Our curated list of kid-related news for April 1, 2016.
- Parker Barry
- 1. Library fine? No books for you, kid! San Jose’s Public Library is one example of many library systems around the country that have banned kids from checking out books or using library computers due to unpaid fines. Half of the children and teens in San Jose owe library fines, and under current rules cardholders who own more than $10 can’t borrow materials or use the library’s computers. With a fee of 50 cents a day for an overdue book, the $10 limit comes quickly. “The problem of late fees is so widespread that the American Library Association has addressed the issue,” wrote Carol Pogash in Wednesday’s New York Times. “In a little-known policy objective, it calls for ‘the removal of all barriers to library and information services, particularly fees and overdue charges.’” The director of libraries in San Jose has asked the city’s council to establish an amnesty program and lower the daily penalty for late books for children to 25 cents. The council will consider the proposal next month. (In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed)
- 2. Stings forgiven, girl saves bees. When 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer was younger, she was stung by bees twice in one week. She became so scared of the little pollinators that she panicked whenever she saw one, so her mom asked her to research bees’ importance. “When she learned about the plight of bee populations that were dying from colony collapse disorder, and the danger it posed to our food chain, Mikaila had to do something to help them,” according to a recent article about her efforts on The Good News Network. So she added some honey to an old family lemonade recipe and began to sell the lemonade and give part of the profits to bee-saving groups. Mikaila’s idea went on to win $60,000 on the show “Shark Tank” and landed her a million-dollar business deal with Whole Foods. Now called “Bee Sweet Lemonade,” Mikaila’s honey-sweetened lemonade business is buzzing, and she’s now donating 10 percent of the proceeds to saving bees and educating others about the problem. (Girl’s lemonade recipe to save bees turns into million dollar Whole Foods deal)
- 3. Kids rule at NYC’s new adventure playground. Frustrated by overbearing rules at most playgrounds, two New York City parents started the nonprofit organization play:groundNYC, which is now creating a kid-led “adventure playground.” According to an article posted Tuesday on The Atlantic’s CityLab, adventure playgrounds usually have “moveable parts (which can include items like boxes, pipes, paint, hammers and even saws) and trained, paid grown-up ‘playworkers,’ who oversee and facilitate the play without interfering. Children are free to build their own structures, tear them down, climb, graffiti, create.” The organization is establishing the seasonal play site (scheduled to open in May) for kids age 6 to 13. (Where the Wild Kids Are: An adventure playground is about to open up in the U.S., and the rough-and-tumble, unstructured play could benefit both parents and children)
- 4. “Brain Breaks” are the new recess? Some schools claim that there’s no time or space for kids to have recess, so they’re adding “brain breaks” — brief, in-class physical activities that teachers lead and students follow — to get kids up out of desks and moving periodically during instruction. While studies show that this sort of physical activity helps kids learn, it’s not the same as free-play recess, says a group of parents in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. A statewide mandatory recess proposal recently failed in the Florida legislature, so the Miami-area parents are now moving at the county level to push for 20 minutes of daily recess for their pre-K and elementary school kids. But the district may say brain breaks are recess. “…A recommendation by the district’s Wellness Advisory Committee to make recess a daily thing is winding its way through the district’s bureaucratic process. The recommendation may also change the definition of recess to include short ‘brain breaks’ that are integrated into the regular school day,” according to an article in the Miami Herald this week about the parents’ recess push. (Fight for the right to play: Parents seek more recess in Miami-Dade schools)
- 5. Banish bedtime blues. Must bedtime be a kids-against-parents battle, or a boring routine that parents tolerate and kids demand? No, reassured parenting blogger Danielle Lindner on this week’s Huffington Post. Lindner, author and founder of The London Day School, gave parents three fun tips (and one completely counterintuitive tip) to transform bedtime into something everyone can enjoy. “Although it’s easy for adults to fall asleep and even look forward to the idea of a pillow waiting for them at the end of a long day, kids don’t know yet how great that time is,” Lindner advised. “So that’s what we need to do. We need to make bedtime something to look forward to. We also need to demystify what happens after our child heads off to dreamland.” (Help! My child won’t go to sleep! 4 tips for a blissful bedtime)