronic dance music) really appeals to young children. Maybe it’s the driving beat and the catchy sounds used as hooks, or it’s the simplicity of the rhythm that appeals to their fresh young ears.

Whatever the reason little kids really like to cut loose and boogie their little butts off whenever they hear an EDM track, but the baby in this video has mastered the art of ninja dancing, waiting for the beat to drop before she comes to life and jams out with her sisters.

-Via Cheezburger



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Toddler Sings the Blues

(Facebook link)


A member of the Argentinian band Tota Blues posted this video of his toddler son singing the blues. He was just under two years old at the time. You can say a child is too young for the blues when he hasn’t ever been unhappy, but this little guy has certainly heard his share of the music! I’d like to know how much of what he’s singing is Spanish, and how much is baby talk.

Here's more information from infobae. In the original Spanish. -Thanks, Juliana Zambelli



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Kids’ Choir on Ellen

(YouTube link)

You recall the video of the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences choir singing "Happy." That video came to the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who arranged for the choir to be featured on her show, which was a total surprise for the kids and their choir director. They were under the impression that they were assembled to make another video. Being on the show wasn’t the only surprise, as Pharrell Williams and his big hat were also there, and the choir was given a check to fund their trip to Disney World and more. You can see a video of the rest of their performance without the commercial break at Blazenfluff.



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This Baby LOVES Cake!

You may love cake, but you don't love cake like this baby LOVES cake! Cake: it's not just for eatin'.



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You Can’t Reason with Babies

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A father tries to explain to his one-year-old son why he can’t come out on the balcony, but you know how babies are. They will argue with you about anything, and they don’t give up. You have to admit, the kid has a cogent argument, and he brings up some interesting points. Maybe he’ll grow up to be a lawyer! -via Daily Picks and Flicks



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Baby Feet at Work

(YouTube link)

Check out this baby conducting music with his feet! Isn’t that adorable? Or maybe he is learning to dance. His mama says he twirled his hands and feet all day long when he was that age. -via Daily Picks and Flicks



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Uplifting Animated Short - Helium Harvey

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If we could take flight simply by swallowing a bunch of helium, like characters often do in cartoons, then the world would be virtually devoid of children and those who consider themselves kids at heart.

They’d all be floating their way across the globe, hoping they don’t get snagged on a branch and pop, and then we’d have to clean up a bunch of exploded carcasses that look like human shaped balloons.

Thankfully this animated short called Helium Harvey doesn’t stray into the real very much, preferring to show a lighthearted and fanciful version of what a kid floating free would look like.

Helium Harvey was created by Daniel Savage, a Brooklynite who has always dreamt of taking to the skies in his pajamas so he can see the world and take a nap at the same time!

-Via Laughing Squid



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The Story of the Pink Shirt

When the other kids tease your child, you, like every parent, will have fantasies of teaching them a lesson. You don’t carry out those fantasies, because that would cause more trouble than it would solve, but at least we have our dreams. And some fantasies are better than others, like this proof of how badass the color pink can be from Lunarbaboon.



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The Sustainability Treehouse Reminds Us What's Worth Protecting

While the Boy Scouts are in the news a lot these days for certain conservative policies, their basic values are noble -sustainability, education and respect for example. And their new Sustainability Treehouse in the Summit Betchel Reserve of West Virginia reinforces these important ideals by placing an emphasis on sustainability.

The building's stunning location not only emphasizes just what is at risk if we don't change our polluting ways, but the premise is also an example of just how well sustainability works -leaving basically no footprint between its solar and wind turbine generated power and rain cistern and water cleansing system.

You can find out more about the great educational facility (and see more pictures of the striking property) over at Homes and Hues: The Sustainability Treehouse Educates While It Excites



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First Judo Match

(YouTube link)

Two little girls who are barely old enough to walk are competing in their first judo match. They probably see it as the “bow, hug, and fall down” match. They get the point, but their execution is the most adorable thing you’ll see today! -via Daily Picks and Flicks

See also: World’s Cutest Taekwondo Battle.



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Super Adorable Yet Somehow Creepy - The Baby Avengers

Awww, those widdle Avengers look so cute when they’re babies! Not sure about the baby facial hair though, but I guess when you’re a superhero even your beard grows at an accelerated rate.

The stars of this baby faced Avengers caricature series by Ben Oliver don’t look like they’d be very good in a fight, except for baby Hulk who looks just like Ron English’s angry baby Temper Tot, Hulk always looks ready to smash!

Are Asgardians born with facial hair? And how did poor lil Nicky Fury put his eye out? He was probably running with scissors during arts and crafts!

-Via Geekosystem



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Sisters

Donnie Brainard’s 15-year-old daughter India, who has cerebral palsy, underwent surgery for scoliosis and is having a difficult road to recovery. She has been hospitalized for quite some time and hasn’t seen her sister for 65 days. They finally got to visit, and Brainard posted a sweet photo of their reunion. The picture reminds me of another pair of sisters.



You can follow India’s story at Brainard’s blog.



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Babies Tasting Lemons in Slow Motion

(YouTube link)

Babies have an almost universally similar reaction to their first taste of a lemon. They are eager to try something new, they take a bite, and then it’s shock, puckering, frowning, astonishment at your betrayal of their trust, maybe a little spitting, and then after a moment, they want another bite!

In the video titled Pucker, you see a group of babies and their precious reactions in slow motion, with the appropriate “In the Hall of the Mountain King” as a soundtrack. -via Tastefully Offensive



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She is Every Disney Princess -and Villain, Too!


