GeekMom http://geekmom.com Smart. Savvy. Social. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Thanksgiving: Now With More Dinosaurs http://geekmom.com/2014/11/thanksgiving-dinosaurs/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/thanksgiving-dinosaurs/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156467 The first teaser of Jurassic World in anticipation of the highlight of Thanksgiving 2014—the full trailer.

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Image: www.facebook.com/JurassicPark

We attended the first of two Thanksgiving dinners this past weekend. Every year we have a separate Thanksmas with a group of friends, no family drama, no parade, just turkey, some games, and people who like the company of each other.

This year, a friend of a friend came, and thus the year of Stephen came upon us. Stephen has a mohawk, an honest to goodness mohawk with pink tips. None of this faux-hawk business. It is a thing of beauty, and my five-year-old was in love the moment Stephen crossed the threshold of Friendsgiving. So much so, that he instantly ran to get his two-year-old brother. My two-year-old son stood toe to toe with this seven foot tall (hair included) man, looked up at him, all the way up, with his mouth wide open. “Are you a real dinosaur?” he asked. Thus 2014 became the year of the Thanksgiving dinosaur.

Apparently Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Trevarrow agree with me. This year, the highlight of my Thanksgiving day will not be the parade, it will not be the green bean casserole, it will not even be The National Dog Show. This year I will patiently wait for the commercial breaks during the football game, in anticipation of the trailer premiere of Jurassic World.

I have yet to find the words to describe just how much I love the Jurassic Park franchise. The first movie is my go-to movie. I watch it when I’m sick, I watch it when I’m sad, I watch it when I need a pick-me-up. It is “that” movie to me. But I do not discriminate. I will dance with all three installments. Call me a Spielberg floozy, I care not. I have been waiting for Jurassic Park since before we knew of Midi-Chlorians, since Anna Paquin was simply an X-Woman, since Richard Dean Anderson was MacGuyver. I was waiting for this movie in utero.

That Laura Dern would only allow one scream in the entire movie. That Ariana Richards could reboot the park’s system by herself. That Jeff Goldlum, well, was Jeff Goldblum. This movie shaped my young thoughts about so many things. My life verse became, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” It was the first time a movie was everything I hoped it would be. It was the first time that an idea I held loosely in my mind was put on the big screen for me to see played out. The T-Rex and the kid in his bedroom from Lost World was lifted from one of my day dreams; I don’t know how Spielberg got it.

Here’s a twenty-second teaser. Join me in looping this until Thursday:

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The Classic Style of Marimekko: In Patterns http://geekmom.com/2014/11/marimekko-in-patterns/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/marimekko-in-patterns/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:00:52 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156395 Learn about decades of gorgeous design from Finnish company Marimekko.

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Image: Chronicle Books

Image: Chronicle Books

Marimekko is a textile design company based in Helsinki, Finland. Some of their designs, such as Unikko, are quite well known, but there are plenty of more obscure patterns as well. Earlier this year, Unikko celebrated 50 years of being awesome, and the company keeps churning out other inspirational designs.

Marimekko: In Patterns takes us on a behind-the-scenes journey through the process of a Marimekko pattern, start to finish. From sketches to fabric to pattern to color to the final quality check, their style is playful, colorful, and, often, simple. You may look at their patterns and think, “I could design that.” But I challenge you to try. Putting together colors and shapes in a way that will guide style and appeal to the people isn’t an easy task. Not every one of their patterns appeals to me, but that’s part of the beauty of the company: There seems to be something for everyone. Dark, light, colorful, monochromatic, modern, classic, organic, and geometric.

Image: Marimekko

The Unikko pattern. Image: Marimekko

The book also digs deeply into some of their classic patterns and their designers, and it profiles several of Marimekko’s designers individually in more depth. While there is plenty of reading to do in this book, it is mostly filled with the patterns and the art that goes into them. It also shares examples of how the designs are used, in clothes and home decor, and on regular bolts of fabric.

Finally, it goes through its history as a company, from design and fashion in the 1950s until the 2000s, and briefly touches on what they have in store for us in the future.

Marimekko: In Patterns retails for $35 but can be found much cheaper. I recommend it to anyone who has a love of classic style, organic and geometric shapes, or Finnish design. This book will inspire you in your next project, be it painting, sewing, photography, or any other creative pursuit.

GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.

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Boost Your Kids’ Brainpower With Brainzy [Giveaway!] http://geekmom.com/2014/11/brainzy-giveaway/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/brainzy-giveaway/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:00:33 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156158 Brainzy is a fun new educational web site for kids ages 3-7. Read our review and win a year subscription!

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Brainzy

All images © Education.com

Brainzy is a new subscription-based educational web site packed with games, videos, and activities for kids in pre-kindergarten through 1st grade. What makes Brainzy stand out from the online educational games crowd? A cast of unique characters plays happy host to kids ages 3-7 as they supplement their learning with engaging reading and math games in an easy-to-use interface.

My daughter is in half-day kindergarten, so we are always on the lookout for more ways to reinforce what she’s learning during her shorter time in school. Usually the overwhelming clutter of other educational web sites makes worthwhile activities hard to find. But once we signed up for Brainzy, she was immediately able to jump in and get started.

Brainzy

My five-year-old was immediately drawn to the one-of-a-kind characters. Not only are they creative—a police officer ice cream cone, for one—they are bright, colorful, and cheerful helpers in the site’s math and reading games.

The kindergarten games are just the right level of difficulty, although if we wanted to up the challenge, it would be simple to start on the first grade activities instead. The kindergarten read-alouds are narrated at a brisk pace that holds my daughter’s interest, followed up by helpful reading comprehension quizzes that show me if she really did pay attention to the video rather than zone out while it plays.

All in all, this is an excellent supplement to early elementary education, and at $3.99/month with unlimited play, it’s reasonably priced. With new activities added at no additional cost, and a large number of math and reading activities that keep her interested, Brainzy is a site we’ll be returning to regularly.

10 lucky GeekMom readers can win a year subscription thanks to Education.com! To enter our giveaway, just log in to the Rafflecopter widget below with your Facebook account or email address (use a valid email so we can let you know if you win). You can then like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up to two entries! If you already like/follow us it will still enter you in the giveaway.

Winners will be chosen at random at the end of the contest and notified by email. You must reply to our winner notification within two days, or the prize will be offered to another entrant. U.S. entries only. Contest ends November 30, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GeekMom received a one-month promotional code to Brainzy.com for review purposes.

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Stack Overflow: It’s the End of the World as We Know It… http://geekmom.com/2014/11/stack-overflow-end-world-know/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/stack-overflow-end-world-know/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 18:00:46 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156445 I've always been fond of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction for some odd reason. Here are several titles I've been reading lately that play with world-ending, evil robots, and more.

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Some say the world will end in fire, some say with sentient robots turning against their human masters. I’ve always been fond of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction for some odd reason. Here are several titles I’ve been reading lately that play with world-ending, evil robots, and more.

Robot Uprisings cover

Robot Uprisings

If you haven’t already been reading Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse series, get thee to a bookstore or library and get started! It’s a great, action-packed series (written by a roboticist, no less!). Wilson and John Joseph Adams edited this anthology of short stories all about intelligent machines, smart houses, and other things that can become self-aware and make your life miserable. Robot Uprisings has seventeen stories from some fantastic authors. (Just to be safe, better opt for the dead-tree version.)

Apocalypse Triptych

The Apocalypse Triptych

John Joseph Adams teamed up with best-selling author Hugh Howey to edit the Apocalypse Triptych, three anthologies filled with stories about the end of the world. The first, The End Is Nigh, is all about the impending disasters: ecological, technological, psychological, you name it. Book Two, The End Is Now, focuses on stories during the apocalypse. And, of course, the triptych wraps up with The End Has Come (due out in March 2015—assuming the world is still standing), which will be filled with post-apocalyptic tales.

Read the rest of the titles at GeekDad…

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GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Movies http://geekmom.com/2014/11/geekmoms-2014-gift-guide-of-movies/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/geekmoms-2014-gift-guide-of-movies/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:50:08 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=155879 GeekMom recommends a variety of DVD and Blu-rays for the geek on your holiday list.

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movies

Collage: Cathe Post

It’s cold outside! You need a nice geeky feature to curl up in front of and keep warm! You know you do. We have animé, live-action, super hero, science, and a peppering of BBC. Find a little something for yourself or for a certain geek on your list.

