Feminism for Children

For my much of my daughter’s life it has never occurred to her that she isn’t able to do things that boys can do, or that boys shouldn’t do things that girls do. As with a lot of parents, we made a conscious effort to avoid buying her gender specific toys, books and clothes from a very young age. Of course there are times that she gravitates towards more traditional items that are marketed towards girls and that is fine, because she also loves lots of things that are marketed towards boys as well. Lately she has become much more conscious of gender stereotyping, and my heart swells when she notices sexism and points it out with disgust.

While I’m always looking for strong female role models for my daughter, I sometime forget that it is equally important to seek out material for my son that shows men and woman, or boys and girls, as equals who don’t need to be limited by behaviours and activities. The heart of feminism, (to me anyway) is tolerance, equality and treating everyone with respect, and what better place to start than with children.

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Talk about female role models with your kids.  In world that makes icons of people like Kim Kardasian, it’s easy to get depressed about the lack of attention that is given to truly interesting and accomplished woman. These days there are so many great women role models around for young boys and girls, not only current figures but a long list of historical figures that you can introduce your children to. When you hear about inspiring woman and girls, talk to your children about them; let them see what woman are capable of doing. Here is a small sample of some of my favorite current female role models for kids.

  • Malala Yousafzai is an incredible young woman who your kids should know about. Malala is a girl’s education activist and her story is extremely inspiring for anyone. After being shot in the head by the Taliban at age 14 and surviving, she continues to fight for the right for girl’s access to education. She recently won the Nobel Peace Prize; if you want to learn more about her story her biography is a great read.
  • Emma Watson not only plays a feminist role model for girls as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, she recently gave an amazing speech at the UN on ending gender inequality that your kids should watch.
  • Tavi Gevinson is another young woman who I think is a fantastic role model for young girls. She started getting a lot of public attention at the age of 12 for a fashion blog that she ran. Currently she runs Rookie, a very empowering and smart website for teen girls.
  • If you have a daughter (or son) who loves engineering and space you should know about  Natalie Panek. She is a rocket scientist, explorer, and advocate for women in technology. I heard her speak at We Day Toronto 2014 and she would make a great role model for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in space exploration.

You can find lists all over the web of top women politicians, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, scientists, writers, inventors, etc. If your child has a particular area of interest, find women in that field and talk to your kids about their achievements just as you would famous male figures.


Read books to boy and girls with strong female and characters.
When you are choosing books for your very young children to read, be careful with the types of books you are selecting. Books are a large part of how children learn how to figure out the world, especially when they are very small. Choose a wide variety of books; avoid books that stick with gender stereotypes and embrace books with strong female characters. Look for stories with characters who take on all types of behavior and activities regardless of gender.

In my experience most modern books are (for the most part) very gender neutral (or maybe I just gravitate towards books that don’t follow the gender roles). There is actually a big market for empowered girl’s books, especially in the last few years. Here are a few popular ones to check out:

Challenge kids when they repeat stereotypical ideas about gender norms. Even if you are the most careful parent when it comes to trying not to define gender roles to your kids, they will still pick up on what society believes is a woman’s role or a man’s role, it’s impossible to avoid. Your kids will be heavily influenced by children at school, the media, family and friends, so when you notice your child is limiting the types of roles that either sex can be through discussion or play talk, challenge the idea of what is accepted.

Discuss sexualized image of women. It’s pretty hard to avoid sexualized images of women, all you need to do is turn on your TV, computer, open a magazine, watch a music video or even just walking down the street you will see billboards with hyper sexualized images. Your kids are seeing what you are seeing, and even if your first instinct is to ignore it or not draw attention to it, it’s much better to discuss your thoughts about what you are seeing with your child. It helps them to process what the image showing and sort out their own ideas. The sexualisation of women (and men to a lesser degree) is a part of the culture that we live in, and it is important to keep an open dialogue with your kids and give them tools to interpret what they are looking at.

