How To Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you have likely struggled with the issue of a child’s lack of concentration at some point during your parenting years.  Of course we know that children are curious, energetic discoverers.  This is natural.  However, some children struggle more than others.  Many frustrated parents don’t know where to turn for help.  What if there were some simple antidotes and tools you can use to improve concentration?  There is.  Of course no solution will work for everyone, but we think you’ll find the following suggestions extremely helpful.  Your sanity will thank you!

How to Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

So, how can you motivate and improve your child’s focus?  There are several different tools available.  In the beginning, it’s best to try them all to see what works best for you and your family.

1.) Attend to physiological needs.  Ensure your child gets 9 hours of sleep every night.  Reduce sugar intake & increase protein levels (lean meat, almonds, & eggs).  This stimulates dopamine which makes concentration easier, particularly for lethargic kids.  Taking frequent breaks for exercise will have a similar effect.

2.) Remove distractions at home.  Make a list of things that may prevent concentration (i.e. noise, people, lighting, fighting, tiredness, & hunger). Then go through each distraction and come up with a solution.  Make sure you implement those solutions daily!

3.) Create the right mood for concentration.  Playing calming background music, placing a fish tank (with fish) in the environment, and reducing fluorescent lights have all been proven to be successful in creating the right mood.

4.) Introduce sequencing & organization activities (i.e. following recipes, setting the table, and putting things in alphabetical order.)  Board and card games help as well.  Chess has proven to be particularly good for improving focus long-term. Their minds become incrementally stronger, alleviating the concentration problem, and in many cases, almost entirely curing it. The study of chess also instills patience and can help a child’s attitude.

5.) Find out which activities your child focuses on best.  Some kids do best with hands-on activities, and some do best with a lot of visual cues.  Look for activities that your child gets lost in for hours.  These activities can enhance your child’s concentration levels.

These are only a few of the tools we’ve found helpful through the years.  I’m sure there are many more that you’ll find that will work in your home. Before assisting your child with their concentration habits, pay close attention to their pattern of concentration and observe if there are any obvious links between diet, energy pattern, sleep, and your own behaviors.  Remember to lead by example!

Concentration can be improved and made automatic.  Picture the first time you drove a car.  No doubt the prevailing, panicky thought in your head was, “How on earth can I focus on all of this stuff at the same time?!”  After enough practice, your brain built pathways of concentration, and the task of driving has become a smooth and easy one.  Take action today and make the process of learning a lot more enjoyable for both you and your children!

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Book Review – The Dangerous Book for Boys

Whether you’re a boy of 8 or 80, you’ll love The Dangerous Book for Boys!  The title sounds a little intimidating, but be sure to dive in a bit before making a snap judgement.  In these days of video games and battery powered toys that do everything except buy themselves for you, today’s unimaginative kids need to learn how to PLAY again. This book is filled with good old-fashioned, get-off-the-couch, get-out-of-the-house and get dirty ideas.

Book Review - The Dangerous Book for Boys

A perfect way to stay out of trouble but still have fun, The Dangerous Book for Boys covers essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage.

This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world’s best paper airplanes.

As one reader put it, “It is perfect tinder for a young mind to fan the flames to the fire of personal wonder for the rest of their lives.”

You won’t want to put it down!  Pick up a copy today at jmcremps.com, and be sure to take a look at The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things To Do, and The Pocket Dangerous Book For Boys: Things To Know.  Happy reading!

How to Make a Mask Using Tin Foil and Tape

A perfect mask can be made using surprisingly few products that can be found at home: tin foil and tape. Not only is this mask incredibly simple to make, but the tin foil enables it to perfectly fit your face. Once the mask is made, there are so many possible characters it can be adapted to.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 1: Overlap 3 sheets of aluminum foil in a stack.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 2: Push the stack of sheets onto your face. Push down as hard as you are comfortable pushing. Do it carefully, so the foil does not become punctured. (It might be useful to have a helper do this part.)

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 3: Check you have the general outline of your face imprinted: nose, lips, corners of your eyes and cheekbones. Use a marker and trace around your eyes (it might be good to follow the bones around your eye socket) for where you want to place the eye holes in your mask. Also, trace around anything else you want cut out. (Breathing holes are useful for breathing!)you might also want to cut a hole for talking too.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 4: Carefully remove the foil from your face. Cut with sharp scissors around the edges of the mask. And note––once you cut it, you can’t really go back easily, so leave extra.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 5: Carefully cut out the eyes. Do this either by puncturing the foil with a toothpick and tearing the foil out, or snipping in the center of the area with the tip of scissors and folding the foil back.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 6: Cut holes or slots in the side of your mask. These are for the ribbons/cord/shoelaces to attach the mask to your face.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 7: Cut small sections of tape. While pressing the mask to your face to keep the features strong, gently place the tape onto your mask. When you feel the mask’s features are firm enough, place all the sections of tape, overlapping, across all visible places of foil, including the back (foil is itchy next to the skin).

