A New Friend in Need at Kindergarten

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This little girl is having a hard time being away from Mommy on her first day at kindergarten in Taiwan. But she’s got a new friend who is determined to make it easier for her. “I will protect you!” This little fellow is a superhero in the making! If only all children found such comfort when they are doing something new and scary…  -via Buzzfeed

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Softball Camp Teams Amputee Kids with Amputee Veterans

The Wounded Warrior Softball Team is an organization of American veterans who have lost limbs in the line of duty, but are still up for athletic challenges. Many of them make use of advanced prostheses. All of them are dedicated to improving the lot of American veterans returning home.

But they do more than just helping veterans. They're also helping kids with missing limbs play sports. That's why they recently held a softball camp in Louisville, Kentucky for 20 kids with absent arms or legs. 

It's making a difference for a lot of kids. NBC News reports:

This summer, the wounded warriors coached 10-year-old Adrian Grajeda. And now he can hit, throw, and field grounders better than ever before. But Adrian, who lost his leg less than a year ago after a car accident, said they showed him much more than that.

“It’s cool because you don’t feel alone,” he said. “And they can teach you stuff that you don’t know.”

(Photos: Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team)

The kids have been an inspiration to the veterans who operate the camp. The Courier Journal reports:

"These kids don't think of themselves as disabled or having a tough time," said Rick Wilk, a U.S. Army veteran who had one of his legs amputated. "They make us look like wimps out here, because they're running around and jumping around. How can we talk about being hurt when these kids have so much passion and so much drive?"

Wilk said that after a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum on Monday, he heard a father ask his son if he was in pain from the physically grueling day. The boy told him he had no time to hurt, because there was only time to be happy.

-via Huffington Post

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Gnarly in Pink

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This is a short documentary about three 6-year-old girls. They like pink. In fact, they wear pink crash helmets and call themselves the “Pink Helmet Posse” as they shred through the skatepark. They fall, they cry, they get right back up and try it again. Bella, Sierra, and Relz want to someday be professional skateboarders. Read more about the Pink Helmet Posse at The New York Times, and check out their website, too. -via Tastefully Offensive

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Children React to Fireworks

YouTube Link

Adults usually have an opinion on fireworks. They may be apathetic and think the production isn't worth the crowds, bug bites and chance for accidents. They may be excited to see the show every year, hoping for the biggest booms and brightest colors. Perhaps they can't stand their redneck neighbor and the last fireworks party his family threw when he got out of jail. Whatever the reaction, its a buildup of all experiences with fireworks they've had previously. 

But children who are new to fireworks are cute blank slates to previous "fireworks baggage" that any adult may carry. Watch a number of kids experience this American holiday tradition. Via Tastefully Offensive. 

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11-Year Old Invents a Gadget to Prevent Parents from Leaving Their Babies in Hot Cars

Parenting is a long period of anxiety punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Parenting a baby is a particularly stressful time because a child is at a very physically vulnerable point and the parent may be inexperienced in caring for children.

Parents strap their babies and toddlers into car seats and drive. On rare occasions, a parent may forget that a young child is in the back and accidentally leave him/her in the car alone.

In hot summer weather, this can kill a child.

It's every parent's worse nightmare. When my children were younger, it was a constant source of anxiety for me. Although I never left my kids in the car, I was afraid that I would. Even when I knew that I was driving alone, I would check the car seats.

(Image: Headline News)

Though he is only 11 years old, Andrew Pelham of Nashville, Tennessee understands this worry. That's why he invented the EZ Baby Saver. It's a simple device designed to remind parents that there's a kid in the backseat.

(Video Link)

It's made of duct tape and rubber bands. The driver attaches it to the car door inside handle and the back of the seat. It forms an obstruction which prevents the driver from exiting the vehicle. This, Andrew hopes, will remind the driver to check the backseat.