Show kids that there is room for both females and males to be equally smart. This sounds like a weird thing to say, but there are studies showing that as girls get older, they feel the need to ‘play dumb’ in order to please boys. According the author of one study, Dr. Maria do Mar Pereira from the University of Warwick, “Girls feel they must downplay their own abilities, pretending to be less intelligent than they actually are, not speaking out against harassment, and withdrawing from hobbies, sports and activities that might seem ‘unfeminine’.”

Obviously this is a huge issue to overcome, but start by reinforcing the idea that being smart is cool for both genders. Boys need to be taught that they don’t need to feel threated by intelligent females and girls need to have examples of smart women who aren’t afraid to show their intelligence. Amy Poehler has a great website and web series called Smart Girls that offers music, advice, info about other cultures, and lots of other interesting things.

Think about gender stereotypes when you are buying toys. Try to resist toys that are traditional toys for a particular gender. Sometime the lure of princesses or pink is too much for some kids, but it’s not something parents necessarily need to encourage. Living in a house with a boy and a girl, we have a wide variety of toys to choose from and when left to their own devices kids really don’t care if the toy is for a girl or a boy, it’s either a good toy or a crappy toy. It is the toy marketers who are pushing the stereotypes onto kids. If you are curious about what message you are sending to your kids through their toys, check out the Pink Stinks and Let Toys Be Toys campaigns.

Think about messages you are sending to boys. If there is ever going to be true equality, everyone has to be involved, it’s great to empower girls, but boys also need to be shown different ways to express their masculinity and that it is okay for them to let everyone be equal. This is just as important as empowering girls. If boys are shown that it is okay to have feelings, be emotional and loving they will be able to form happy and healthy relationships with women. There is still a long way to go to before women all over the world overcome the current wage-gap, access to education and abuses against women issues that plague society.

Model feminist behaviour. Kids are always watching what their parents are doing. They watch how you interact with people, and they see how you treat yourself. They pay attention to your work and what you do in the house. Children also listen to your ideas and take them on as their own. So you need to show your children through your own example what it means to not be limited by your gender.

I think there are lots wonderful and smart feminists girls and boys who want everyone to be treated equally and who don’t feel limited by pressures from society. These are the future leader who will truly make the world a much more humane place to live, and it is important for parents to recognize this and encourage a society that treats everyone equally.

Tennis Basics for Children – The Parents Guide

Tennis can be a kind of a hard game for a small child to learn. But it is awfully fun and worth spending a bit of time trying to teach your kids how to play, even if they don’t become the next tennis superstar at least you will always have a new partner to play with if you are looking for a game.

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Tennis is perfect for kids because it is fast paced, so they don’t get bored and it also helps children develop speed and strength. Another benefit is that tennis is a very good sport for cardiovascular health and hand eye coordination.

When starting to teach kids tennis you need to remember to keep it fun and simple. In recent years equipment and products (smaller rackets, tennis balls that don’t bounce as high as regular tennis balls) have been developed that are specifically made for small kids that helps make the game much more enjoyable to play. There are even kits that you can buy that let you easily modify the size of a tennis court so children don’t get tired and frustrated from running around a huge court.

When to Start

You may be wondering when you should start trying to teach your child how to play tennis. A lot depends on the child, if they have shown an interest, you can get rackets and balls that is tailored for kids 4 and under. If you are looking for lessons it is possible to find people willing to give lessons to children as young as four or five years. If you are going to start this young make sure you get a good child sized racket and some of high density balls that will help avoid frustration.

Equipment

Luckily for parents there are some really amazing products for kids less than 10 years old to help them learn to play tennis that are tailored for their size and age. It may be tempting to pull out an old adult sized racket from your garage for your kids to practice with, but keep in mind that a larger racket may be a bit too big for a small child to handle without getting frustrated. A smaller model will help kids feel more comfortable.
Another cool innovation in the tennis world is the foam or the low-compression felt tennis balls. What is cool about these balls is that some of them are 15% bigger than regular tennis balls making it easier for kids to hit. They also rebound slower (some 75% slower) when they hit the racket and they don’t bounce as high so they are perfect for beginners and children. There is huge range of balls for kids depending on their age and ability so you might have to hunt around to find one that is right.