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Image: Amazon

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season Adventure Time fans will really enjoy this DVD, which features our friend BMO on the box. While we all know how fun the episodes themselves are, true fans will also enjoy the DVD extras, such as the Lego introduction, interviews with show creator Pendleton Ward, as well as the concurrent commentary tracks, giving fans backstories and inspirations behind the episodes. $24.96

Batman

Image: Amazon

Batman: Season 1-3 Blu-ray POW! BANG! BOOM! Looking for a nostalgic way to introduce a mini-geek to Batman but don’t want to break out the Arkham Asylum just yet? How about the bright colors and terrible puns from the original? $174.99

Cosmos-premiere

Image: © Fox

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey If you missed this show’s original 13-episode run on Fox, a little binge-watching is in order. Designed as a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s 1980s series, this incarnation has a similar format to its processor—but with way better production values and the backing of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the stunning 4-disc set is a feast for the senses, covering interesting and entertaining topics that will delight the entire family. Just a few of those topics include the “Cosmic Calendar,” evolution, oceans, the Earth, atoms, and even Sagan himself. $29.99

cowboybebop

Image: Amazon

Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series Nice to see you again, Cowboy! Due out in mid-December, the remastered Blu-ray version of the popular animé series promises to be even more beautiful than standard definition. Three, two, one, let’s jam… $49.99

Image: DisneyNature

Image: DisneyNature

DisneyNature’s Bears DisneyNature’s Bears is a touching account of the year-long journey of a bear family in Alaska. GeekMom Patricia’s sons know and love the film’s narrator John C. Reilly from Wreck It Ralph; his flavor of humor in the narration is right up their alleys. He instills incredible personality into the film, and his storytelling makes this my favorite DisneyNature film to date! You don’t want to miss this amazing cinematography, either! $23.44

gamers

Image: Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

The Gamers: Hands of Fate After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dead Gentlemen Productions produced this gem. Straying from their normal RPG roots, this Trading-Card-Game-rooted story has the best production value to date for the group. If you aren’t familiar with the nerdy production company, go back to the beginning of the company’s offerings; start with The Gamers and check out their YouTube series JourneyQuest. $20

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Image: Shop Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy The blockbuster hit from this year is available for pre-order and will be released mid-December. This entertaining game of keep-away is a perfect geek gift. $19.99

Image: Shout Factory.

Image: Shout Factory

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Take a trip down memory lane and introduce the kids to the magic (and chaos) of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. All five seasons are in this box set, with Pee-Wee Herman and his friends Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne, Reba the Mail Lady, and Captain Carl embarking on all sorts of adventures. Included with the 45 episodes is over four hours of interviews with the show’s writers, actors, musicians, and set designers. Kids will love the episodes while the adults will love the stories behind the chaos. $96.99

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Image: Viz Media

Sailor Moon: Season 1 Part 1 23 episodes of the original, newly re-dubbed Sailor Moon anime are collected in this Blu-ray set (also available on DVD). Fans of Sailor Moon will be delighted to own this new set, which features both subbed and dubbed episodes without alterations to the story or characters from the original Japanese series. $79.98

sherlock gift set

Image: BBC Shop

Sherlock Limited Edition Gift Set A reason to purchase all three complete seasons of BBC’s Sherlock again, with every episode available in both DVD and Blu-ray format, several hours of extra content (including behind-the-scenes interviews), original character art work, and nifty little busts of Sherlock and John. $136.29

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Celebrate Finn the Human with the Latest Adventure Time DVD http://geekmom.com/2014/11/adventure-time-finn-the-human-dvd/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/adventure-time-finn-the-human-dvd/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:45:37 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156387 Just in time for the holidays, Adventure Time: Finn the Human brings nearly 3-hours of Finn fun!

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Adventure Time: Finn the Human, featuring 16 episodes featuring Finn, comes out on DVD on November 25th! Image credit: Turner Entertainment.

Just in time for the holidays, Adventure Time fans can enjoy the latest DVD collection from Cartoon Network: Adventure Time: Finn the Human. This collection, like their others, includes a free gift. This time, it’s a drawstring version of Finn’s backpack.

