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Cheerleaders, You Can Take Constructive Mental Time Off

Cheerleading is a year-round sport and physically and mentally intense.  If you thrive on working year-round in the gym, you should know that you can give yourself some mental relaxation time without leaving the gym.   Cheer Daily shares some ways that you can do this:

  • take the time to enjoy adding technique to skills that you are already good at, for example:  if your back tuck travels back half a panel, try a set technique to work on landing in the same spot every time.
  • come up with ways to build team spirit and get to know your team mates
  • be mindful and assess any areas that you can improve, talk to your coach, and come up with a plan and goal to fine-tune these points
  • consider being a counselor at a cheeleading camp or clinic with younger kids

It’s summer, so whatever time you take off, enjoy and remember there is a lot to do out there!

***

For full article:  4 Ways to Take A Mental Break Without Leaving the Gym

For more information about the Cheerleading program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our page, Cheerleading  camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

 

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After-School Tennis Lessons?

Summer is probably at a half-way point and it might be time to look in to plans for the Fall.   Are you considering after-school tennis lesson for your child?  My Tennis Lessons shares 5 good reason as to why enrolling your child in an after-school tennis program makes sense:

  1. Tennis teaches your child accountability, as when they are playing they can only rely on themselves unless they are playing doubles.
  2. Builds self-esteem as “tennis is based so much on skill, muscle memory, and repetition that just about anyone can become a good tennis player”.
  3. Take advantage of participating in a non-contact sport.
  4. After-school lesson times can be more flexible as you are more in control of the schedule instead of being at the mercy of pre-set team practice schedules.
  5. Tennis lesson cans also be customized to fit the personality and skill level of each child.

Tennis is fun and you don’t ever age out of the sport.

***

For full article:  5 Reasons Why After- school Tennis Lessons Make Sense for Your Child

For more information about the Tennis program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Tennis camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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A Moment in the Life of Future Stars’ Campers

Welcome to “2019 Camper Moments”!  Every Wednesday, you will meet campers from a variety of camps at Purchase.  Please contact us with any requests to know more about Future Stars Camps at: purchase@fscamps.com

***

Meet Amelie, this is her second year at Future Stars Camps and I caught up with her at Tennis camp.

Farah:  Hi Amelie, it’s nice to meet you!  How old were you when you started at Future Stars Camps?

Amelie:  I was 9 years old and I’m 10 now.

Farah:  Do you have siblings and are they here at camp with you?

Amelie:  Yes, I have siblings.  And, no they’re not at camp. They are way older than me. My sister is studying to take the bar test to become a lawyer.

Farah:  What are some of your hobbies?

Amelie:  Playing with my best friend Fizza, I like to relax, I drink a lot of water, I go to the beach, and Play Land.

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Farah: What are some of your favorite television shows?

Amelie:  Oh. I have a lot. I watch one and keep going. I watch ‘Jesse’ all the way to ‘Bunked’, and they are all on the Disney channel.

Farah:  Do you have any idea of what you want to do or be when you grow up?

Amelie:  A chef.

Farah:  Wow, so what’s your favorite food?

Amelie: Probably soup or pasta.

Farah:  What kind of soup?

Amelie: My mom makes this simple soup, she cuts potatoes, puts it in chicken broth, she adds noodles, then chops cilantro up,and calls it simple soup.

Farah: Do you have a pet?

Amelie: No. I used to have two fish.

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Farah: What grade are you in?

Amelie: 4th going into 5th.

Farah: What do you most enjoy about school?

Amelie:  P.E., it’s really fun. I also really like some parts of math and science.

Farah: What is the best part of being a kid?

Amelie: You don’t have to worry and you can just enjoy being a kid! I’m having a great childhood!

Farah:  What is your favorite memory from camp?

Amelie: Spending time socializing with friends from this year and last year. Everybody being nice to me. I never met a single person here who was mean to me!

Farah:  Great meeting you Amelie, have a great summer with all your Future Stars friends!