When you feel like your child is ready to use a net you should also consider playing within a smaller area than a typical tennis court. If you are playing with an older child you can use half a court. If you are playing with a really small child you can get a portable mini tennis net which allows you to set up and play within a small area so your kids won’t tire themselves out chasing the ball around a full court and they will be able to focus on building up their skills.

Getting Started

Since it is very difficult to teach a child something they aren’t that interested in it is best to introduce the game of tennis slowly and show them how fun it can be by doing some simple activities that will get them familiar with the racket, the ball, movement and balance.

Before you even hit the court find a yard or a park and just play around with the ball and the racket. A couple of simple things to do:

  • Throw the ball to your child and have them try to hit it back to you
  • Have your kids try bouncing a ball on the ground and then catching it
  • See if they can walk along a line with the ball on their tennis rackets
  • You can try hitting the ball back and forth with your kids with no net, you don’t need to worry if the ball bounces more than one time before they hit it.
  • Have your kids hit a ball against a wall.
  • You can show them that in tennis you move around the court so you can have them practice moving in different directions holding the racket (side to side, backwards and forwards, etc.)
  • Keep your session or practice short, no more than half an hour for kids ages 4 to 7. If they don’t seem to be having fun, stop and try again another day. The goal is to get them to want to do it again.

Etiquette and Sportsmanship

When you are ready to move onto a court you will want to go over some of the basic etiquette to follow especially if there are other players on the court. Depending on their age and where you are playing you don’t need to go into too much detail and overwhelm your kids. Talk to them about some of the basic concepts and as they progress you can add more into the mix. This is what they need to know:

  • If you are playing on a court where other people are waiting the general rule is that you should give up the court if you have been there an hour.
  • Let them know that it isn’t generally a good idea to be yelling or making loud noises on the court.
  • You can teach them good sportsmanship by saying “Good match” at the end of the game regardless of who wins.
  • If another player’s ball comes into your court you can stop playing and get the ball.

 

Simple Rules and Concepts

At this point you can start explaining some of the rules and the object of the game.

  • The object of the game to get the ball over the net before it bounces.
  • To start the game you hit the ball to the person you are playing against.
  • The first shot of each game is called a serve.
  • The person you are play with will hit the ball to you and you have to hit the ball before it bounces twice.
  • Hitting the ball back and forth is called a rally.
  • You will score a point when the person you are playing against misses the ball.
  • The person you are playing against scores a point when you hit the ball into the net.
  • It takes four points to win a tennis game. Although don’t keep score at first, when they start to get the hang of it you can use a simple scoring system

The Fundamental Skills

Once kids are starting to get more comfortable with the equipment they will be ready to learn a few basic tennis techniques.  This is the time to teach them the difference between different types of shots, how to serve the ball and begin to get a little bit more in depth about the rules of the game.  In order not to confuse your kids here are a couple of simple things you can start with:

How to Hold the Racket

Before kids get too set in their ways you are going to want to try to have them get their grip right.  This video isn’t the best quality, but it has some good tips on how to get your child to learn the proper tennis grip:

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Forehand

If your kids are able to hit the ball you can begin to add a bit of technique to what they are able to do. To take a forehand shot your kids should face sideways, hold the racquet in their dominant hand then swing it forward at waist level to make contact with the ball.  Here is a helpful video that will show you how to do this.

Rally

A tennis rally happens when player are able to hit the ball back and forth, usually after the ball bounces. Getting a good rally going is one the most fun parts of the game. We have found this great video by Quickstart Tennis on how to build up to a good rally with kids:

How to Serve

It might seem a little ambitious to try to teach a small child how to serve the ball, but since it is such a huge part of the game it is never too early to introduce it as an important skill for kids. This is great short video with good tips on how to get small kids used to the idea of serving the ball.

 

If you have any tips for teaching kids tennis then please let us know in the comments below.

