How to Write a Thank You Note for Kids

You know it’s a good idea to get kids in the habit of writing thank you notes early, but what if they’re not even old enough to write? You write them. Yes you, the adult! Here are 3 basic steps.

Things You’ll Need:

– Notecards

– Pens/pencils/crayons/pens

– Stickers (optional)

1) Choose your voice– Will you:

a) Write as if you’re the child, as in “Thank you for the sidewalk chalk— I drew all over the driveway with it.” or

b) Write as yourself, the adult, such as “Thank you for sending Billy that adorable shirt.”

Either is okay; do whichever feels right to you.

2) “Interview” your child about the gift. You’d be surprised how much this helps. I’m staring at a toy car, totally uninspired about what to write, and then I ask my son why it’s cool and he says, “I like the fire on the side and I can make it go VRROOOOM.” Voila, thank you note done.

3) Write the note. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Example 1:

Dear Grandma,

Thank you for the Webkinz! I named her Happy and have already set up her room. She has a princess bed, a checkers game, and lots of clothes and friends. Her favorite food is blueberries.

Thanks again. You know how much I like Webkinz. She is my favorite toy!

Love,

Fifi

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Example 2:

Dear Zachary,

I love my huge box of Legos so much, I can’t stop playing with them. I build a tower and knock it over many times a day. I don’t know what I used to do before this. Thank you so much for the great toy. My mom also likes that it comes with its own box, though I have not yet left it alone long enough to put it away!

Your Friend,

Logan

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Example 3:

Dear Thomas,

Thank you for the bug habitat and vacuum. I love being able to collect bugs and give them a home. I have 4 right now, and I named them all. I can tell they are really happy.

Thanks also for coming to my party! Having you there made it extra fun.

Your Friend,

Luke

Children can “help” parents write notes as soon as they are old enough to hold a crayon or peel a sticker. Let them personalize the note however they’d like; even if they just scribble, it shows the gift giver they were part of the thanking process and it lets the child know he should be!

When they are old enough to write their names, they can sign the cards you write and draw a picture. When they’re old enough to write, kids can write the notes with a little help with wording from parents. Eventually they’ll be proficient enough to write a note that will make Emily Post (and you) proud!

The Issue About Premarital Sexual Relationships Among Teens

Teenage sexual activity is a major problem confronting the nation and has led to a rising incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), emotional and psychological injuries, and out-of-wedlock childbearing thus teenage pregnancies and premarital sex occurrences alarm every sector in our society particularly the church and health institutions. Substantial studies had been conducted to support this scenario. A Young Adult Fertility Survey (Yafs) disclosed that males are more into pre-marital sex than females but over the years, young women are catching up with men. The survey covered 20,000 Filipino youths aged 15 to 24 years old across the country. According to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, 26 percent of our Filipino youth nationwide, from ages 15 to 25 years old, admitted to having a pre-marital sex experience. What’s worse is that 38 percent of our youth are already in a live-in arrangement.

The sexual revolution has ushered in a period where the average adolescent faces tremendous pressures to have sexual experiences of all kinds. Today, Pinoy teens get a higher exposure to sex from the Internet, magazines, TV shows, movies, and other media than decades ago, yet without any corresponding increase in information on how to handle the input. So kids are pretty much left to other kids for opinions and value formation when it comes to sex. Sexual misinformation is, therefore, equally shared in the group. Parents at home and teachers in school feel equally inadequate or uneasy to discuss the topic of sex with youngsters. The problem mounts because the barkada has a more profound influence than parents do, exerts pressure and expects the adolescent to conform to the rest of the them.

In our society, having sex outside marriage or before marriage is not acceptable especially that we are a Christian country where the sanctity of marriage is considered sacred be it civil or church wedding. But still a lot of people, particularly the young ones, were tempted to commit this act, discrediting the belief that sex is only for married couple and virginity is the gift one can give to her husband on the night of their wedding.