(Photos: EZ Baby Saver)

Andrew won a young inventors' contest with the EZ Baby Saver. But all he wants to do is save lives: 

I just hope that people can use my design in the real world soon because I just want to save one life and then I can say that my idea was successful.

You can find instructions on how to make an EZ Baby Saver here.

-via Huffington Post

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12 Bookcases Perfect for Kiddos

Whether your little one has a full library or just a few favorite books, a bookshelf is always handy for youngsters who like to read.

And over at Homes and Hues, we compiled some of the greatest bookcases for your favorite reader to enjoy in his or her own room.

From animals to artforms to a full over-the-bed igloo, these designs are sure to impress your little bookworm, so don't miss the full list: 12 Awesome Bookcases for Kids

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McKenzie and Her Dad

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Twelve-year-old McKenzie Carey (warning: autoplay music) suffers from mitochondrial disease. That doesn’t stop her from wanting to do the same things other girls do, like enter beauty pageants. Mike Corey, her truck driver father, lends a hand by dancing on stage with Kenzie to the Miley Cyrus song “The Climb.”

“Pageants give her the same opportunity as other children and show people that she can accomplish anything with a little bit of help,” says her mom, Tammy. “I just want the judges to look at her, not her wheelchair.”

Mitochrondrial disease is classified as terminal, and most children diagnosed do not survive past their teen years. “We were told it would be a miracle if McKenzie made it to age 5,” Tammy says.

McKenzie has won quite a few pageants, and cash prizes go towards her medical expenses. The biggest prize -for all of us- is seeing the smile on her face. -via Viral Viral Videos

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9 Houses That Have Slides Inside Them

If you have a two-story home, you typically need stairs, a ladder, a ramp or an elevator to get up to the next floor, but going down can be a lot more of an adventure -especially if you revert to the old playground favorite, the slide. Over on Homes and Hues this week, we rounded up 9 Houses With Slides Inside so you can recall your childhood dream of having just such a home.

The slides are all fun-looking, but many of them are suprisingly sophisticated, showing that adding a little creative flair to your home doesn't mean it has to look like a playground. In fact, some of these places are downright chic.

Chic or not, I'd love to live in pretty much any of these awesome homes. How about you guys?

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First Moon Party

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Do you recall The Camp Gyno? Now HelloFlo, a company that sells menstrual supplies, is back again with a new ad about a girl’s first period, and the party her mom throws to celebrate it. Technically safe for work, but be warned that there are plenty of jokes and imagery you might not want to share with your boss or co-workers. You'll never look at Florida the same way again. -via Buzzfeed

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10 Things We've Learned About Dads

In honor of Fathers Day, Smithsonian has rounded up some research on fathers and fatherhood that has surfaced in the past year. Some of it is common sense, although it’s nice to have common sense confirmed scientifically, but there are some findings that we may have never considered before.

1) Do the dishes. It’s for your daughter:  Dads who want their daughters to aspire to prestigious careers should make a point of handling more chores around the house. That’s the suggestion of a study published in the journal Psychological Science, which concluded that when a father helps out a lot at home, his daughters are more likely to break out of the mold of traditionally female jobs and instead seek more high-powered careers. Researchers at the University of British Columbia said they found that girls raised in homes where chores were shared evenly between both parents tended to have broader career goals.  

2) Finally, a reason to eat brussel sprouts: It’s not just pregnant women who need to eat healthy for the benefit of their offspring, According to a study at McGill University in Canada.  it’s important for prospective fathers to load up on vegetables with folates, such as spinach, sprouts and broccoli, says a recent study based on mice.  If a father's folic acid level is too low when he and his partner conceive, he may increase the risk that the child will have abnormalities.  It’s long been recommended that women boost their folic acid level during pregnancy, and now, it may turn out that men need to do the same before trying to conceive.

There’s more at Smithsonian. Some of these studies may apply to you or someone you love, at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Flickr user Daria)

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Graph Coloring and Chromatic Numbers for Second Graders

Math professor and philosopher Joel David Hamkins gave a guest lesson to his daughter’s second grade class. How does someone dedicated to “the philosophy of the infinite” present a math lesson to a group of seven-year-olds? By coloring pages!