Greek Mythology – The Wild and Wonderful World of the Greeks for Kids

Greek Mythology is pretty great. It is entertaining, educational and the myths are full of some awfully bizarre stuff that your kids will absolutely love.  I don’t know exactly why children love Greek myths,  maybe it has something to do with kids trying to make sense of the world just as like the Greeks were, or maybe it is just good story telling. There is no denying that before scientific explanations gave us the answers to so much, the Greeks came up with some pretty awesome explanations for the unexplainable.

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Why does it get cold for 4 months of the year? It gets cold because Hades kidnapped Persephone the beloved daughter of Demeter the Goddess of the Harvests and took her to the underworld. Demeter was so upset that everything stopped growing. Demeter eventually got Persephone back, but part of the deal she made with Hades was that Persephone had to go back to the underworld for four months a year and every year Demeter grieves for those four months. Thus, that is why we have winter.

How did the Greeks explain lightening? That is just Zeus getting angry and throwing his thunder bolts around.

Why is there sometime dew in the morning?  Its Eos the Goddess of Dawn tears.

Although there are plenty of beautiful stories in the myths, a lot of the characters in Greek myology are pretty terrible and they do outrageous things. With all the patricide, infanticide, matricide, torture, killing, revenge cannibalism and lots of other awful behaviour you might be wondering how to teach your kids about the myths in a kid friendly sort of way. We can show you where to start since we have some great books and websites that they will love.

Books

There is a fantastic selection of really good Greek mythology books that are written for kids. If you are just starting out, the book to get is the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.  Everyone loves this book (including me and my 6 year old son). This book is awesome. It was written in 1962 by the husband and wife team of Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire and it is considered a classic. With its quirky and beautiful illustrations and matter of fact telling of the myths, it is perfect for children. Some of the language is a bit advanced for younger kids and you might have to stop to clarify what is going on in a particular myth, but this is great choice to help kids learn about Greek mythology. You can most likely get this book at your local library. If you are looking for a starter book, this is the one to get.

The series that has launched millions of kids into the world of Greek mythology is, of course, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It is for slightly older kids (the recommended age range is 8 to 12), but if you have an avid reader you could probably go a little younger. This series was written by a former middle school teacher, who mixes ancient mythology with modern adventure and it is unbelievably popular. If you are looking for a sure thing to get your kids reading and learning about Greek mythology, this is it.

Another author who does a great job making Greek Mythology appealing for modern kids is Joan Holub. She writes the very popular Goddess Girls series and well as the Heroes in Training series. These books are for a younger crowd who might not be quite ready for Percy Jackson. They are easy readers and for kids ages 6 to 10. Goddess Girls deals with the idea of what Greek goddesses would have been like at middle school so lots of drama ensues. While Heroes in Training is about what the Gods would have been like as 10 year olds.

Mythology The Gods, Heroes, and Monsters of Ancient Greece (Ologies) is part of the beautiful and very popular Ology series.  This book is a little hard to explain, but basically it is a 19th century textbook that was written but the fictional author Lady Hestia. The textbook has been taken along to Greece by Lady Hestia’s friend, the fictional John Oro, who writes notes in the book chronicling his own journey through Greece looking for treasures. This book is jam packed with beautiful illustrations, cool treasures (including a feather pen!) and lots of information about the Greek myths.

As a bit of a Ken Jennings fan, I have to recommend his Greek Mythology book for kids. This one is for ‘brainy’ kids who want to learn about the wonderful and wacky world of the gods. It is written in a fun and witty way your kids will enjoy reading, and it has lots of illustrations, trivia, and quizzes to keep your kids entertained.

Mythology Websites

Since the myths can be a bit confusing and hard to remember, you may want to help reinforce what you kids are learning through online games or websites. Here are a few to have a look at:

  • Meet the Greek Gods on Rick Riordan’s website. If you have a Percy Jackson fan in the house check out the author’s website with lots of great information on the gods
  • Ancient Greece Jeopardy has a simple quiz in the form of a Jeopardy board that kids who already know quite a bit about Greek mythology will find a lot of fun.
  • Winged Sandals Games has a few basic games with a Greek myth type theme.