“Girls have sex to be loved, while boys love to have sex”. This romantic cliché is the most obviously sleazy yet devastatingly lines ever spoken. Men telling women that having sex is just their way of expressing their love, is about as threadbare saw a spider inviting a butterfly into her parlor; while women believe that having sex is their way of proving their love to a man. They gave all in the name of love to establish the truth of reality of their love. However, the question is: what if they are not meant to be? Later on, the women realize that the damage has been done. The guilt sets in and emotion like this has a great effect in their whole life.

The knowledge of pre-marital sex among the youth has been observed to be weak as shown by the increasing rate of unwanted pregnancies, case of abortions, use of contraceptives and the spread of sexually transmitted disease. Teens have the right to know more than the bare facts of menstruation menopause, pregnancies, etc. With the right information, the youth will be more cautious with their sexual activities.

Sexual intercourse in itself is neither morally evil nor good. It is the manner on which it was use that declares its morality. Like most things in life, it has to be done in the proper place, in the proper time and in the proper circumstances. Sexual intercourse should be practiced exclusively by those who are married (opposite sexes, of course) and should always be consensual, practiced in the spirit of love, and should always be in private. This is the only proper way of doing it.

The youth must wait for the right time before engaging in sexual acts, not because of the reason that it is an immoral practice but rather of the fact the risks involved such as abortion, unwanted pregnancy, getting the sexually transmitted diseases, etc. It has also ill effects on their mental, social and psychological being. Nevertheless whatever decision one will make, he/should be ready to face the consequences of their actions.

Unprotected sexual activity in adolescence brings with it the dangers of too early or unwanted pregnancy, induced abortion often in unsafe conditions, STDs, HIV infection and AIDS. In the 1994 YAFSS II, a great number of Filipino youth aged 15-24 had been actively engaged in sexual activity. About 1.8 M boys and 670,000 girls had sexual relations already. On the average, the first sex encounter happened at the age 18. The study also points to signs that girls were forced into sexual relations due to their inability to successfully negotiate refusal of sexual intercourse when not desired and are usually confronted with the threat of abandonment by the partner.

The presence of parents and parental supervision is a key factor that could regulate the spontaneity of sexual activity among young adolescents. Other factors associated with the adolescents early sexual experience are social interactions indexed by the frequency of going out with friends.

To enable adolescents and youth to cope with these challenging world, they should be provided with accurate information on their health concerns; make health services available and accessible to them; build their skills to enable them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life and creates a safe and supportive environment that will nurture their growth and development. The influential adults such as parents, health service providers, teachers, legislators and people in the community should also have the skills to deal with adolescent issues and concerns.

To stay away from these harmful effects teenagers must maintain standards and understand their responsibilities. Teens today need to follow the law of chastity. Chastity is “a lifestyle that brings freedom, respect, peace, and even romance – without regret; Chastity frees a couple from the selfish attitudes of using each other as objects, and makes them capable of their love. Chastity is a very difficult lifestyle. Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2337). This comes to show that chastity needs to be practiced amongst our youth today. Teenagers are prone to premarital sex, and are especially influenced by the media’s casual attitude toward it. Teenagers today are bombarded with the image of premarital sex through advertising. You can not watch cable television without seeing people kissing intimately, or even having sex . Premarital sex is suggested everywhere in our society, as seen on billboards, in movies, and in magazines. Perhaps, if teenagers had more confidence, they would not be prone to, and influenced by these artificial advertisements. There is no better way for teenagers to protect themselves from all of the dangers surrounding sex except to leave sex for marriage. Sexuality in human beings was not designed to just be okay; it was designed to be extremely good! And it is great and wonderful when we use this special gift of God in the way He intended. Sadly, many people do not respect their sexuality as they should. Through immoral sexual behavior they belittle what God intended to be a very special experience.

Hit the Links in Turkey

You probably already know that Turkey is breathtaking vacation destination for anyone interested in sand, sun and fun. But as well as snorkeling and sunbathing, Turkey also offers first-class golfing at some of the world’s most gorgeous courses.

Turkey’s first golf club opened in 1895 in Istanbul – others soon followed, but the first professional course didn’t open until the late 1990s. Although Turkey was a bit late to the game, the country quickly made up for lost time by creating some great greens, which can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to Turkey’s mild winters and hot summers. The Belek region, in particular, is known worldwide for its amazing golf vacations. The city features a dozen golf courses ranging in size and difficulty, from the 27-hole Tat International Golf Club that features seven lakes to the Kaya Golf Club and its 700-square-meter practice putting green, there is a course for every golfer, no matter what your stamina or skill level.