We began with vertex coloring, where one colors the vertices of a graph in such a way that adjacent vertices get different colors. We started with some easy examples, and then moved on to more complicated graphs, which they attacked.

The aim is to use the fewest number of colors, and the chromatic number of a graph is the smallest number of colors that suffice for a coloring.  The girls colored the graphs, and indicated the number of colors they used, and we talked as a group in several instances about why one needed to use that many colors.

They went on to map coloring, in which odd shapes must be colored so that touching border have different colors, using the fewest possible colors. Then he wrapped it up with  Eulerian paths and circuits. In these lessons the fun part comes first, and the concepts underlying them follow as they go.

The high point of the day occurred in the midst of our graph-coloring activity when one little girl came up to me and said, “I want to be a mathematician!”  What a delight!  

Read how the lessons went at Hamkins’ blog. Hamkins also provides a printable version of the booklet he gave each child. -via Digg

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6 Shockingly Evil Abuses Of Power By School Officials

When you send your kids off to school you’re putting their young lives, and minds, in the hands of many different official school type folks, from teachers to district officials to security personnel, and these folks usually started working in the school system because they liked working with kids.

But, just like any position that comes with a bit of control over other human beings, there are those who take the job because they like being in charge, and sometimes because being in charge means making a lot more money.

Scandals abound in this article which reveals 6 Shockingly Evil Abuses of Power by School Officials, including a case where kids at a vocational school in Rhode Island were being put to work in a sweatshop making and bagging jewelry, and a case of misappropriated school lunch funds in eight California school districts which resulted in $170 million dollars being funneled into staff wages and catered school board meetings, while the kids found the quality of their school lunches lowered through no fault of their own.

It's enough to make you wanna home school your kids!

(NSFW due to language, like virtually every article on Cracked)

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Life with a Toddler

Someone once told me it’s a good thing toddlers are so cute and sweet and loving because that’s what keeps you from killing them. Grant Snider of Incidental Comics has an 18-month-old daughter and is well aware of the extremities of that difficult, dangerous, but oh-so-memorable age. He created this wonderful comic for Fathers Day. You can buy it as a poster. -via Laughing Squid

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Punching for Pancakes

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When you are a parent, you find yourself saying weird things that you never in your wildest dreams thought you’d ever say. That’s because children have no context, no sense of what should be, until you tell them. The classic example is “Get your feet off my plate!” How is a kid to know they aren’t supposed to put their feet in other people’s plate until you tell them? The reddit thread accompanying this video is full of such phrases. -via Daily of the Day

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Ryland’s Story

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Jeff and Hillary Whittington welcomed their first baby, a girl they named Ryland, in 2007. Within a year they learned Ryland was deaf, so they arranged for a cochlear implant. As Ryland learned to hear and speak, one of his first complete sentences was "I am a boy." He never changed his mind about that. In this video, Ryland’s parents explain how they came to see him as a boy, and how much happier he is now as the son instead of the oldest daughter. This mini-documentary was unveiled last week at the sixth annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego. -via Metafilter

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The Most Fun Thing Ever: Crayon Shoes and Helmets

(Photos: Mathery Studio)

These things apparently don’t come in adult sizes, which is totally unfair because I would use them. The design firm Mathery Studio created an area in the National Gallery of Victoria where kids can get creative. They made helmets and sandals with built-in crayon balls. Kids strap them on and mark up the walls, floors, and furniture.

To my knowledge, these devices are not yet commercially available, but I can imagine a big market for them. Probably not for the home, though.

-via NotCot

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9-Year-Old Can't Ride A Bike, But She Can Do A 540 On Her Skateboard

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There’s a certain stigma attached to being a nine-year-old who can’t ride a bike, and people often assume that you don't know how because there’s something wrong with you or your family, which can make you feel like you don’t fit in with the rest of the world.