Online Videos

Another easy way to help kids learn about the myths could be through Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend. It is a TV series that is a little cheesy, but actually quite good as far as explaining some of the myths. You can watch the episodes for free on YouTube. It’s an older show made in 1998 that ran for two seasons and it pretty much covers all your kids need to know about the Greek gods.

Another option is a short Greek Gods video from the History channel. It can sometimes be a bit hard to keep all the Greek gods straight, so if your kids need a little refresher this is a super short  video that gives a good overview of who is who on Mount Olympus.

The History channel also has a pretty well-known series called Clash of the Gods. It featured stories about Zeus, Perseus & Medusa, Odysseus, Hercules etc. that is really good.  You can watch a number of the episodes for free on YouTube, although this series isn’t appropriate for kids, but parents are looking for something to watch it’s pretty good.

If you have any Greek Mythology books or sites that you love, let us know in the comments below.

Teaching Golf to Kids – The Parent’s Guide

So you love golf and you want to teach your kids, but aren’t quite sure where to start? Don’t worry we have everything you need to know right here.

Luckily there is a plethora of great information that you can get online that will help kids learn some of the basic skills that are important in golf. We have gone through most of it and have picked out all the information you need to know to get started. We have found the best golf related children’s books, DVDs and some free online videos that you will be able to use to get your kids golfing in no time. Before you know it they will love golf just as much as you do!

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Why Teach Your Kids Golf?

Short answer: because it is awesome. Long answer: golf is a great game for people of all sizes and abilities, you can play it your whole life, you have a great excuse to be outside in nature, you get exercise and it is a lot of fun.

Golf can be kind of an intimidating sport to teach a child. Parents might worry that they are going to teach an incorrect technique and mess up their child’s golf game for life. People love to freak parents out by telling them this, but if you are just trying to get your kids interested in golf you don’t need to worry.  The most important thing when parents are introducing a new sport to kids is that they make it fun, so kids want to do it and learn more.

When Should Kids Start?

There is golf equipment available for kids who can barely walk, but the prevailing wisdom is that you should only start teaching them golf when they show an interest in learning it. So it basically depends on the child, they could be 2 years old or 10 years old, if they want to learn then that is the time to start teaching them.

If your child isn’t showing any interest in golf and it is breaking your heart, you can try to spark an interest by letting really young kids ride along in a golf cart with you while you play. You could also show your kids how much fun it is to whack a ball around in the backyard or in a basement, let them play golf related video games or apps, or just read them some golf related books (see below for a list of recommended books).

Before You Start

Depending on their age and what they already know, you will want to give your kids a general idea of the game. Some of the things that you can go over that might seem obvious to you, but are probably confusing to a child are:

  • How is golf played? Explain that golf is played on a golf course that is divided into nine or eighteen different areas called holes. A round begins on the teeing ground of the first hole.
  • How does the scoring work? Tell them that each time you hit the ball with your club you count one stroke.
  • What is the point of the game? Explain that at the end of each hole is the green where there is a small hole, and that the whole idea of the game is to get your ball into that hole on the green with as few strokes as possible.
  • Explain some of the terminology (e.g. fairway, rough, bunkers, types of golf holes(par 3,4, or 5).
  • What are there different clubs for? Go over why you use different clubs, which clubs are used when etc.

Equipment

Before starting it’s also important you get the right equipment to make the game more enjoyable for your kids. There are lots of options for children’s golf clubs, depending on what fits your budget. Some good places to look for kid’s golf equipment are US Kids Golf  or TheLittlestGolfer.

For younger kids, it’s especially important that you get a small, light bag with a comfortable shoulder strap. You will want to make sure kids are able to carry their clubs or it won’t be fun for anyone.

Since most golf courses have a dress code, you should also let your kids know that they will need to wear a shirt that has a collar, pant or shorts that aren’t too short, socks and shoes.

Etiquette

You don’t need to get too fancy when explaining golf etiquette to kids. Basically they need to know that they have to respect other players by and respect the course by doing things like:

  • Not talking when other players are hitting the ball.
  • Not to taking their practice swings near other people.
  • They should be ready when it is their turn to swing to avoid causing delay for other players who are behind you.
  • They should leave the course in the same way that they found it.
  • They should try to avoid causing damage to the course.