This collection of episodes span six seasons of the Emmy-award nominated series, all of which delve deeply into Finn’s psyche and backstory. If you own the complete seasons of the series (seasons 1-4 are out now), then you might find a compilation such as this an extraneous investment. But if themed-compilations are preferable, this one is a lot of fun.

One of my favorite episodes in this collection is “We Fixed a Truck” which features the voice and music of the great Weird Al Yankovic, playing a character named Bananaman, a lonely, geeky neighbor who craves companionship. Bananaman shows up in one other episode–also on this DVD collection, but in “We Fixed a Truck” you can hear the adorable song “Hanging Out Forever”, to which Weird Al brings a special comedic compassion.

As for the backpack, I think a true fan will take exception to it being square instead of round, and it’s really nothing more than a standard drawstring backpack. The fabric seems fragile, and the ends of the drawstring cords have already started fraying (a quick pass of a lighter will take care of that.) If you enjoy a simple Finn cosplay, it will make a great accessory, as long as you’re okay with it not being round. My son noticed right away that it was a rectangle. Since he requested one for his last birthday party earlier this year, I made a round one out of flannel.

There are no bonus features on this DVD; it’s just the sixteen 10-12 minute episodes. But don’t worry, it provides nearly three hours of viewing. DVDs in this form are popular with my sons for road trips, so they don’t get significantly invested in a story just in case we turn off the car, as they might with longer movies.

Despite the lack of bonus features, I think this DVD collection will make a great gift for your Adventure Time fans. Adventure Time: Finn the Human, is available starting November 25, 2014, will retail for $24.98, and will be available at major electronics and media retailers, such as at Amazon.

GeekMom received a copy of this DVD for review purposes.

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The Role of the Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robot in Artificial Intelligence Research http://geekmom.com/2014/11/ev3-openworm/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/ev3-openworm/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:30:45 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156337 The Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot isn't just a useful tool for teaching children about robotics. Read about how scientists are using it to explore artificial intelligence using the nematode worm connectome.

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Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot. Image: Maryann Goldman

Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot. Image: Maryann Goldman

As a First Lego League (FLL) coach, Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot enthusiast, and overall Lego brick fan, I read a lot of Lego-related books and articles. This week, I stumbled upon a fascinating article on the I Programmer website talking about the EV3 and artificial intelligence (AI). In the article, writer Lucy Black describes how scientists have connected the brain of a worm to the sensors and motors of an EV3 robot using a computer program. The scientists started by mapping the 302 neurons of the nematode worm. Then using that information, Timothy Busbice of the OpenWorm project implemented an object oriented neuron program.

The research didn’t stop there. Scientists connected the neuron program to the EV3 so that the EV3 sonar sensor became the worm’s nose, and the EV3 motors controlling the wheels became the worm’s muscles. The EV3 touch sensor was also used to detect obstacles going forward and backward. The scientists were then able to observe normal worm behaviors such as the robot moving toward food or backing up when coming into contact with an an obstacle like a wall. I thought the whole process sounded complicated and incredible at the same time!

What I liked most about this article and the research is that it makes science, math, and programming real. That is, I can go back to the kids on my FLL team and show them a real-life use of the EV3 which will help me drive home how important the effort they are making to learn how to program the EV3 is. I now have a real world example where science meets math and programming. I think interesting research like this has the potential to capture the imagination and trigger the innovation of our youth. I know some people will read the article and want to debate the likelihood of true artificial intelligence or even the merits of doing artificial intelligence research, and that’s fine too.

For more detail, please read the full article. Besides a more detailed explanation, the article contains a video of the EV3 in action.

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Billy Boyd Bids the Middle Earth Saga A Last Goodbye http://geekmom.com/2014/11/billy-boyd-last-goodbye/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/billy-boyd-last-goodbye/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 22:29:52 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156391 Have your tissue handy when you hear the fond farewell to The Hobbit Trilogy.

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Image from "The Last Goodbye," copyright WaterTower Musi

Billy Boyd performs “The Last Goodbye,” a beautiful farewell to The Hobbit trilogy. Screen capture from the official video; copyright WaterTower Music.

I still get misty eyes and goosebumps when I hear Pippin’s mournful and stunning a cappella song from The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King, when he is forced to entertain the embittered Steward of Gondor, Denethor. Pippin’s passionate and desperate delivery is the nail in the emotional coffin, while witnessing army of Gondor’s soldiers, led by Denethor’s youngest son, Faramir, gallop into a futile and fatal battle.