***

For more information about the Tennis program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Tennis camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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Tennis Games for Kids

Active Kids shares tennis games to play with your kids to build skills and create moments of enjoyment:

  • Serve and Step to improve your serving skills. Start 5 feet from the net and serve the ball into the appropriate service box. For every successful serve, move one step backward and for every misstep, take one step back toward the net.
  • V-O-L-L-E-Y to  work on your volleying skills.  Hit from each section in the correct order and spell out Volley:
  1. V – left service box
  2. O – right service box
  3. L – left half of the service court beyond the service line
  4. L – right half of the service court beyond the service line
  5. E – left alley of the doubles court
  6. Y – right alley of the doubles court
  • “Rally in the Alley” to improve control over the ball. With a partner stand within the doubles alley and hit as many shots back and forth as you are able.  Be creative and limit to either forehands or backhands. or set a target of 15 -20 shots per rally.

***

For full article:  4 Simple Tennis Games for Kids

For more information about the Tennis program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Tennis camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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Coding and Writing Skills Work Well Together

Coding is the wave to ride now and into the future.  Parents, you do know that coding is a skill that your children should be learning sooner than later.  When coding includes digital storytelling, your children tickle their imagination, ignite their writing skills and have fun improving skills that will serve them well.

What role does coding play in imaginative writing:

  • Writers use words and sentences.  In addition, a coder has access to pictures, music, and animation.  To top it off, programming can even make their story react to audience input.
  • Script writing for story-based games requires the important skills of being exacting with details and consequence in characters’ actions.
  • Coding removes the “blank page” syndrome as, “The program starts at the child’s point of interest and evolves to a final product through a process of experimentation and iteration.”
  • Coding teaches children to be concise.  In the beginning, moving a character across a screen can take as much as five lines of code.  Practice and creativity teaches them to manipulate coding tools to express ideas efficiently and directly.
  • Planning and organizing thoughts are integral to coding, as are both skills necessary to write a comprehensive essay.

For details:  How Coding Can Improve Your Child’s Writing Abilities

For more information about the S.T.E.A.M. program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our S.T.E.A.M. camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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A Moment in the Life of Future Stars’ Campers

Welcome to “2019 Camper Moments”!  Every Wednesday, you will meet campers from a variety of camps at Purchase.  Please contact us with any requests to know more about Future Stars Camps at: purchase@fscamps.com

***

Meet Katherine and Neela, I found them both happily working away at our S.T.E.A.M. camp’s Coding session.

Farah:  Hello ladies, what have you been working on? 

Katherine:   A couple of things together. I am making a quiz game. There is an app that we are using called Scratch and it gives us pieces of code, and then you put the pieces together to make games or animation.

Farah:  Are you both doing games?

Katherine:  I’m making a funny quiz game. Its called, “The Impossible Quiz”, and it’s supposed to be funny because it’s all trick questions. I’ve been trying it on campers and I want to try it out on my brother. There’s one question where you click on a sprite, which is a character or animated character that I created.

Farah:  That’s so amazing! I can’t believe you made that! Tell me a little about yours, Neela.

Neela:  My game is a maze. At the beginning, you choose a sprite, which is a character. They are all fantasy characters like a unicorn, a gryphon, a goblin, or a wizard. Once you choose a sprite, it changes the backdrop which is the background. It changes to a maze that we made together. You use the up and down arrow keys to move your character through the maze and then once you finish it, it changes to a background that says, “You Won!”.

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Farah:  How did you hear about Future Stars Coding camp?

Neela:  This is my second year here.

Katherine:  This is my first year. I used to go somewhere else but I wanted to go somewhere different because I didn’t really like it. I would cling to my mom. But I’m really happy here!  I really like it.  I’m making friends and having a good time.

Farah:  What are you most looking forward to this summer at camp?

Katherine:  I’m doing a few different S.T.E.A.M. things but I’m also looking forward to going to Horseback Riding camp with my friend. She’s moving away this summer but we get to go to Horseback Riding camp together before she leaves.

Neela:  I’m doing the same thing I did last summer- S.T.E.A.M.,  Softball and Tennis. I have a friend that’s coming too and we’ll be doing softball and tennis together.