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 8: Tie the cord to the holes in the side of your mask. Leave enough length to both wrap around your head, and to tie in a nice knot or bow.

How to Make a Mask With Tin Foil and Tape

Step 9: Decorate using acrylic paints. Paint whatever you want, making sure to leave it to dry out of the way of people or pets. 

Paint completely black for the ideal Ninja disguise, or add colorful paints and sequins for a masquerade ball!  You can also add things like horns, a pointed nose, or antlers by simply making the form with tin foil, and covering with tape like what you did in the previous steps.  Become whatever character you’d like in a few easy steps!

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How To Make A Mask Out of Tin Foil and Tape  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

A Modern Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

As the buzz over the technology revolution is settling down and becoming less of a novelty, the past couple of years have seen a resurgence of vintage, or traditional pastimes.  The world keeps spinning faster, and everyone’s eyes seem to be opening to the need for relaxation.  Gone are the days of the glorification of “busy”.  They are being replaced with the art of slow living.

The Resurgence of Vintage Pastimes

One of the most popular vintage pastimes that’s resurfaced seems to be whittling.  What do you think of when you picture whittling?  Perhaps what pops up in your head is an old man in a rocking chair on a front porch, carving a piece of wood, with an ice-cold beverage nearby.  His grandson sits in a chair next to him whittling his own stick of wood, keeping up a steady stream of chatter.  As the sun sinks lower in the sky, their wood pieces start to come to life.  The scene is idyllic, peaceful, and relaxing.

The history of whittling really begins in early Americana.  With only the use of a pocket knife and good, soft wood; crafty folks could whittle just about anything.  A couple of main things that have changed with the pastime since then is the quality of the knives and the selection of specialty blade shapes available.  The craft has become easier and more enjoyable than ever before.

If you’re looking for a way to wind down after a busy day, or to connect with your children or grandchildren, your search is over.  JMCremps has a large selection of knives, thumb guards, whittling & woodcarving books, and kits to get you started or keep you going with one of the best hobbies out there.

What are you waiting for?  Throw away your worries for a moment so you can sit back and relax while creating something beautiful.  Spend some quality time with someone you love. Connect with the past while living fully in the present.  There’s a reason this pastime is coming back, and I think if you give it a try you just might become an advocate of the art of slow living.

Easy Science Project: How To Make a Bouncy Egg

Are you in need of a simple science project that only requires a few household ingredients?  Look no further!  Parents are always telling children not to play with their food, but they’ll make an exception on this one.  Try this fun experiment that turns an egg into a bouncy ball!  The only ingredients required are an egg or two, some vinegar, and a container.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 1: Get a container of vinegar ready. Find a jar or Tupperware container large enough to fit the egg. Grab a bottle of regular white vinegar and fill the jar or Tupperware container with vinegar. Don’t fill it all the way to the brim though, because then putting the egg in will make it overflow.

Step 2: Add dye if you want to color your bouncy egg. You can easily make your finished bouncy egg any color you want to by adding food coloring dye to the vinegar. Just add around 10 drops of the dye to the vinegar, or enough to color the whole container of vinegar.

  • It doesn’t have to be filled to the top but it should be filled high enough so that the egg can be completely submerged in vinegar.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 3: Submerge an egg. Get a raw, unboiled egg. Place the raw egg in the vinegar-filled container. Just drop it in from right above the vinegar so the vinegar doesn’t splash everywhere. Make sure it is completely submerged.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 4: Cover the container. Place a lid on your container and leave it somewhere safe but out of the sun. The less sunlight it gets the better, so either put it somewhere dark like a closet, or cover it with something like a kitchen cloth.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 5: Wait for the shell of the egg to completely dissolve. This process can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. To be on the safe side, wait three days before continuing.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 6: Check the egg. Look at the egg through the container every once and a while to check its progress. The egg will turn a transparent color because the eggshell is decreasing in thickness. The eggshell will soon dissolve, leaving a thick strong egg white.

  • The reason the shell dissolves is because vinegar is a weak acid. The egg shell is made of calcium carbonate. When the shell meets vinegar, it makes a chemical reaction that turns the calcium carbonate into carbon dioxide, which is what those bubbles in the container are.

Step 7: Remove the egg. Take the egg out of the vinegar carefully. Just reach in and pull it out with your hand. Don’t forget to wash your hand afterwards. Place the egg on a couple of paper towels to let it drain.

  • Be extra careful when handling a raw bouncy egg. It will be more fragile than a boiled bouncy egg.

