How to Have Some Virtual, Kid-Friendly Fun

As you well know, I’ve been very interested about how we guide our children to be good online citizens. Even though I spend countless hours engaging with people on Twitter and Facebook and here, I haven’t really figured it out how to parent the next gen digital native, which is why I’m very slowly and carefully introducing them to the online world.

One of our regular guests, Youthologist Vanessa Van Petten had some great advice in our interview on internet safety. That is, treat the online world just like the real world! Duh! Ease your kids into online participation, giving them more and more freedom and responsibility as they get older. Now that my kids are 8 and 6, I take them to the playground and let them play relatively freely, but I don’t leave them there!!!

Likewise, I’m starting to let them play on ONE safe site: www.buildabearville.com

The reason I picked BABV is because I had the chance to hear from the people responsible for their digital operations and it was comforting to hear that every chat is monitored and every questionable incident gets investigated. They take this issue very seriously and are committed to working with online moms to ensure the safety of our kids. Not only that but the site content, totally in line with the Build-A-Bear brand, is all about “edutainment.” They’ve built in lessons on good cyber citizenship into the games and incentives in BABV. Is that how Club Penguin and Webkinz are too? Don’t know since I’ve never spent anytime there so if so, clue me in.

You can buy 15 Bearville Outfitters Credits here.

One of the things that piqued my interest while visiting at our friends at Build-A-Bear last week was their virtual summer camp, Camp Happy Heart. I even asked for more information from my new friend, Shannon. If you are looking for good, clean online fun that you could supervise with your kids as Vanessa recommended, here’s a great option! It starts on Friday, to coincide with the release of their ice cream bear collection (see fun pics below).

From Shannon:
Beginning July 2, Build-A-Bearville will host the third annual Camp Happy Heart, the largest summer camp in the virtual world.  Last year, over 400,000 campers participated in the online activities at buildabearville.com.  This year, Camp Happy Heart is expecting even more campers to its exciting camp program. Campers can play special online games and quests including:
·         Marshmallow roasting
·         Jump rope
·         Bear-2-Bear Tug-A-Hug

Guests will enjoy exploring Camp Happy Heart which is lead by a counselor bear from the Ice Cream Bear Collection. Once registered to join the camp, individuals will be put on a team and given daily tasks to complete in order to earn team points. Guests can also write their own camp- themed story featuring their favorite Ice Cream Bear. At the end of camp, each participant will receive a team poster for their virtual Cub Condo and the winning team will receive a 2010 Camp Happy Heart trophy, interactive camp fire and camp bed for their Cub Condo house.

So I’ve been enjoying observing how my kids explore the ‘ville! Yes, my daughter and I have been shopping in Furbulous Fashion District and I, er, I mean Zia Adventure has been helping them furnish their Cub Condos. Okay, it’s a little surreal but at least on BABV, they can actually afford bunk beds.

I’d love your thoughts on this virtual kid world. Where do you go with your kids? What sites do you recommend?

3 Month V.I.B. Subscription at buildabearville.com®

How to Build-A-Business

Practical Mommy (Ria) and I spent two days at Bear Headquarters for Build-A-Bear in St. Louis (our own backyard!) with nearly 20 of the hippest online moms/bloggers from across the United States. The event was a Brand Building Workshop hosted by Build-A-Bear called Connecting in the CyBear Century.

It took Ria and I all of about 10 minutes to have our first “OMG” moment. How was #babwconnect? In a word, it was:

[Read more…]

How To Choose The Right Sunscreen

Summer is in full force. Are you wondering how you are going to survive? Keep your family safe and healthy by using the right sunscreen. Here are the key ingredients to look for. Happy summer!

by our Style Expert, Catherine Horgan

How Does Baby Einstein Help/Hurt Your Baby?

Our Expert Mommy talks about this controversial topic. I will admit, my babies watched Baby Einstein and I may have even given Baby Einstein DVDs as gifts! But I love how Dr. Sophia positions her point of view on baby “learning” videos and screen time in general.

What do you think? [Read more…]

Sleep Secrets

A veteran mom, I know better than to brag on what good sleepers my little ones are. There is no surer way to reverse one’s good fortune and you AIN’T gonna hear these words coming from me… not even followed by “knock on wood!” But what I will do is share nearly a dozen sleep secrets with you that are sure to help both you and your sweet babies get some much needed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s.

And BTW, the reason I videoed these tips as opposed to writing them out is because my three week old twins are actually napping at the same time right this moment… and I knew I could get all this info to you if I sat for a minute and just told them to you. (Work smarter not harder, right?) Hope they help. [Read more…]

How Relationships Go the Distance

When we got married, our dear friends and officiants gave us this great little sign that reads, “Kiss slowly, forgive quickly.”  I literally look at this sign every day, but didn’t get the depth of its instruction until reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

I’m talking about forgiveness, as in your ‘daily bread’ variety.  People talk about it all the time like it’s the key to everlasting relationships, but I never understood what the big deal was. (Sometimes, I can be a little thick-headed.  I like to think that I’m not, but yeah, I can be.) [Read more…]

How to Celebrate Mom for Mother’s Day

Hannah Keeley is the mom of 7 and host of public TV show, Hannah Help Me! She’s got some tips for you on how you have a great Mother’s Day and empower your kids at the same time.

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How to Pick the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

In case you missed my segment on KMOV4 on Friday, we shared some ideas from some inventive and ingenious MOMS for Mother’s Day Gifts. I chatted with Matt Chambers about some really great products at 5:45 of this video.

For more information on these super cool moms and their great products, click the links below:
Alyson Garland, Dotdotdash, Mom Essential Apparel
Maggie Owens, Snap Decisions flip flops
Rachel Shelton, Sew Good & Trendy purses
Jenny Present Jewelry Collection

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Yoga Parenting Course Featured on Great Day St. Louis

Last Friday, Zen Mommy and Carol Daniels talked about the Yoga Parenting course. Suzanne shared tips with viewers on using some of the tools included in the 8-week online course: the signs, the time machine, and the bunny breath.

One of the things that I love about these tools as they aren’t just “gimicks.” They work — with kids of all ages, not just toddlers and preschoolers but also teens and grown children (even spouses)! *wink*

There’s a reason that they work and it’s all rooted in the brain and how we are wired as humans. The Signs work because as Suzanne explains to Carol, it disengages us from the power struggle. It also activates a different part of your child’s brain: the one that has to visually read the sign.

Bunny Breath works because it oxygenates the brain. When stressed, we operate from the brain stem, the most primitive part of the brain. When we breathe, we move up to the neocortex, where higher level thinking and learning occurs.

Click for more on the Yoga Parenting course.

Or buy the course today!

Yoga Parenting Course Launch Party

In case you missed our party on March 16, here’s the replay! Along with our friends, Danielle and Kim and all of you in the chat room, we shared our parenting challenges and Michaela Turner gave us some advice on approaching them from the Yoga Parenting perspective.

For more on Yoga Parenting, click here.

Or buy the course today!