(video link)

Angela Bonser did not learn how to sew until she had a daughter. Then she had two daughters and the family moved to California, close enough to visit Disneyland. Bosner started making elaborate Disney costumes for her younger daughter, Haylie, to wear to the park. She made quite a splash! Read more of  Angela Bonser’s story at the Flickr blog. See even more pictures at My Modern Met.  -via mental_floss



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Three-year-old Dancer

(YouTube link)

Zhang Junhao is three years  old. He is probably the youngest contestant you’ve ever seen in a TV talent show. On the show Awesome Chinese, he comes out on stage with his own sound system that’s as big as he is, and gives the remote control to a judge. The judge messes with him by constantly changing the song played, but this little trouper is not rattled in the least! His dancing is pretty good, for a 3-year-old, but his real talent is his stage presence. Be sure to stay for his Q&A after the performance, when he grabs your heart right there at your computer desk. -via Time Newsfeed   



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18 Kids Beds You Wish You Could Have As An Adult

When I was a kid, I always longed for a racecar bed. I'm pretty much over that now, but after writing about the amazing beds you can get for your kids these days, I really want a viking ship bed now. 

Though I'd also be happy with this castle Murphy bed. 

And while I feel a little too old to sleep in a Batmobile bed, I can't help but feel a little jealous of those awesome little kids who do get to have one.

What about you guys, would you get these beds in adult sizes if they were available or are you too grown up for that? 18 Utterly Awesome Kid's Beds



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Pranklopedia: The Funniest, Grossest, Craziest, Not-mean Pranks on the Planet

We are happy to present an excerpt from the book Pranklopedia by Julie Winterbottom -just in time for April Fools Day! Pranklopedia has step-by-step instructions for 70 different pranks of all kinds for kids ages 7 through 12, including some printable materials like labels and tickets to make them easier to pull off.

Author Julie Winterbottom is a former editor of Nickelodeon Magazine, and has written quite a few other books for children. A lifelong prankster, she persionally tested all the pranks contained in the book and tweaked them for maximum effect. Credit goes to Winterbottom's long-suffering boyfriend for cooperating with her research.

You can find out more and order Pranklopedia from Workman Publishing, as well as from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Available in both paperback and ebook form.

Here are five pranks from the book. You can see even more pranks at the Pranklopedia Facebook page.

Continue reading


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45 Simple Safety Rules For Living Life & Not Dying

Amy found a notebook in which her then-8-year-old-son had written out safety rules. And they are pretty good rules, if a little unclear at times. There are illustrations, too. Some of my favorites:

#5: Never go near a snake where it will hipmotis you.
#8: Never get sqasht by a giant.
#15: Never go to Harry Potter World ware you'll get shot by Voldamort's wand.
#21: Never get chomp't up by a dinosar.
#30: Keep your dey's on my hot glord.
#39: Look and see wats behind you if someone if going to kick you.
#43: Never go in the purple potty.

I will have to keep that one about the purple potty in mind. The others are just as funny. Altogether it sounds like a complete roundup of the type of things an 8-year-old boy thinks about. The illustration goes with #21, and #30 has sparked all manner of speculation. Read the rest at Amalah. -via Metafilter



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Action Movie Kid - A Video Series That Brings Imagination To Life

(Video Link)

(Video Link)

Dreamworks artist Daniel Hashimoto doesn’t take his work home with him, because he’d rather spend time playing with his son James and using a little movie magic to turn James into the world’s youngest action movie star.

Now James may not do all of his own stunts, and he may have the power of visual effects programs like After Effects helping him look more heroic, but their video series called Action Movie Kid is about the power of imagination, and bringing James’ superhero dreams to life.

From daring grappling gun stunts to sweet lightsaber swingin' moves, James is ready for a leading role in upcoming movies like Die Hard: With A Kid or The Bourne Adoption.

-Via GeekTyrant



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Jimmy Kimmel Asks Kids If They Know Any Naughty Words

(Video Link)

We recently posted a video featuring a guy asking his three year old nephew to recite all the bad words he knows, many of which were unsurprisingly butt related.

But Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t satisfied with the results- he felt that this particular kid's list of curse words didn't fairly represent the bad words known by all kids, so he decided to head out to Hollywood Boulevard to see what kind of filth was running through the mind of L.A.’s children.

Kimmel's scientific research into the subject yielded some rather surprising results, including the fact that most kids think dumb is a bad word, and when these kids let loose it's enough to make a sailor blush!

-Via Cheezburger



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31 April Fools Day Pranks to Play on Your Kids

One of the great things about having children is that they laugh at your stale old jokes because they haven’t heard them a million times like your friends have. To them, you are a treasure trove of knowledge because you know a little more than they do. And depending on their ages, they will fall hard for April Fools Day pranks. Buzzfeed put together a list of simple tricks aimed at kids, which are mostly harmless. Your mileage may vary, so keep your child’s level of sensitivity in mind. Making candied apples with onions inside might not be appropriate for young kids, but putting googly eyes on everything in the refrigerator might be just the ticklet.

(Image source: Imgur)



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Monster Under the Bed

This is an wonderful way to turn a negative into a positive! Parents get the idea sooner or later that making light of a situation does more long-term good than sympathy. Turning monsters into a cause for celebration goes way back, though. Jim Henson did it for years. Comic by Lunarbaboon



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