Aha! Blog

Family Camping—A Breath of Fresh Air for Kids

It’s late afternoon. I’m writing this sitting in a lawn chair in front of a campfire, part of a tidy arrangement of tents and RVs. Above me is a canopy of trees. “Next door,” a mother and her small child are curled up in a chaise reading together...

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What I Learned Today about Monsters, Recess and Waiting

I had some fun drawing and making art with a classroom full of enthusiastic 2nd Graders today. I showed some of my art and they showed me some of theirs and then I even got the chance to sniff some of their "smelly markers." It was a good...

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The Hidden Benefits of Hidden Pictures

There is something universally appealing about puzzles, no matter what our age or particular passion: jigsaw puzzles, word searches, mazes, Sudoku, or any of the puzzle-type games we have stored on our phones. The best puzzles are challenging but...

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A Short, Sweet Season of Childhood

When I was a toddler, family legend goes, another child tossed my lovey, a ragdoll I had named Monica, into a small barrel of trash that had just been lit. Before any of the adults present could stop me, I reached in and snatched my doll from the...

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Teaching Your Kids to Write Handwritten Letters: It’s Like Sending a Hug in the Mail

I’ve always thought that receiving a handwritten letter is like getting a hug in the mail.

I’m one of probably a handful of people who are truly excited—who even know—that April is National Card- and Letter-Writing Month. I’m in an even...

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What Is the Value in Children Doing Puzzles?

Over the past 15 years I have studied the effects of media on children, and I continue to work to help create good content for children, both on and off screen. But as a mother of three children, I understand at a deeper level that digital screen...

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Does Talking to Adults Tongue-Tie Your Kids?

When my firstborn was just a baby, an artist friend introduced me to his children,  who were ages six and eight. I was surprised and delighted when each made eye contact, said hello audibly, and offered a handshake. They seemed so comfortable and...

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The Secret to Learning a New Language? Getting a Great Start in the Home Language

“I want Sofía to learn English, but I feel funny reading in English when I’m just beginning to learn the language myself. Is it OK if I read to my daughter in Spanish sometimes?” Mrs. Ramirez asked her daughter’s preschool teacher, Susan. She was...

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Parents Are Distracted

We have a new “baby” in our house—a puppy named Lily. Now, it’s been years since I had my three little ones at my feet, but when we brought her home, I thought, No sweat. I can handle a little bundle of joy in my life again, albeit a furry one....

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Optimism: The Silver Lining in a Chaotic World

When I rock a baby in my arms, the world just seems right.

Will somebody bring me a rocking chair and a baby to borrow so the world rights itself again? Lately, the world seems like a pretty crazy place.

In my (literal) neck of the...

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