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Tip of the Week

An investment in your child's education doesn't necessarily include a deposit into a college savings account. Studies show that a child's academic foundation is built upon skills developed as early as kindergarten, so it's never too early to start supplementing their education. Here are a few tips to help your children improve their math skills: 

- Find ways to play counting games during the day, such as counting the number of stairs or the number of red cars you pass while driving.

- Cook with your child and have your child measure the amounts for the ingredients.

- Ask your child to find the right coins to pay for an item.

- Sign your child up for music lessons.

- Play card games such as Go Fish, Crazy Eights and Rummy.

- Play computer games that help develop math skills such as DreamBox Learning K-2 Math (www.dreambox.com).

-- ARA

Family Screening Room

“Confessions of a Shopaholic”

Rated: PG (some mild language and thematic elements)

Length: 1:52
 
Synopsis: In the glamorous world of New York City, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a fun-loving girl who is really good at shopping – a little too good. She dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine but can’t quite get her foot in the door – until ironically, she snags a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. As her dreams are finally coming true, she goes to ever more hilarious and extreme efforts to keep her past from ruining her future.

Violence/gore rating: 2
 
Sexual-content rating: 3
 
Profanity rating: 2
 
Scary/tense-moments rating: 2
 
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
 
Family Time rating: 3. “Shopaholic” is basically OK – it’s main non-family blemish is that it’s a little on the risqué side.

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“The Graveyard Book,” by Neil Gaiman (author) and Dave Mckean (illustrator)
Ages: 9 to 12
Pages: 320

Although “The Graveyard Book” opens with a scary scene -- a family is stabbed to death by "a man named Jack” -- the story quickly moves into more child-friendly storytelling. The sole survivor of the attack -- an 18-month-old baby -- escapes his crib and toddles to a nearby graveyard. Quickly recognizing that the baby is orphaned, the graveyard's ghostly residents adopt him, name him Nobody ("Bod"), and allow him to live in their tomb. Taking inspiration from Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” Gaiman describes how the toddler navigates among the headstones, asking a lot of questions and picking up the tricks of the living and the dead. “The Graveyard Book” is a charming allegory of childhood, and it recently won the Newberry children’s literature award. (Amazon.com)

Did You Know

According to FamilyFacts.org, compared with children who experienced poor-quality child care, those who experienced high-quality early child care had higher vocabulary scores in the fifth grade.

Kids Kitchen: Animal Mud Bath

4 slices white bread
1/2 cup Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
12 mini pretzels
12 animal crackers

Place bread slices on large plate to form a square grid in middle. Cut each slice's edge to form 1 large circle. Trim with knife to fit plate. Spread hazelnut spread generously to form a 6- to 7-inch circle on the bread. Press pretzels into outer edge of circle to create fence. Stand animal crackers upright inside fence and enjoy. Serves 4.

Serving ideas: For a splash of color, sprinkle 1 tablespoon multi-colored candy sprinkles over mud bath. (CDKitchen.com)

GateHouse News Service