Now, with the final movie in The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, less than a month away, director Peter Jackson has upped the emotional ante by asking Pippin portrayer, singer, and actor Billy Boyd to co-write and perform the trilogy’s closing song, “The Last Goodbye.”

The song’s video features Boyd’s performance, along with snippets of all six of Jackson’s Tolkien-based films, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the cast as they wrap up their time together in Middle Earth.

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Screen capture from Beecake’s “Please Stay.”

Boyd, a native of Glasgow, also fronts his own alternative rock band, Beecake, which has had notable singles “Please Stay” and “The Clown.” The band’s honors have included being awarded Best Live Act at Visit Scotland’s Tartan Clef Music Awards, which raises money for Scotland’s Nordiff Robbins Music Therapy charity. The charity uses music to better the lives of both children and adults who have been isolated by disability, trauma, or illness.

Boyd said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that being able to close this journey was “truly a great, great honor.”

With this video being made available just in time for Thanksgiving, it is also an overwhelming honor for all of us as well.

Thank you, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Jackson, for giving us such a stunning and heartwarming way to say goodbye to your final Middle Earth visit.

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The Not-Too-Guilty Pleasure of Underoos for Grown-Ups http://geekmom.com/2014/11/underoos-for-grown-ups/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/underoos-for-grown-ups/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:30:32 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156326 Thanks to a limited-edition release on junior- and adult-size officially-licensed Underoos, I might finally be able to purchase my own set.

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Adult and junior size Underoos. Ready or not, here they come! Images: Hot Topic.

Adult-sizes Underoos; ready or not, here they come! Images: Hot Topic.

After a week of seeking gushy, squeely, and just plain giddy announcements about the recent availability of Fruit of the Loom’s limited edition Underoos at Hot Topic—in adult sizes—I needed to see if the hype was worth it.

I was getting a little too old for the original Underoos craze when it really begin to boom in the early 1980s, so I never had the honor of wearing them. I do remember the ads well. A proud, and almost inappropriately clad, group of boys and girls traipsed around in their underwear making super hero muscle poses. Was this really the exhibitionist public behavior parents approved of from their kids? Apparently so, because these puppies sold like crazy for several years.

Now, they are back, but not only for kids. For the guys, the sets come in men’s small through extra large. The women’s run the same range, but in junior sizes, so women should go up from their regular size when purchasing a set.

Really, I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I mean, superhero undergarments for grown-ups are nothing new. It’s not hard to find boxer briefs, bras, t-shirts, granny panties, and seductive lingerie bearing the logo of a Marvel or DC hero. I’m not too proud to admit I often go out with the Bat symbol hidden under my clothes. Heck, even comic and sci-fi convention darling John Barrowman (AKA Capt. Jack Harkness) has dropped his drawers to show off his extensive superhero undies collection at numerous appearances.

Why are these sets causing such a stir, with so many geeky undergarment options already out there?

Honestly, I wouldn’t have been so keyed on getting a set if it weren’t for the addition of Harley Quinn, a character who didn’t even exist when the original line was released. The set is packaged in the same retro packs, making it appear as if she had been around all along.

When you have to cover four butts of varying sizes living under one roof, it’s most frugal to buy knickers in five packs, so I did find these Underoos to be a little pricey for a single set. Hot Topic’s full price ran around $24.50 for a set, while some sets are available on Amazon for $24.50 to $29.90. However, you are paying for the tee or tank in the Underoos along with briefs, and I could easily find myself wearing the Harley Quinn tank as casual outer wear.

The fashion craze that encouraged kids to run around in their underwear, are now urging grown-ups to do the same. Vintage ads found on Pinterest.

The fashion craze that encouraged kids to run around in their underwear, are now urging grown-ups to do the same. Vintage ads found on Pinterest.

For the most part, the women’s sets look better than the men’s. The Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Harley sets for women are all pretty stylish, comfortable-looking, and not too suggestive. The men’s “old school” Batman and Superman sets look good, too. I can see most men happily wearing either of these t-shirts. The Captain America set isn’t too bad, either, but Masters of the Universe, in my opinion, are just downright dorky-looking. Sorry guys, the fake He-Man and Skeletor chests just don’t work.