I was one of those kids who chose to ride around on a skateboard and scooter rather than learning how to ride a bike, and as young Sabre Norris of NSW Australia proves in this amazing video riding a bike isn’t the ultimate skill a kid can possess.

This video documents her 75th attempt to do a 540 on her skateboard, the one where she finally successfully completed the trick, and Sabre's skills demonstrate how amazingly skilled some young athletes can be.

-Via 22 Words

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The Gerber Baby at Age 87

(Image: CBS)

In 1927, Dorothy Gerber was straining vegetables through a seive to make them edible for her baby daughter Sally. Her husband, Daniel Gerber, owned a canning factory. He said that machines in the factory could carry out that process a lot faster. Dorothy proposed that he do precisely that.

Thus was born the Gerber baby products commercial empire.

To market his products better, Gerber held a contest to compose an image of a baby that could serve as a logo. Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist, made a charcoal sketch of a baby who lived nearby. This baby was Anne Turner Cook. Smith won the contest and Cook went down in advertising history at the Gerber Baby.

Cook is now 87 years old and every bit as lovely as she was eight decades ago. CBS News interviewed her about her life as the Gerber Baby. You can watch the video here.

-via I Own the World

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Baby’s First LOL

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A three-month-old baby starts to laugh, and Daddy gets tickled. Which makes the baby laugh, and tickles the dad even more, until everyone the room is laughing, including you from just watching the video. Nothing much else happens, but now you have a smile on your face, so that two minutes was well spent! -via Tastefully Offensive

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Why Do Students Get Summers Off?

School’s out, and life suddenly gets more complicated for someone who works at home. Every year, I wonder why kids get the summer off. You may have been told long ago that it’s an agricultural thing, because farm kids worked the crops during the summer. That doesn’t make much sense, since the real work of growing crops is planting, which is done by the time school is out, and harvesting, which happens after school starts in the fall. That explanation is a myth.

Before the Civil War, farm kids never had summers off. They went to school during the hottest and coldest months and stayed home during the spring and fall, when crops needed to be planted and harvested. Meanwhile, city kids hit the books all year long—summers included. In 1842, Detroit’s academic year lasted 260 days!

The summer school vacation evolved in phases, and you can read the whole story of how it happened at mental_floss.

(Image credit: Flickr user bass_nroll)

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Kids React to Old Computers

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The Fine Brothers pull out the confusing stuff for kids again, this time exposing them to obsolete computers, the kind we used just a few years years ago. Oh, it’s an Apple II from the ‘80s. With floppy drives, no mouse, and it’s text-based on a black background. And no internet! When I had one of those, I thought it was the neatest thing ever, even though you practically had to know how to program just to use the thing. -Thanks, Benny!

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Make Any Staircase Into A Slide With The SlideRider

Kids have always found fun ways to slide down the stairs, but while it's a fun indoor activity, it's not a particularly safe one. Thanks to the SlideRider though, kids of the world can finally glide down the stairs without making their parents worry about their safety -and the cool device can even be packed up and stored away in a small, simple bundle. 

See more pictures of the prototype and learn more about the new invention and how you can track the idea over on Homes and Hues: The SlideRider Makes Your Stairs Into A Slide

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The Cutest GoPro Ad Ever

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We’ve seen GoPro footage from all kinds of extreme sports, and simple activities like hula hooping and jumping rope, but nothing will make you feel like a kid again quite like watching Gopro footage of a toddler in a swing.

The gentle rocking motion may put you in a trance, or leave you drooling all over yourself at your computer, so you’d better wait until you’re home before you watch this adorable video which was created to advertise the new GoPro HD HERO3+.

Besides, you wouldn’t want to start feeling like a kid again only to discover that you’ve got hours of work ahead of you, right?

-Via Laughing Squid

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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Tech Fails - Twaggies by Twaggies

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