Turkey’s myriad courses ensure there is something for every type of golfer. The Antalya Golf Club boasts two courses, each of which appears to be a literal walk in the woods but will challenge even the most dedicated driver. The National Golf Club offers lessons for all levels, including beginners, but don’t let that fool you – in 2003, it was ranked the 14th best course in the world by readers of Germany’s “Golf Journal” magazine.

If you’re a hardcore golfer, there are several companies that offer custom golf vacations. Imagine, 36 holes every day on one or more of Turkey’s greatest golf clubs! Plus, if you’re traveling with non-golfers, destinations like the Gloria Golf Resort one of the best golf clubs in Turkey, provide for your nine-iron dreams as well as the relaxation of your travel companions – while you hit the rounds, your family can enjoy massages, restaurants,   swimming  pools and a children’s playground.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect location for your next corporate retreat, a hot vacation spot for you and your family or a romantic hideaway (complete with golf, of course), Turkey will surpass all your expectations and show you a great time – whatever your handicap on the greens!

Online Game Reviews Make People Buy and Play

Information along the lines of performance ratings, genre, review on the actual game play or special features of the game, the positive and negative aspects of the game, what console it plays on, who created the games, and the overall rating for the audience it is initially targeted to.

The gaming industry has become a multi-billion dollar enterprise, which has infected everyone from, every known aspect of society. From rich to poor, child to adult, everyone has had come in contact at on point in time with video games, so much now that there is a need for these reviews to act as advertising to the masses. Also for the amazing amount of different genres and more realistic video games being produced monthly, it has become so much easier for adult content, violence, and even nudity to find its way to the wrong type of audience, say children.

That type of mishap has happened before and to a grand scale. The many video game bodies of America and the world have been given ultimatums by the censorship boards that have to clean up these sort messes, and tighten their grip on what is the correct thing to do. They now have a tougher criterion when handing out these ratings for Mature, Everyone, Teen etc. And there are now stiff penalties for anyone choosing to stray from the rules that have been set by these boards.

These reviews are done by any number of individuals, websites or business that revolves around the innumerable characteristics of the gaming industry. And reviews on every single game has to provide some kind of useful information to not only the users of these games, but also the reviews work as an advertising post and putting the game out there for potential new gamers that may be interested in the games.

The majority of these reviews are done for online gaming sites, and various e-zines that relay that information to a wide number of people. Some examples of these sites and search engines are: Tech TV, Game Spot, Game Zone, IGN Games, Game Rankings, Computer Games Online, Business Week/Game Room, Gamers, Review Center etc. And these are just a few of the popular reviews that are available to the public. There are actually millions of sites on line that give out this information, and the games are reviewed by a lot of players also, so you always get great feedback on the games of your choice.

These games are reviewed by any and everyone and are for the many consoles out there; Xbox, Xbox 360, Playstation, PS2, Nintendo Game Cube, Nintendo DS, and even for the PC. Games are already being tested and reviewed for the highly anticipated PS3. I just shudder to think about it, such grandeur. Anyway these ratings are very important, it lets you know what to spend your money on, what games are right for children, if you highly awaited game sucks, or scores, or if you just want to know what the competition is up too.

Peppa Pig Games – Peppa Pig Toys

Why are we all so potty about Peppa Pig and the Peppa Pig Games and Toys that have become so popular following the great success of the British TV series?

What is it all about? Well, it is about the TV series with Peppa Pig and her family and all the lovely adventures that they get up to. Nothing very exciting but nevertheless all good fun and so very enjoyable for pre-school children to enjoy. The TV program has been such a big hit in the UK and is so loved by children and parents alike.

Peppa Pig is a lovable but slightly bossy little pig. She is five years old and lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and her little brother, George. Peppa likes playing with Suzy Sheep (her best friend), visiting Granny and Grandpa Pig, and looking after George. Most of all, Peppa loves jumping up and down in muddy puddles, laughing and making loud snorting noises.