Easy Science Project - How to Make a Bouncy Egg

Step 8: Bounce it. Make sure it’s dry first. You can speed this up by drying it by hand with a paper towel. Be careful not to drop it from too high of a height, as it can still break and leave a mess. Start with just a few inches, and have cleaning supplies ready!

If you enjoyed this project and are looking for more science-related entertainment, be sure to check out jmcremps.com for a great selection of science kits, science books, and loads of other fun, exciting, and educational items!

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How To Make A Bouncy Egg. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

How to Break Your Kid’s Technology Addiction the Fun Way

Are you part of the generation that remembers when a few old blankets were the makings of a perfect hideout, and the most drama you had to deal with was whether to baseball, ride your bike, or pretend you were a cowboy?  If you are, then it can be quite a challenge to see your perfectly healthy kids curled up on their bed with an iPod in the middle of a beautiful summer afternoon.  Believe me, I feel your pain!

Adventure for Boys
A 2010 Kaiser Foundation Study found that children and teens on average spend almost 8 hours each day on entertainment media.  The naked truth is that technology is here for the long haul, and your child’s love of it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to break their addiction to electronics and rekindle their adventurous spirit.

First, encourage them to explore those things that interest them, and to do so in a hands-on manner.  If your child loves science, then get him/her a simple science experiment kit, and let them learn first hand.  If they loves bugs, get them a bug magnifying kit and let them get down and dirty in the mud.  If it’s a fascination with the outdoors, then a basic survival book and a Pocket Tool will be the beginning of a life-long love of the outdoors.   It’s been proven that on the whole kids, especially boys, thrive when they can learn by “doing”, and there’s no better time to start than when they are young and full of curiousity.

The second thing you can do to inspire your child’s love of learning and adventure is through story-telling and reading.  Inspiring true stories such as I Pledge Allegiance or The Civil War Graphic Novel 2-Book Set can inspire your children to do and achieve more than they ever thought possible.  Fictional stories about heroes and warriors can broaden their world and teach them to dream big and reach for their goals.

Third, be a good example.  Be active yourself, so the next time you encourage your couch potato to get outside and explore the world they live in they can’t say, “But you never do!” Better yet, be active and learn together as a family.  Take the time for a family hike or an afternoon together at your local historical society.  Go camping for a weekend or even a night in the backyard. Whatever your chosen activity, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow together as a family.  A love of adventure may start when you are young, but a true adventurous spirit never withers.

To find thousands of ways to inspire a passion for learning and to ignite an adventurous spirit within your children, visit www.jmcremps.com.  Request FREE copy of our Adventure Guide Catalog today, and you’ll discover why over 100,000 families rely on JM Cremp’s as their go-to resource for hands-on activites, ideas and toys to enhance active imaginations, fun gear for outdoor adventures, parenting resources, and educational tools for creative learning.

The point of all this is to swap your child’s addictive electronics with a few simple replacements that are engaging, appeal to their interests, get them moving, and challenge their minds.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, but it will take a little effort in the beginning.  Then again, most things that are rewarding take some effort, but they sure are worth it in the long run!

Our New Favorite Campfire Pizza With a Twist

Tired of the same old hot dogs? We are too. These scrumptious pizza rolls are a perfect way to switch things up on your next adventure! Made with store-bought pizza dough, they are easy, but you can customize them to your own taste.  Best of all, kids LOVE to eat these, so there will be no leftovers to worry about when dinner is done.

CampfirePizza

Ingredients

-canned pizza dough (found in the refrigerated section)

-pizza sauce

-mozzarella cheese

-your favorite toppings

-italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

Instructions:

Roll out your pizza dough to form a rectangle. Spread pizza sauce over the rectangle of dough. Cover with cheese followed by any additional toppings you would like. Sprinkle seasonings lightly, then roll pizza to form a log. Tuck the edges in and wrap in thick foil. Place in the freezer until your adventure. Store in your cooler and set out until almost thawed. To cook, place foil log on fire pit. Cook for about 15 minutes then flip over and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Slice up and enjoy!

It’s that simple, and that easy!  After that, all you have to do is enjoy every bite.

For more great camping ideas, camping gear for the whole family, and camping fun, visit www.jmcremps.com

The Best Camping Potatoes You’ll Ever Have

Potatoes. They’re easy to roast over a campfire and taste delicious. They can turn any makeshift camping meal into a real gourmet treat. There is nothing like a warm hearty meal after a long day of adventuring, especially when you’re camping.

CampfirePotatoes

Ingredients:

-1 gallon Ziplock bag
-Kabob or marshmallow skewers
-2 cans whole potatoes ‐ (2 large cans or 4 smaller cans)
-1 c grated Parmesan Cheese
-1 c softened butter
-1 Tbsp garlic powder
-1 tsp oregano or Italian blend
-Salt & pepper to taste
-Bacon bits (optional)

Instructions:

Drain potatoes. Place potatoes and rest of ingredients in a
gallon sized zip lock bag. Gently shake bag to coat potatoes
with mixture. Skewer the potatoes and place over a medium
heat grill/fire till browned on all sides. Slide off skewers & top
with bacon bits.