Simple Rules Kids Should Know

Golf has many rules that might be a little overwhelming for a child, so when they are just beginning to learn the game you will probably want to introduce the rules slowly. It’s not always necessary to keep score, but you can show kids how scoring in golf works so they can start to get the idea.  Some basic rules they should know:

  • Play the ball as it lies – this is obviously an important rule in golf.
  • The player farthest from the hole putts first when you are on the green. If there is a chance their ball might hit another players ball, show them how to mark the ball.
  • You can also show them how to pull the flagstick out before the ball goes into the hole to avoid a penalty.
  • Apart from a few exceptions, moving or interfering with the ball is something they shouldn’t do.

The Basic Skills

When you are ready to start, there are a six basic skill that you will want to cover:

  1. Grip
  2. Alignment
  3. Posture
  4. Chipping
  5. Putting
  6. The Full Swing

 

 

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Grip

Start with the easy stuff first, learning the proper grip is fundamental skills that kids need to master before they can develop a great golf swing. Most people recommend the 10 finger grip (also called the baseball grip) for kids.

Check out this video on how to do teach kids the proper grip

Alignment

If your alignment is off then the shot will be off target, so it’s important to spend a bit of time trying to get this right. To get aligned properly, imagine a straight line going from the ball to your target. You then need to align your feet so they are parallel with the target line. Lots of golf instructors use the analogy of a train track when trying to explain this. So basically you tell the kids to imagine they are shooting the ball down a train track where the child is standing on the inner rail and the ball is on the outer rail which runs to the target. There is a good picture of it in Golf Digest.

Check out this video that has another approach to teach kids alignment:

Posture

Posture is another important thing to try to get right before your kids take a shot. Some things to keep in mind about posture are your child should stand straight with the club extended out in front of him or her at waist height. Then they can bend forward at the waist until the club hits the ground and their knees are slightly flexed. They should try to keep their weight on the balls of their feet and the spine should be at a good straight angle.

Putting

Putting is a fun aspect of golf for kids.  If they seem to be struggling with it, you can make sure they are placing their feet about shoulder width apart and pointing their toes straight out. Have them slightly bend their knees and make sure they are keeping their body straight. They should then take a good at the hole then back at the ball and bring the putter straight back hit the ball smoothly toward the hole.

Chipping

The chip shot is used when the ball is close to the green but not on it. It is the type of shot you use when you are trying to get the ball over the taller grass in the rough onto the green. When doing a chip shot show kids they should use a 7 or 9 iron.

The Full Swing

When kids are doing a full swing make sure their feet are shoulder width apart. Their back foot should be pointing straight out from their body. The front foot is turned slightly towards the hole. With their back straight, they can bend their knees a little. Have them bring the club back and as they do that they should transfer their weight to their back foot. Then they can sweep the club through the ball. As you do this their weight will move with the club and end up on their front foot.

This is good series with some helpful hints on how to do the swing for a 5 year old, 7 year old and a 12 year old

DVDs

An easy way to help kids learn golf basics is through an instructional DVD. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many golf DVDs for kids and the ones that are available have slightly mixed reviews.

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  • The Better Golf Academy: Better Golf for Kids Vol. 1 introduces the basics of golf with a special teaching method especially developed for children. The DVD goes over what kids need to know including: safety and getting started, the swing, pitching, sand play, chipping, putting, playing by the rules. You can view a preview of it here.
  • gotGolf? Teaching Kids Golf: Short Game is a DVD that is for parents, coaches and teachers. TSome of the topics that are covered are grip techniques, the put, chipping, pitching, the Bump and Run, Sand Shots, Flop Shots .
  • gotGolf? Teaching Kids Golf: Swing Fundamentals covers (you guessed it) swing fundamentals. If you are having trouble teaching your kids how to swing the club then this is a good option. Although, it isn’t a great DVD if you are looking for a general golf DVD, you would be better off getting The Better Golf Academy DVD.