There have been lots of other small animal characters and toys that have exploded onto the market over the years and very many of them like, Winnie the Pooh and of course Babe piglet from the same series have been very popular.

More recently Thomas The Tank Engine was the most popular TV program for small children until Peppa burst onto our TV screens and the games, toys, playset, and clothing followed.

Now the favourite toys for small children are anything from the Peppa pig range. You don’t need to worry about what to buy any small child as a present these days, just buy something from this collection and you are onto a winner.

Why Are Peppa Pig Games So Popular?

They are, of course, association with the TV series and their popularity stems from the amount of exposure these characters have had on TV. Almost all small children watch these very popular TV programs. The quality of the characters and the games are really good and of course they are very child friendly.

There is a vast range of characters and toys so lots of choice for both boys and girls. The TV series is about to hit the American market and as a result the Peppa Pig games and toys will be very sought after for pre-school children very soon.

So Where To Find Peppa Pig Toys and Games?

No doubt there will be some retail outlets in high streets and shopping malls that will carry some stock. However, my experience back here in the UK market, would indicate that the best way to find the toy or game that you want is to shop for it online.

Shopping online has lots of advantages over trawling around the stores. It is very likely that you will be able to find the complete range of games and toys rather than the limited choice in the shops. You can make your selection in the comfort of your own home, pay with your credit card via a secure service and get rapid delivery to your home.

All products are fully guaranteed and if you are not satisfied with your purchase there is a full money back guarantee. Some products even come with free shipping. Another factor is the price and this can very ofter be a lots less when buying online.

With Peppa Pig you have a wide choice of games and toys all very suitable for small children and available at your fingertips for a the lowest possible prices when you buy online.

Amazing Easter Basket Stuffers For Under $20

Easter Sunday is a holiday much anticipated by kids. After all, they get to hang out with friends and family, play games, eat candy and other treats, and even get presents! Of course, unfortunately for us adults, we’re the ones who have to provide all the fun. Instead of carefree enjoyment of the holiday, we get responsibility. It can be exhausting to have to find the perfect Easter kid’s gifts, and make sure we come in within budget. Luckily, this article is here to help. Here you’ll get fun ideas for Easter presents, which can either be wrapped individually or put together in a great Easter basket!

Sweets, Candy and other Goodies

Easter is a great time of the year for candy. Tasty, holiday-appropriate treats are released in droves. There are chocolate eggs, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, and that all-important staple: the chocolate Easter bunny. In fact, if you’re just giving out small favors, the chocolate Easter bunny can be a great choice. Another option would be to fill a medium-sized plastic egg with jellybeans, or some other treat. The possibilities are endless. Candy is also a great filler for an Easter basket, whether you want nothing but treats in the basket, or want to fill the edges around another gift. Candy is something that both kids and adults would enjoy, so it’s hard to go wrong.

Games and DVD’s

Games and DVDs can of course be given as an individual present, but they are even more fun as part of an Easter basket. And although Easter movies are not as popular as Christmas movies, properly themed films and shows are available. For example, Chicken Little, Dora the Explorer, and many other cartoons do have Easter specials. In fact, if you know what the child’s favorite cartoon or television show is, you could find the corresponding Easter special and have a fantastic gift. Alternatively, Easter-themed games can also be a great addition to any basket. And once the child hasn’t gotten the gift, they have instant entertainment for your Easter get together, giving all the adults a break!

Activity Books and Art Supplies

Easter is a holiday that can really spark some artistic creativity. After all, egg painting is probably the number one holiday activity among children. So getting activity books and art supplies can be a great follow-up. Put together a box of crayons, some colored construction paper and craft kits and you have a great gift. Or, there are many Easter-themed pop up activity books or coloring books. For example, a coloring or activity book that follows the Easter Bunny on an adventure, or one that shares the story behind Easter. Once again, these items can be given individually, or part of a basket. Either way, it’s another great way to keep the kids entertained and make you their favorite gift-giver.

