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healthy kids


Beyond TOYS


by Sandra Murphy C


hoosing thoughtful giſts for kids can be a challenge, especially when opting for creativity over this year’s


hot toy. It’s possible to find giſts that appeal to both parent and child, involving the whole family or working as solo projects. Some expand beyond the boundaries of home.


Go Robo Te Tinkering Kit will have boys and girls, moms and dads all clamoring for their turn to build a robot that does more than merely walk. Challenge cards urge kids to make a machine to scramble an egg or build a robot that moves without wheels. Robotics teaches science, technology, engi- neering, art and mathematics, also known as STEAM learning. Computer program- ming is the last step (TinkeringLabs.com/ catalyst).


Language for a Lifetime Benedict Beckeld, Ph.D., of New York City, speaks 11 languages and teaches students via online video chats (Skype) (BenedictBeckeld.com/contact). Locally, find teachers or grad students to tutor a second or third language at home for the whole family. Search online for interactive, game-like classes that maintain a child’s


36 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


Gifts that Evoke Kids’ Creativity


interest. American Sign Language, the fourth-most-used language in the U.S., is fun to learn and helpful to know.


Budding Foodies Take a quiz, experiment, learn more and find kid-approved recipes at AmericasT- estKitchen.com/kids/home. Kids learn to make sriracha-lime popcorn, hummus, and chicken and broccoli stir fry. Use organic and non-GMO (not genetically modified) ingredients. Sign up to receive recipes and tips for hands-on activities via email to keep good meals coming. Te onsite equipment reviews help with selec- tion of affordable and safe kitchen tools.


Emerging Artistry Carolyn Dube, a mixed-media art adven- turer in Batesville, Indiana, gives her followers at AColorfulJourney.com per- mission to play and even make mistakes.


“My free online workshop shows ways to use found items like recycled cardboard to make art,” she says. For kid-safe paints, look for the Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) seal that certifies products are non-toxic and properly labeled. Certified Arteza-brand acrylic premium paints are packaged in less-waste


pouches to use as-is or to refill original containers. Te Danish company Sprout Pencils,


operating from Boston, engraves quotes on biodegradable Love Pencils, which contain flower or vegetable seeds. When it’s too short to write or color with, plant it. In Cleveland, Faber-Castell USA makes their colored pencils from re-forested wood with an ergonomic, triangular shape, perfect for learning the proper grip. Te Young Artist Essentials Giſt Set contains eco-pencils, non-toxic crayons and oil-pastels. DickBlick.com offers hundreds of free


lesson plans for art lovers of all ages, skill levels and interests, all designed to meet the National Standards for Visual Art Education.


Memorable Experiences Erica Hartwig, director of operations at Organic Moments Photography, in Boca Raton, Florida, has five children. “I want to give a memorable experience, rather than a toy that will sit in their rooms,” she says. “Football season tickets, dance les- sons, an art class or vacations supplement the packages under the tree.”


YuryImaging/Shutterstock.com


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