Books

Books are obviously a useful tool in helping children learn about golf and to help develop a love of the game. We have included story books and instructional books, as well as a couple of books for parents who are looking for some good info on how to teach their kids golf.
Books for Younger Kids

  • P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet (Sports Alphabet) By the prolific children’s sport writer Brad Herzog, this ABC book goes over some golf history and some of the big name. These ABC series are very popular.
  • Consider It Golf: Golf Etiquette and Safety Tips for Children! is part of a series of golf themed books (Count on Golf, The ABC’s of Golf, Swing Into Opposites with Golf , Junior Golf Journal) by Susan Greene. This book uses rhymes and illustrations to teach golf etiquette and course safety to kids. From repairing your divot to being a good sport, the beginner golfer is introduced to proper conduct on the golf course. This book puts many of the golf rules and safety concerns into easy to understand kid language. It’s a great place to start when introducing your child to golf.

Books for Kids Ages 8+

  • The Kids Book of Golf (ages 8-12) is a bit old school, but it is would be a good book for a slightly older child who is interested in learning about golf who doesn’t really know much already. It has a little bit about the history, parts of a golf course, info on clubs, a bit about some of the basics that kids should know(grip, putting, chipping, full swing), rules, warming up, some drills, games within the game, tips from the pros, info about some of the major tournament, etc. It is basically a very easy to read book for kids that gives a decent overview for kids who are interested in learning about the game.
  • Golf: From Tee to Green-The Essential Guide for Young GolfersThis book has easy-to-follow instructions that can help with the all-round play of any young golfer, covers tee shots, iron play, pitching, chipping, coping with bunkers and the green. It also has sections on the history of the game, the all-time great players, famous holes and memorable tournaments.
  • Francis and Eddie: The True Story of America’s Underdogs is a story book based on a bit of interesting golf history that involved a child. A century ago, in 1913, the world’s finest golfers gathered at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, to compete in golf’s national championship, the U.S. Open. Joining them was a little-known amateur, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet, who lived across the street from the course and taught himself to play by sneaking onto the fairways with the only golf club he owned. His caddie was a ten-year-old Eddie Lowery.

For Parents

  • Daddy Caddy On the Bag: Coach Your Child to Peak Golf Performance is kind of a cool book that is written specially for parents who are teaching their own kids to play golf. This book is for parents who are fairly serious and are looking to really coach their child rather than just teach them the game for the fun of it. It covers things like important golf skills development, caddying for your kid, emotions and mental challenges that kids face, and how to be a good coach.
  • Teaching Kids Golf: A Baffled Parent’s Guide is sort of the opposite of the Daddy Caddy book mentioned above. It is much more laid back. This is a good book if you are looking for something just to introduce golf you to kids, not create the next golf superstar. It’s a gentle intro to teaching kids golf, it shows parents how to teach their kids the various things they need to know but it really stresses that golf first and foremost should be fun for kids, especially younger kids. The book covers everything from the basics of proper grip and swing techniques, to putting, pitching, driving, and managing time on the course.

photo credit: Fairy Heart ♥ via photopin cc

Teach Your Kids World Geography – The Parents Guide

Geography, in the very broadest terms, is the study of the Earth’s landscapes, people, places and environments.  Kids love to learn about the world, and these days there are some really interesting ways to help take your kids on a fun journey around the globe without ever leaving your living room. So if you are looking to spark an interest in this amazing world of ours, look no further, because we have found 19 super cool resources that your kids should know about.

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Geography was first studied by the ancient Greeks (of course) and is often called “The Mother of all Sciences” because of its relation and influences on other scientific fields such as biology, mathematics, anthropology, geology, astronomy and chemistry. It is generally divided into two main branches, human geography and physical geography. Check out our list of the best websites, books, videos and apps that cover both types of geography.