Easter Outfits

This can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to find the right size, but it can be a lot of fun as well. For example, get them a pair of cute bunny ears, because most of these would come in one size fits all. Or you could get them adorable Easter printed dresses or t-shirts. There are a lot of choices available, and most of them are very budget friendly. Don’t forget that children love costumes, so this could be a really fun, really unique, gift idea!

Stuffed Animals

Who doesn’t love stuffed animals? We’re definitely saving the best for last! Plush toys are hugely in demand during the Easter season. The most obvious example of a good stuffed animal gift would be a plush bunny. After all, Easter is personified with the character of the Easter Bunny, what better way to represent him then with a small, furry, doppelganger? In fact, a rabbit would make a great centerpiece for your Easter Basket. But if the bunny isn’t for you, there are other animals that are traditionally associated with Easter. These are chicks and ducklings. In fact, if you are making a smaller basket, this can be a great option. A baby plush chick or a little baby duck would make a very cute basket centerpiece. Any of these plush animals can also be given as a great individual present. But don’t forget, there’s no reason you have to be this limited when it comes to stuffed animals. Pick one that you’d know they’d like and you’ll have a super fun gift!

So there you go, all those ideas should give you something to work with and take some of the stress off for us adults! You can find an individual gift or a gift basket for practically any budget, and have a truly happy Easter!

Healing Anger and Violence in Our Society

I have counseled individuals, couples, families and business partners for the past 35 years and authored eight published books. All this experience has resulted in the development of a profound six-step healing process, called Inner Bonding, which anyone can learn and use throughout the day (FREE course available – see resource box).

The violence in Littleton, Colorado sparked many discussions regarding the cause of such horrifying behavior on the part of two teenage boys. I would like to address this in terms on Inner Bonding.

In my experience, it is not possible for us as human beings to be violent when we are connected to our true, core Self and to a source of spiritual guidance. When we do the work we need to do to develop a spiritually connected loving adult self, we have an inner adult who places limits on our behavior regarding harming ourselves and others.

However, it is very common in our society for people to lose touch with their true, core Self. Since our core Self holds our intrinsic feelings of compassion and empathy for others, losing touch with this aspect of ourselves may cause us to be able to harm others without feeling any pain or remorse over it. The question is, then, how do we lose our connection with our core Selves?

Many child development experts state that those people who disconnect from their empathy and compassion, generally do so between the ages of two and four. If our parents lacked empathy and compassion for our feelings and needs, we might have chosen to be caretakers and take care of their needs, or we might have chosen to become like them and not care about others’ feelings and needs. We may have had no role modeling for maintaining our own inner connection. If our parents shut themselves down to our pain and their own, we may have learned to shut down to our own and others vulnerable feelings. If, in addition, we were physically, sexually, emotionally or verbally abused or neglected, we may have shut down to survive.

Some children, whose parents were shut down or abusive, manage to stay connected with their core Selves through contact with animals such as dogs or horses, while others stay connected through contact with relatives or friends with whom they identify. But many young children just disconnect to survive. When in this disconnected state, if they watch violence on TV or practice violence through video games, they may further train themselves to numb out against compassion, empathy, and the pain of harming others.

Likewise, if children grow up with no personal connection with a source of spiritual guidance, they may not know that we are all one, and they may not consider the possibility that the consequences of their actions may follow them into their lives after death.

Without connection with their core Self and their spiritual guidance, they are left with only their wounded selves. If they happen to be operating from an enraged wounded self, this self can certainly act out in angry and violent ways. With no loving inner Adult to set limits, the harm to themselves or others can be disastrous, as we have seen.

While limiting guns is certainly a good thing to do, it will not stop the violence. This violence will not stop until we no longer need to learn, as very young children, to barricade our hearts. As parents and teachers we need to be practicing a healing process such as Inner Bonding so that we can reclaim our core Selves and our deep connection with God. Only by doing our own inner work will we be able to be the loving role models that our children need. The change in our society must come from within each of us.

Birthday Party Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Goodie bags, scavenger hunts, charades, cake, balloons — these are memories that our children will have forever. To get started conceptualizing birthday party ideas, consider place, theme, food, activities and budget. The options are as limitless as the smiles on a successful party day!

