Great Boat Building Event Last Weekend

boat workshopOne of our main missions here at ChildWelfareSparc.com is to provide a diverse educational platform for underprivileged kids.

While most of our work focuses on helping them get access to educational materials, such as books, notebooks, and computers, we also think it’s hugely important to expose these children to different themes and topics, many of which children in middle and upper middle class households would take for granted.

Last weekend we had an excellent event that catered to exactly this mission. George Rupert, a hobby boat builder enthusiast, gave an interactive presentation at his wharf-side workshop.

Over a dozen children were able to attend, and it turned out to be fun for all ages!

Understanding DIY Boat Building

The first part of the morning George spent talking about some of the big picture issues involved in boat building and DIY boat projects.

The most important among them, he stressed, was to always put safety first, whether you’re desgining the boat plan, sawing wood in the workshop, or taking a finished project out on the water for the first time. Whatever stage you’re at, whenever you’re dealing with anything related to going out on the water, boater safety should always be a top concern.

Since George has been building boats in spare time for over a decade, he has an excellent grasp of what makes boat building fun, and his passion in teaching the basics to the kids really shone through.

He was able to show several different types of boats, including wooden boats, aluminum boats, fishing boats, and a canoe, each at different stages of development. He also showed where and how he gets the diy boat plans to start a new project.

Hands on Boat Workshop!

canoeOnce George finished his introductory tlak, he let each and every one of the kids take their turn sanding down one of his wooden boat plans that he’d been working on.

This was a great hands on education that I know the kids are going to take with them for a long time, and it shows that there are plenty of options for them when it comes to finding hobbies and after school activities to get involved in.

After they finished sanding the diy fishing boat, George led them in small groups over to one of his canoes, which he had recently finished.

After going through another short talk about canoe safety, he took it off the stand and placed it in the water, and took turns – with four kids at a time – doing a small spin around the inlet.

It was truly a fun day, and I can’t wait to schedule more educational exposure activities like this one!

The Best Books for Teens to Read for Fun

One of the major problems we have facing our nation is that our children are no longer reading as they once were. It’s not just that the level of reading has gone down in recent years, but the fact is that children and teens no longer enjoy reading.

Instead, they’d much rather spend time on their smartphones and tablets watching movies or playing video games.

So, in this post I thought I’d take a look at a few ideas for getting teenagers to read more…and to make it more enjoyable and educational for them.

Reading Novels Should Be Fun

In my opinion, one of the leading causes of the lack of reading that goes on isn’t just about the influx of technology and time spent online, but because our kids are consistently forced to read: by parents, teachers, standardized test requirements, etc, etc.

reading fun

The fact that they’re forced to do so makes it much harder for them to enjoy it, especially when the works they are required to read are…let us say, not exactly light books.

Think about it: did you enjoy reading A Tale of Two Cities when you were 15? What about an esoteric rendition of The Odyssey or Canterbury Tales?

Chances are, you dreaded it, and slaved through every required page without putting any thought into the work itself, but just into how you’re going to pass the next quiz or test.

So, instead of focusing on dense classics (don’t get me wrong, reading literary classics is hugely important and I’m not at all recommending we remove them from the curriculum), we should encourage teens to read anything they enjoy.

Popular Books for Young Adults

popular teen fictionOne technique we might employ is to get teens interested in popular works of literature. This can be especially powerful if their interest in the subject is already intrigued by some outside source. For example: movies and tv shows that have an origin from books.

Here’s a few examples. There’s also a great list from buzzfeed here.

There’s also a list of popular teen books by the Examiner.

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones, though it deals with many adult themes like lust, war, and power, is also a good choice for mature adolescents to read.

You can even get A Game of Thrones audiobook download for free! So start your introduction to this wonderful fictitious world and dive into a land of legends!

Jurassic Park

With this year’s release of Jurassic World, the 4th installment of the blockbuster film franchise, it’s an excellent opportunity to get kids interested in the broader epic story, written in the early 90s.

Jurassic Park is a wonderful fantasy-thriller, and has a lot of sound literary elements. Of note in particular is the way an entire fictional world is constructed and comes to life on page! This is a wonderful book for teenagers to get into. You can download a free Jurassic Park audiobook from http://www.freeaudiobookguide.com.

The Importance of Education at Early Ages

One of our main missions here at www.childwelfaresparc.com is to promote the advancement of early childhood education.

We think that this is a crucial aspect of childhood development and that the proper alignment of individual methods with societal strategies can combine to increase the long term potential of our children, both as individuals prepping them for high academic achievement, and as a broader societal trend that can help spur innovation in the long run.

Early Start Program

cccfbfe095ecffc2376488c70d2f3f04Because of this mission, and due to our strong believe, and the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of early education programs, we’ve developed a new Early Start program initiative.

The objective of this program is to jump start childhood education by increasing parental awareness of the benefits of starting young, and consistently monitoring and encouraging intellectual stimulation, even for toddlers and pre-school age children.

We believe that waiting until kindergarten to teach a child the alphabet, for example, or even to begin reading simple stories, is far too long.

Instead, this knowledge can start several years earlier. Since there are currently very few existing programs for parents to send their children to that encourage this level of program, that means the beginnings need to come from a proper home environment.

Where To Begin: Reading Out Loud

One of the easiest and most powerful things any parent can do is to read out loud to your children every single day. If possible, you can even do this twice a day.

Try to set aside a specific reading time at some point during the morning, when the child’s brain is at its most receptive stage. In general, it is best to schedule this time 30 minutes to 2 hours after a morning meal, and not after the midday meal, as children tend to become more tired and less receptive during the afternoon hours.

The morning time should be scheduled and last for at least 30 minutes. This is when the child will learn most actively.

Then, as an added benefit, try incorporating nightly reading sessions before the child goes to sleep. The point of these sessions is not to teach, per se, but rather to provide continued exposure for the child. Placing this second study period before bedtime will allow the child’s brain to absorb the material as he or she sleeps, and lead to better mental cognition in the long term.

For more information, click here.