Best Geography Websites for Kids

Obviously an easy way to get kids interested in the world is through a fun website, (since most kids will take any chance to be online that they can get). Here are a few of our favorites:

  • National Geographic Kids you can’t really go wrong with National Geographic for kids. The website is a fantastic place for kids to spend time learning and exploring.
  • Global Trek is a fun site from Scholastic that let kids plug in travel destinations and it brings up information for the countries that the child enters. It’s pretty basic, but fun to use.
  • Google Earth is an incredible tool for kids. It lets them go anywhere on Earth using satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from into space to the depths of the oceans.
  • Geography4Kids is a very informative website that teaches physical geography and earth science basics to children. It has info on ecosystems, earth structures, biospheres, food chains, earth energy and lots more.
  • Kids Geo is an online geography textbook, that has lots of info plus online videos that are included with some of the topics.
  • Geography for Kids is another great educational site that has fun facts, free games, interesting experiments, science fair projects, cool quizzes, and videos.

Books

You can’t beat a good geography book and there are lots of great ones to choose from.

  • National Geographic has a bit of a lock on the kids market as far as geography goes, but their books are generally really great for kids. There are a lot to choose from; two that I like are the National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas and National Geographic Kids World Atlas. Both are written in the typical Nat Geo Kids style which is lots of colourful pictures and interesting facts broken down into short paragraphs that are easy for kids to read.
  • Maps and Geography (Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guides) is a really neat book for kids who already know a bit about geography and are interested in trivia about the world. It is written by Ken Jennings, who you probably know as that guy who won a lot of money on Jeopardy. If you know anything much about him, you will know that he’s super interesting and very funny (check out his twitter). Not surprisingly, the book is written in a way that reflects his personality, so it is fun to read and you learn a lot of crazy world trivia. This book is part of a series called the Junior Genius Guides, that also has books about US presidents and Greek mythology. It has some questionable reviews on Amazon, but I really liked it.
  •  A Child’s Introduction to the World: Geography, Cultures, and People  is another book in a fantastic series. This book is for kids ages 9 to 12 and it covers: hemispheres, latitude and longitude, continental drift, map notation, landforms, population density, Each section has a different continent, and includes information about climates and biomes, mountain ranges and bodies of water, people and cultures, governments and industries, wildlife, and much more.
  • The Everything Kids’ Geography Book: From the Grand Canyon to the Great Barrier Reef – explore the world!  The Everything Series are always a great choice if you are looking to introduce a child to a new subject or help them expand on knowledge that they already have. This book includes information on the locations of states, countries, and continents around the world. They will also learn about the features that make each region interesting.

Videos

One of the best TV shows that I have come across that help kids learn about the world is Are We There Yet? It is a short show (each episode is about seven minutes long) that has a brother and sister who travel around the world learning about different cultures and countries.

Another show that everyone loves, but it is short of showing its age is Where in the World is Carmen Santiago. Just in case you aren’t familiar with Carmen Santiago, it is educational franchise that has computer and video games, a television series, and books that teach kids about geography. If you are feeling nostalgic you can watch many of the episodes on YouTube.

Free Online Geography Games

  • Sheppard Software has video games that are often used in schools. They have a fun game about world geography that also includes a tutorial.
  • Your Child Learns has interactive maps for all over the world that are easy to play around with while teaching your kids at the same time.

Apps

  • Geo-Me! has  animated musical stories of children from around the world and helps kids learn about the geography and demography that makes life in a certain place unique from (and similar to) their own.
  • Geo Challenge  is a fun way for kids to learn the flags and maps of the world. It helps kids learn using puzzles, quizzes and flashcards. One of the neat features of it is that it lets you spin the globe to find out information on 193 countries
  • Tiny Countries is an app with a slightly different approach to Geography This app has kids using characters and their knowledge of geography to try to solve missions. It has 15 missions over 6 continents with 75 countries to be mastered. There is also an animated interface to learn about countries, their capitals and famous monuments.
  • Kids Planet Discovery  is an app that helps kids discover the world with games and adventures all about cultures, animals, music, dresses, geography. This app contains 100 games & 80 videos about our Planet.

So as you can see, there is no shortage of fun resources that you can use to help your kids learn a little bit about geography and about the world. If you have any great resources please let us know in the comments below.