Sometimes a fantastic kids birthday party revolves around a certain place. Memorable times will be had by all if you plan your celebration at: a roller rink or ice skating rink, a bowling alley, an indoor waterpark, the local park, a movie theatre, a restaurant (McDonalds, Major Magic, Chuckie Cheese), Toys R Us, laser tag, the science museum, a mini-golf / go-cart facility, a paintball place, a rock gym, the zoo, or at a medieval times theatre performance. These are just a few birthday party ideas your kids might love.

Another option is throwing a theme party at your own home. A great starting point for birthday party ideas is Coolest Kid Birthday Parties, where you can find instructions on making unique birthday invitations, find out where to buy partyware, a how-to-make-your-own-decorations guide for each theme, what icebreaker activities and games to plan, where to find costumes, what food to serve and what celebration favors to give out.

It’s really a one-stop shop for your celebration planning needs! Planning a kids birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. The only difficult choice is which theme to choose: pirate, superheroes, wild west, knights and princesses, detective, circus, safari, sports, mystery, dinosaurs, Hollywood, army, Hawaiian, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Shrek, American Idol, Transformers, dress up, magic, under the sea, Caribbean, barnyard or medieval?

The general rule of thumb is to pick the theme and then the food. For instance, you might want to make a pineapple cheesecake for a Hawaiian celebration, turkey legs for a pirate celebration, elephant-shaped “peanutbutter and jellyphant” sandwiches for a safari one, or buffalo wings and bronco burgers for a western theme.

If you want to skip the planning and go for cost-efficiency, BBQ hamburgers, subs or sheet pizza is an easy answer. While children generally aren’t too picky, remember that for adults, the food makes the celebration.

The hardest part of throwing a kids birthday party is planning activities. Organizing several games to break up the day and keep kids entertained is the key to a successful celebration. You may purchase a slip and slide water game or water balloons for fun summer birthday party ideas.

Bobbing for apples, relay races, pinatas, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, tag, magnetic fishing games, musical chairs, Twister and Charades are always classic games. If you want to be really creative and wow the celebration, a scavenger hunt can be a memorable experience.

Check Oriental Trading for some neat prizes and goodie bag ideas. You’ll want every child to win a prize, so that no one ends up crying or feeling bad. Your best bet are games where everyone participates, the kids remain active and everyone wins in the end.

For large budgets, select from original birthday party ideas such as: surf simulators, sumo suits, petting zoos, hypnotists, magicians, rock climbs or bounce houses.

For smaller budgets, a simple Slip N Slide, a game of Twister, charades or a treasure hunt can work wonders. Large budgets may require catering, while small budgets can make use of The Dollar Store partyware and sheet pizza.

A visit to Party City or The Dollar Store can also be a huge help. Whether your event consists of balloons, mimes and ponies or pirate decorations or just a cake and a treasure hunt, you aren’t alone in your search for birthday party ideas.

The internet has many sources for all-in-one event planning to make this day truly memorable!

Mildew and Mustard

Imagination is precious. As children we play with the box the toy came in, long after the toy has been discarded. As we grow older the education system grinds this imagination down, adding pressure to succeed and taking the fun out of being young. Release from this is sought through computer games, but these are the creation of other peoples imagination.

I had a conversation with a teacher recently, who was complaining because her rigid instructions on what to put on a Mothers Day card hadn’t been adhered to by one of her seven year old pupils. The little girl felt she’d somehow ‘got it wrong’, and ended up not giving the card to her mum because it wasn’t like all the rest.

Everyone’s imagination is vivid, but it can be shut down by adults who believe it’s their job to control instead of guide their charges.

With this in mind I asked a couple of children to give me the subject for ‘a story’. They looked at each other and gleefully decided on ‘fish guts.

Then they chose the names of their characters. “Mildew’ and Mustard” they said, and looked at me expectantly. “Don’t look at me” I said. “It’s your story.”

This is what we came up with.

“Mildew is the smelliest brother in the world” thought Mustard. “His feet smell, especially when he sticks them in my face. And he hasn’t had a bath since he started to walk!’

That was seven years ago.

Mildew sat in his room, counting his fish guts. He arranged them in smells. Smelly, very smelly, and drop dead smelly. He had plans for these guts, and kept them in a special ‘gut box’. It had a glass lid so he could keep a check on their progress.

