Butler County Times Gazette
  • Family Time: Gadgets and great outdoors can co-exist

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  • Tip of the Week
    Advancements in technology over the last decade have children spending more time with gadgets and gizmos and less time enjoying the great outdoors. In fact, kids are now indoors up to 10 hours a day, according to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. But kids’ increasing use of technology and opportunities to appreciate Mother Nature do not have to be mutually exclusive.
    A new National Wildlife Federation report shows that kids’ media habits can both positively and negatively impact health, and provides real-world advice to help parents serve as positive role models and teach children to use technology in moderation.
    “Kids need to be outside all year long, especially in the winter when days are short and we’re all a little more cooped up than usual,” said Maureen Smith, chief marketing officer for National Wildlife Federation. “In addition to developing a deeper appreciation for the outdoors and the wildlife around them no matter where they live, it helps them burn off energy, stay fit, and be mentally focused for school, homework and all activities in their busy day.”
    NWF’s report offers families these ideas for combining technology with the outdoors:
    1. Rely on technology to plan or inspire outdoor adventures. This can include anything - from finding great nearby hiking trails to interactive, outdoor treasure hunts.
    2. Keep a record of outdoor experiences with the help of electronic photos, videos or an electronic journal. They’ll love the ability to share their experiences with family and friends.
    3. When safe and practical, take hand-held devices outdoors to combine the best of both worlds (just remember to plan for some fully unplugged time outside, too).
    4. Use tools such as Ubooly, an app-based learning toy that can turn a walk in the park into an interactive experience with activities such as scavenger hunts, nature hikes, mindfulness games and plenty of exercise.
    - Family Features/National Wildlife Federation
    Family Movie Night
    “Winter’s Tale”
    Rated: PG-13
    Length: 118 minutes
    Synopsis: A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her. This is based on the novel by the same name.
    Violence/scary rating: 4
    Sexual-content rating: 3.5
    Profanity rating: 2
    Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
    Family Time rating: 3.5. This is a solid PG-13.
    (Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
    Book Report
    “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy,” by Karen Foxlee
    Ages: 8-12
    Pages: 240
    Synopsis: A luminous retelling of the Snow Queen, this is the story of unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, who doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help. As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world. A story within a story, this a modern day fairy tale about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up. - Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Page 2 of 2 - Did You Know
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that although children are getting less caffeine from soda these days, they are getting more overall because of energy drinks, coffee and the like.
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