I went ahead and ordered myself a set of the Harley Quinn, and it was nice to find some Harley items that were going for sporty rather than titillating. Plus, it was kind of an awkwardly fun feeling buying myself my first pair of official Underoos when my own daughter is on the verge of being a teenager.

I would speculate that for most adults this really isn’t about the images on the underwear itself. It’s about girding one’s loins with a nostalgic piece of their own childhood. We may be pounding a keyboard, leading a quarterly profits meeting, or teaching world geography on the outside, but inside, we’re young and irresponsible! We’re silly and active. We’re anything we want to be. We’re superheroes!

Well, in my case, a perky, yet maniacally insane, supervillain.

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Teaching Patience to the On-Demand Generation http://geekmom.com/2014/11/teaching-patience/ http://geekmom.com/2014/11/teaching-patience/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://geekmom.com/?p=156275 Will patience be a lost skill in our kids' on-demand lives?

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Photo: Kelly Knox

Photo: Kelly Knox

My five-year-old is part of what I like to think of as the on-demand generation. Thanks to the wealth of truly amazing technology and innovations like Amazon, Netflix, and even YouTube, if there’s something she wants to watch, play, or buy, she can do so almost instantly—or have it delivered two days later.

Most TV shows can be blown through in a matter of days rather than waiting a week between episodes; if she has a question about life, the universe, and everything, she can grab my iPhone and ask Siri for an immediate answer.

We are lucky enough to be able to afford those services for her, and it is admittedly a “first world problem” that I’ve had a hand in creating. I’m the one who signed up for Netflix streaming, after all. But I can’t help but wonder if such easy access will make it difficult later in life when she does have to wait to get what she wants. Will patience be a lost skill in our on-demand lives? To make sure it isn’t, we practice a few simple ways to learn that not all gratification has to be instant.

Save Up

Ah, the allowance, a time-honored tradition of telling kids, “If you want something, save up and pay for it yourself.”

This is a pretty standard answer to forcing kids to be patient until they have enough money to buy something themselves. This doesn’t have to just apply to a toy they spotted in the store, but can also extend to that movie on iTunes or game in the App Store that they really want.

Spend Time on Activities That Take Time

Putting down the screens to do activities together is always a good idea, but picking things to do that require some patience is another practical way to practice. Baking together, putting together puzzles, or even playing a game like chess are all fun things to do together. If you live in the right area for it, planting a garden or even just a potted plant is a perfect way to learn that not all gratification has to be instant as well.

What I love to do most, though, are science experiments that take some time to see the results. Here are a few phenomenal suggestions for experiments that will hold even young kids’ interest while they take time to run:

Overnight Crystal Garden from BabbleDabbleDo

Color Changing Carnations from Steve Spangler Science

Walking Water (Capillary Action) from Coffee Cups and Crayons

Take a Look, It’s in a Book

The next time your young child has a question about the world around us, don’t just turn to Siri or Google for the answer! While it’s easy to use the Internet and simply search for the answer, taking the time to find a book and flip through it for the right information is another good way to learn patience. Not only is it an excuse to spend time in the library or read the book together (for younger kids), kids are likely to find even more fascinating facts just by flipping through the pages.

I highly recommend keeping some reference books on the bookshelf for just such occasions. DK Publishing offers some great books like First Animal Encyclopedia, which I reached for the other day when my daughter asked me what a shrew is.

Write a Pen Pal

Penning a handwritten letter to faraway friends and family is on its way to being another lost art. Taking the time to mail a letter and wait for a reply can be even more gratifying than sending a text or email. What kid doesn’t love getting mail?

Your child can pick their cousin or relative in another city or state to write to, or you could reach out to your friends on Facebook to ask if any of their kids are interested in exchanging letters. You can also use a pen pal matching web site to sign up your child and find a friend, but remember to exercise caution on these sites before handing out personal information. (A P.O. box is one way to safeguard your address.) Kids 13 years and up can sign up at the wonderfully active and helpful International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club.

And finally, limiting screen time is an obvious solution to leaving my five-year-old to her own devices (no pun intended, wait, yes it was) to entertain herself without instant gratification. It’s okay to be bored!

Do you have any ways you help your kids learn to be patient? Let us know in the comments below!

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