It’s that simple, and that easy!  After that, all you have to do is enjoy every mouthful!

For more great camping ideas, camping gear for the whole family, and camping fun, visit www.jmcremps.com

The Best Campfire Popcorn

Camping season is upon us.  Whether you’re planning a wilderness camping adventure or a simple backyard campout, cooking over the campfire is one of the best parts of camping. Combine a campfire and popcorn, and now you’re talking our language!  Campfire popcorn is not only a delicious snack, it’s also a blast to make over a fire while enjoying the outdoors.

Ingredients
-Popcorn
-Vegetable Oil
-Butter
-Salt
-Sugar (optional)
* Be sure to use appropriate caution and abide by campground rules while building the fire.

MakePopcorn1
Step 1.  Build your campfire in clear area away from trees and buildings. Allow the fire to burn until hot embers form.

MakePopcorn2
Step 2.  Cut foil into 18 to 20-inches long pieces.

MakePopcorn3
Step 3.  Add a handful of popcorn on top of each piece of foil.

MakePopcorn4
Step 4.  Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each piece of foil.

MakePopcorn5
Step 5.  Fold the foil in half and then twist the sides to seal.

MakePopcorn6
Step 6.  Attach the foil pouch to a long stick.

MakePopcorn7
Step 7.  Place the pouches over or slightly above the coals of your campfire.

MakePopcorn8
Step 8.  Listen and wait for the popcorn kernels to start popping.

MakePopcorn10
Step 9.  Remove the foil packets once you do not hear any more popping inside the foil packets.  Be careful when opening the pouch as it will be very hot and steamy inside.

MakePopcorn10
Step 10.  Season the popcorn with butter and salt. Sugar is optional.

MakePopcorn11
Step 11. You’re finished! Enjoy your campfire popcorn.

For more fun camping equipment and outdoor gear visit JM Cremps camping section.  There you’ll find gear for camp cooking, fun camping games, and more!

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Popcorn While Camping. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

At Home Science Experiment for Kids – How to Make a Cloud in Bottle!

Who needs to look up in the sky to gaze at the cloud formations when you can make your own cloud that you can hold in your hand.  All you need is a plastic soda or water bottle and a few common household items. Try this easy at-home science experiment and create your own cloud in a bottle.  It’s easy, fun, and educational.

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1. Assemble your supplies. Have your supplies on hand before you start on this experiment. You will need:

  • Plastic bottle with a cap: A 2-liter soda bottle is ideal for this experiment. Make sure to remove the label from the plastic bottle. Then you will be able to see the clouds when they form inside the bottle. It is also best to choose a clear bottle.
  • Matches
  • Water

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2. Pour hot water into the bottle. Use hot water from the tap. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the bottle (about 2 centimeters).

  • Don’t use boiling water in a plastic bottle. The plastic might warp and the experiment won’t work. The water should be hot, though. Try for about 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Swirl around the water a bit to warm up the sides of the bottle.

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3.  Strike a match. Blow it out after a few full seconds. Make sure an adult is assisting you with this step.

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4.  Toss the burned match into the bottle. Tilt the bottle with one hand and insert head of the match into the top of the bottle. Let the smoke from the match fill the bottle. , where it will seem to disappear. Discard the match.

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5. Screw the cap onto the bottle. Grip the neck of the bottle so that you do not squeeze the sides before the cap is screwed in completely. This prevents any smoke or air from escaping.

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6.  Squeeze the sides of the bottle hard. Do this three or four times. Wait a few seconds then squeeze the bottle again, this time holding the squeeze longer before releasing.

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7. Look at the formation of fog in the bottle. You should see your very own cloud there! Putting pressure on the bottle’s sides forces the water particles to compress. When you let go of the sides of the bottle, the air expands, decreasing the temperature. When the air cools, the particles can stick together a little more easily, which causes them to clump into little tiny droplets around the smoke molecules.

This mimics the process of clouds forming in the sky. Clouds in the sky are made up of water droplets that have clung to tiny particles of dust, smoke, ash, or salt.

Science Experiment Tips

  • Experiment with how many times and how hard you squeeze the bottle.
  • If you do not have matches, you can use a lighter and a piece of paper or an incense stick to make the smoke that you need.
  • Experiment with adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the water (distilled liquor also works) to make a more visible cloud.
  • Use adult supervision when lighting and handling the match if you’re a child.

For more fun experiments, visit jmcremps.com science department where you’ll find all kinds of science experiments, science kits, and science books.

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Cloud in a Bottle.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.