His sister would go off like a fruit bat when she found them in the hood of her jacket.

It does seem mean, but Mildew reckoned his sister deserved it.

Mustard loved hot food. That’s why everyone called her Mustard. She put chili’s on her corn flakes, pepper on her ice-cream and mustard on everything else. It wouldn’t have bothered Mildew, except she put something red hot in HIS food when he wasn’t looking.

Last night Mildew had a drink of black currant juice. He swallowed twice before his tongue did something completely new. It exploded and blew a hole in the roof of his mouth.

Mildew found his voice, hiding in the fridge rubbing itself frantically against a packet of frozen peas.

“MUSTARD!” He screamed.

“Yes Mildew” smiled Mustard sweetly. “Oh, I quite forgot! I juiced a hundred of those nice little Mexican chili’s and poured them into your juice bottle. I hope you don’t mind.

She feigned horror. “You didn’t drink it did you Mildew?!”

“The hottest chili’s in the world” she shouted after him, “Mum! Mildews been drinking my chilli juice ….. Tell him not to!”

Mildew’s mouth was so hot his teeth rattled and his face was falling off. He looked at his ‘gut box’.

But fish guts were bad. After watching them mutate over 5 days he’d had second thoughts. Worms were wriggling, and the guts had turned a dizzy green. He held his breath and opened the lid, collapsing on the floor gasping like a fly hit by a litre of bugs spray.

“That would make a dung beetle throw up” he said to his pale green reflection in the mirror. “Perhaps I shouldn’t be so mean – she IS my sister”

Mildew thoughtfully squeezed a blob of toothpaste. He brushed his teeth hard, before noticing it tasted a bit funny. He didn’t have time to wonder how Mustard had managed to squeeze chili seeds into his tube of toothpaste. His mum found him downstairs with his tongue stuck to the inside of the freezer. His eyes were wild, cross-eyed and popping.

She pulled Mildew away from the freezer with a gentle ripping sound

“Oh dear” she said, “I hope that wasn’t your tongue Mildew.”

“Of Courth idth my tong” he shouted, leaping around looking for something heavy to hit Mustard with. “It’th my nuthy thithter, she’th twying to kwill me. “I’m goin’ du dwag her intho the garden by her pethky toe nails and pull her dorky legth off …. AND DON’ YOU TWY AND THTOP ME!!!!”

Mildew wasn’t worried anymore about putting fish guts into Mustard’s hood but, as he awoke the next morning and heard his mother scream he knew the day had gone horribly wrong. Slowly he opened the curtains and peered out of the rain splattered window… Why on earth was she wearing Mustards Jacket.

Children should be seen, heard and allowed to let their imaginations run riot. Their future depends on it.

The Absolute Importance of Play

When I look back at my childhood I can see all of the things that might have been considered exercise. We considered it play and had fun. There are so many benefits to this activity and it doesn’t stop at weight.

Physical Benefits: Riding a bike, roller skating and building tree forts are fun… and they take effort. Two of them are outdoor activities which can provide vitamin D and in some places, fresher air. Having a variety works different muscle groups, helping to keep them strong. They can also help with either gross or fine motor skills.

Mental: Until it becomes muscle memory these and many other types of play require planning. They need to be thought out. Not doing so can end up with a smashed finger, scraped knees and other unpleasant surprises, so the person doing them learns to pay attention.

Emotional: A child might not think about this, though it still works for them. Adults need to add it to their encouragement to go out and play. It relieves stress. It puts problems on the back burner and usually, at the end of the games, with a better idea of how to handle problems. It also releases the runner’s high hormones, making those who participated happier.

Age: By now you may be thinking this is great for the kids. It’ll help to get them active. Playing is not just for children. Everyone needs to play. Running on a treadmill is nowhere near is beneficial as running around the bases in a pickup game of softball with the neighbors. An exercise bike doesn’t bring near the exhilaration of riding a bicycle down a steep hill.

Having some time to play… do what you want… is imperative. Not only is it good for you it reminds children that playing isn’t just for that short time span.