Farah:  What do you like to do outside of camp?

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Katherine:  I like to play a lot of computer games and watch stuff and play piano.

Farah:  That’s great! How long have you been playing piano?

Katherine:   Maybe about a year, maybe two.

Neela:  I like to practice softball and tennis with my dad. When I’m not doing that I use Scratch and practice coding. I make games and animations.

Farah:  Is there anyone in sports your admire?

Katherine:  I don’t really like to watch sports too much.

Is there anyone in tech you admire?

Neela: For sports. I like Serena Williams. For tech, I like Neil Degrasse Tyson even though he’s not technology completely.

Farah:  Why do you admire him?

Neela:  For the way, he changes the world for the better.

Farah:  Do either of you know what you’d like to be when you grow up?

Katherine:  I want to do something completely different. I want to be a teacher because it sounds like fun.

Neela: I don’t know yet.

Farah:  What’s your favorite food?

Katherine:  It would have to be pasta or like anything related to cheese.

Farah:  Whats your favorite cheese?

Katherine:  Brie

Neela:  I’m going to say pizza.

Farah:  What grade are you girls in?

Katherine:  I’m going into 4th this year.

Neela:  I’m going into 6th.

Farah:  So far, what is your favorite memory of camp?

Katherine:  Well, I just started but I really loved playing gaga ball! I won a lot of games.

Neela:  My favorite memory is from last year, just having so many people that I could make friends with.  I’ve seen a lot of them this year too!

Farah:  Thank you girls! I hope you have more wonderful days here at Future Stars camps!

***

For more information about the S.T.E.A.M. program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our S.T.E.A.M. camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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Need Resources to Teach Your Child Coding?

Giving children a head start is a parental goal – getting your kids to think about coding and starting them early on is a great choice. The world we live in and the world the children will inherit will be populated by smart devices that can do almost everything.  Teaching your child to code will give them the ability to interact and understand their world with clarity.  If you are like some parents and feeling a little out of your league when it comes to coding, don’t fret.  Blogging dot com shares 10 good online resources for you to tap into with your kids and get some basic coding skills under your belt (some are free, others have a free trial, and others are subscription or fee based):

  1. Code.org: a non-profit foundation website is a great starting point for coding novices.
  2. CodeCademy: teaches kids basic code through fun and simple exercises.
  3. Code Avengers: offers courses in building web pages, apps, and games covering languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and more. According to their website, classes are designed for ages 12+ but are successfully used by many 8 to 11-year-olds.
  4. CodeCombat: is a platform for students to learn computer science while playing through a real game.
  5. Code Monster: is a system that uses JavaScript and features two adjacent boxes
  6. Khan Academy: is an online school is known for a variety of classes, but they also have basic programming tutorials that teach kids how to build graphics, animations, interactive visualizations, and more. Their courses focus primarily on JavaScript.
  7. Tynker: is another website that lets kids learn to program by modding games such as Minecraft, controlling drones and robots, creating their own apps, and more.
  8. Made with Code: is Google’s project to encourage girls to pursue careers in computer science. Each coding challenge has a different purpose and topics range from the most basic ones suitable for complete beginners to advanced topics for those who already have some coding experience.
  9. Stencyl: a software system that’s available for Windows, Linux, and Mac that makes learning code fun by using a drag and drop interface to create code blocks.
  10. Scracth: is one of the most popular coding tools for kids, designed to help students get started with programming. Students can create animations and stories by using “building blocks” that behave like computer code does

***

For details and more resources:  10 AWESOME ONLINE RESOURCES THAT WILL TEACH YOUR KIDS TO CODE

For more information about the S.T.E.A.M. program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our S.T.E.A.M. camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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Both Sides of the Homework Debate

The discussion about the pros and cons of homework has gone back and forth for quite some time.  There’s been a lot of research done and the results go either way.  Here is what a teacher with 18 years of experience has to share with you:

Pros:

  • teachers can use homework as an opportunity for students to practice nightly new concepts they have learned thus allowing the class to move along more speedily through lessons and spending less time reviewing concepts
  • parents can use homework as a way to see the learning going on in the classroom
  • students practice and learn time management, organizational schools, and prioritizing their after-school activities

Cons:

  • is not an accurate assessment of students’ work because parental input cannot be measured
  • can be “busy work” and may not have intrinsic value.
  • if students didn’t grasp the concepts then they could be practicing the skills incorrectly
  • when homework is beyond parental abilities, homework becomes an added stress factor for all
  • teachers spend a lot of time prepping homework activities and some families aren’t interested in having their kids do their homework
  • finally, kids need time to be kids

“So… what’s the solution?? In my classroom, I have found a way to satisfy the families who actually WANT homework while not spending hours and hours of time in preparation for those families who don’t care about it at all. Once a month, I send home a Homework Bingo card. I challenge my students to fill a line or two (or the entire card!) yet I require nothing be returned to school. I am happy to celebrate with my students who DO accomplish this, and there’s no pressure on the families who, for whatever reason, do not participate. For me, it is a Win-Win!”

***

For full article:  The Great Homework Debate, Is it Worth It?

For more information about the Academic program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Academic camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

 

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A Moment in the Life of Future Stars’ Campers

Welcome to “2019 Camper Moments”!  Every Wednesday, you will meet campers from a variety of camps at Purchase.  Please contact us with any requests to know more about Future Stars Camps at: purchase@fscamps.com

***

Meet Seth, he is 9 years old and this is his first year at Future Stars Camps.  Seth is making the most of his summer camp experience.

Farah:  Hi Seth, nice to meet you, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Seth:   I love sports and I play football, soccer, and basketball.

Farah:  What are you most looking forward to this summer at camp? 

Seth:  Playing all the sports.

Farah:  Which programs at Future Stars camps do you attend?

Seth:  I’ve been at Academic and Multi-Sports. I’ll be doing Horseback Riding camp and Soccer, and I think Multi-Sports again.

Farah:  What grade are you in?

Seth:  I’m going into 5th.

Farah:  What do you most enjoy about school?

Seth:  Math is my favorite.

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Farah:  Do you have an idea of what you want to do or be when you grow up?

Seth: It depends. I have 4 in case some of them don’t work out. First one is a basketball star, then a football star, then a soccer star,  and finally a police officer. If all 4 don’t work out, I’ll be a video gamer.

Farah:  What are your favorite television shows?

Seth:   I mostly play video games. And, I live off of YouTube.  

Farah:  Who’s your favorite sports player?

Seth:  Tom Brady.

Farah:  What’s your favorite food?

Seth:   Sushi!

Farah:  Do you have a pet?

Seth:   Yes, I have a toy poodle. His name is Hunter. He’s two years old. I think that makes him 14 in dog years.

Farah:   What is the best part of being a kid? 

Seth:  You get away with a lot of things!

Farah:  So far, what is your favorite memory from camp?

SethHmm, playing kickball. No! My favorite is anytime we were playing basketball!

Farah:  It was great meeting you Seth, and I’m sure that I will see you around at all the different camps that you will be attending.

***

For more information about the Academic program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Academic camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

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Make YouTube Safer for Your Children

YouTube is used by millions everyday for various reasons and is often a great resource for discovering and  learning how to do things.  “Without many realizing it, a revolution in terms of how we consume content has been happening around us and the statistics are staggering. There are over 1.9 Billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month and each day people watch over a billion hours of video which generates billions of views.”

So as a parent, what can you do to protect your children from the unsavory and sometimes dangerous side of YouTube viewing.  Teachthought shares 12 ways to make YouTube safer for children:

1. Monitor: Watch what they watch while they’re watching – most effective method but not always easy to do

2. Help children self-monitor – share your family media consumption, habits, goals, causes and effects, and other ideas to help self-monitoring.  Consider using YouTube Kids, but make it safer with other configurations.

3. Disable Search

You can disable search in YouTube Kids by taking the following steps:

  • Click on the Lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen
  • Enter your passcode or answer the math question if a passcode has not been set.
  • Click on the Settings gear.
  • Select your child (Note: This process has to be done for each child you wish to set this for under your account) and enter your Google password when prompted.
  • De-select “Allow searching”

4. Adjust the content level in YouTube Kids

To change the content available for your child:

  • Click on the Lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen
  • Enter your passcode or answer the math question if a passcode has not been set.
  • Click on the Settings gear.
  • Select your child (Note: This process has to be done for each child you wish to set this for under your account) and enter your Google password when prompted.
  • Under “Content Level,” select “Approved Content” only.

5. Pause Watch History in YouTube Kids

To pause watch history:

  • Click on the Lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen
  • Enter your passcode or answer the math question if a passcode has not been set.
  • Click on the Settings gear.
  • Select your child (Note: This process has to be done for each child you wish to set this for under your account) and enter your Google password when prompted.
  • Select “Pause watch history”

6. Add a custom passcode in YouTube Kids

In order to enable a four-digit passcode:

  • Click on the Lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen
  • Enter your passcode or answer the math question if a passcode has not been set.
  • Click on the Settings gear.
  • Select your child (Note: This process has to be done for each child you wish to set this for under your account) and enter your Google password when prompted.
  • Select “Set custom passcode”
  • Enter a 4-digit number of your choice. This will be the new code required to access the Settings menu.

7. Block inappropriate content in YouTube Kids

While in the questionable video, you can click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. If you choose to report it, you can select reasons including inappropriate audio, inappropriate visuals, or other reasons. You can also choose to block the video so it no longer shows in the app for your child.

8. Use Restricted Mode in YouTube

One available setting in YouTube that can help create a safer experience for kids is Restricted Mode.

This is an additional setting which can be enabled on the YouTube website and app. If enabled, it can restrict the availability of potentially mature or objectionable content. Again, there is no perfect solution but this will catch a good deal of inappropriate and flagged content. In order to enable Restricted Mode (which is disabled by default):

  • In the YouTube app, click on the profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Click on the Settings gear.
  • Turn on “Restricted Mode”
  • You can also turn on Restricted Mode within the YouTube website:
  • Along the left-hand side on the bottom of the YouTube homepage, click on the Settings gear.
  • At the bottom of the Settings page, click on the “Restricted Mode” button.
  • Turn on “Restricted Mode” and click Save.

9.  Remove distractions

Another way you can create a safer experience for children on YouTube is by taking advantage of free Chrome extensions that allow you to modify the web-based version of YouTube to remove things such as recommended videos and autoplay.

DF Tube is an extension that, once installed, will allow you to click on a video and just see that video without all of the clutter and excess content that YouTube puts onto the screen. The options menu also includes the ability to customize your experience by hiding the various sidebars and comments based on your preferences. The only consideration to note is that since it is a Chrome extension, it will only work with the Chrome browser.

10. Create custom playlists

While this does require you to curate content ahead of time, you can create playlists for your child that contains videos that you approve of them watching. Adding and managing playlists is also a relatively seamless process and can be done simply by searching YouTube for the videos you want and then using the “Save” button to add them to the desired playlist.

11. Use content filtering

One step that some parents have taken to monitor device usage in their household is to install a home content filter similar to the ones used by school districts.

Content filters not only allow you to block content you many not want but allow you to see what has been accessed. OpenDNS, SafeDNS, and NetNanny are just a few of the options available to parents. Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you may be able to get one with more advanced and customizable features which allow you to create an even safer online environment for your children.

You can find a comparison of the various products here: The Best Parental Control Software for 2019

12. Have children keep an access or usage reflection journal

Some parents have opted to use alternative content apps such as Noggin, Nick Jr., or PBS Kids where they know the content is controlled by the source.  Though that may seem like a catch-all solution, it is important to engage your children in conversation about their viewing habits and engage with them about your family’s technology usage values.  When applicable find the teachable moments to help your children understand the responsible use of technology.

***

For the full article:  12 Ways To Make YouTube Safer For Children

For more information about the Academic program at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Academic camp page, today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps