Apple Camp=Free Summer Fun

Looking for a summer activity for creative kids that enjoy technology? Apple Camp is a free 3-day program offered at Apple retail stores across the country for children ages 8-12. Each session is 90-minutes and gives participants the opportunity to express their creativity using Apple products.  There are three different camps to choose from this summer. Information for each camp, from the Apple Camp website, is below.

Creating Characters and Composing Music: Stories through drawings and sounds. Campers will start their session by sketching characters and scenes with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, then they’ll explore the basics for composing a track using GarageBand. They’ll bring their story to life by adding vocals and finishing touches.

Stories in Motion with iMovie: Ideas into real movies. Campers will learn how to brainstorm and storyboard. Then they’ll get hands-on with movie-making techniques like learning camera angles and editing with iMovie. On the final day, they’ll present their masterpieces.

Coding Games and Programming Robots: Programming through interactive play.
Kids will learn visual-based coding by solving puzzles with Tynker. Then they’ll learn how to program Sphero robots, and even create fun stories starring Sphero as the main character.

You do not have to own the products that are used for the camps. Apple provides the equipment for use during the sessions. Participants will also receive a free shirt (size selected during registration).

If you want to add this event to your family’s summer activity list, I suggest doing it quickly. Registration opened today, and I can see an offer like this filling up quickly. Visit the Apple Camp website for more information and to register. Participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parents remain on-site during the camp sessions, so keep this in mind when selecting your dates/times.

Negative Thought Patterns: 20 Ways to Explore their Accuracy

Changing the way we view events can be a power tool in our coping toolbox. Negative thinking weighs heavy on our minds and our hearts. Sometimes our negative thoughts are accurate. Other times, our patterns of negative thinking may lead us to thinking about our situations less accurately. Since many of us would rather have less stress, sadness, and worry in our lives, examining our thoughts for accurate thinking can be a helpful stress management skill.

How do we know if our thoughts are accurate? We think about, what we are thinking about.

Ask yourself, am I….

  1. Thinking about the situation in an absolute (all-or-nothing) way?
  2. Thinking about this situation as being very likely to happen, when it is uncommon?
  3. Confusing my thoughts about the situation with the facts?
  4. Basing conclusions on my thoughts, without considering all the facts?
  5. Blaming myself for something that was not in my control?
  6. Overlooking (or underestimating) my contribution to the conflict/problem in the situation?
  7. Thinking the situation is all about me, when it may have little or nothing to do with me?
  8. Asking questions that do not have answers?
  9. Making myself out to be a horrible person, based on one event?
  10. Overlooking my strengths?
  11. Underestimating the problem solving and coping skills that I can contribute in the situation?
  12. Expecting perfection from myself or others in the situation?
  13. Thinking about the current situation for what it is, or making it a “forever event?” Meaning it is exactly like a previous event and will be occurring again in the future.
  14. Exaggerating details or outcomes of the situation?
  15. Making this situation a bigger deal than it needs to be?
  16. Open to other possible explanations for my actions or the actions of others?
  17. Thinking and identifying other ways to view the situation or assuming my view is the only one?
  18. Finding any good things about the situation or that can be an outcome of the situation?
  19. Assuming there is nothing that I can do to change my situation?
  20. Identifying parts of the situation that are in my control and actions I can take to lead to positive change?

Great Game for Upcoming Summer Trips

Parents often complain and report concerns that their tweens and teens communicate less often and that they have difficulty in getting their children to talk and spend time together. With summer around the corner, family trips might include long car or airplane rides, which provide great settings to connect and chat with your children. A fun way to facilitate conversation is to bring along a funny and engaging game to play- Would You Rather…? Would You Rather…? is the game of “mind-boggling questions.” It is a card game which poses funny, silly, quirky, and interesting scenarios in which you have to choose between two options (there is also a board game version but we recommend the card deck for ease of mobility and transport). You can play according to the game rules of trying to predict what others will choose, or you can make your own rules. Want to see how your children/family/friends perceive and problem solve? Have each person answer the same scenario and explain their rationale for their choice. Want to work on collaboration and negotiation? Make a rule that the entire group has to reach an agreed-upon decision. There are endless ways to modify the game to fit your needs! Children and teens often find the scenarios interesting and hilarious, and will often be willing to join in the fun. The deck is inexpensive ($7.99-$10.00) and can be found at many common retailers (Walmart, Target, etc) or online (Amazon). Don’t forget that when buying things on Amazon to visit and choose to support Learning Dynamics Inc. or other charitable organizations. Happy travels to you and your family!

Say Something Nice Day

Great job! Way to go! You worked so hard! I appreciate you! Simple phrases that can provide a great impact- be it to your children, spouse, employees, students, or anyone. Positive and encouraging phrases not only impact the person being told, but also those who say it. Think back to the last time you genuinely acknowledged or praised someone for their efforts- it probably made their day, as well as yours. Kind words and acknowledgment have been related to improved productivity in the workplace, increased compliance, and closer relationships.

Why say something nice today? Because today is National Say Something Nice Day! It’s a perfect day to make someone’s day a little brighter with a kind word, compliment and/or praise. Need ideas? Here are some links to sites that provide great examples of phrases and words to praise others.


100+ Ways to Praise a Child

101 Ideas to Motivate, Recognize and Reward Employees That Cost Nothing (or Very Little)… 

100 compliments ready to deliver right this minute 

It’s National Physical Fitness & Sports Month- Get Active!

May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, a great time to get active! During the month of May, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition challenges all adults to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Regular activity boosts physical health and increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life- including reducing your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer… AND regular exercise also provides mental health benefits including improving mood, promoting better quality sleep, increased energy, sharper memory and thinking, and much more!

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition general guidelines recommend that adults:

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights or using exercise bands – at least 2 days a week.

Physical activity is for everyone! No matter what shape you are in, you can find activities that work for you. Together, we can rise to the challenge and get more active during the month of May and continue throughout the entire year! Here are 5 small steps you can take to increase physical activity during your daily routine:

  1. Take a walk! Whether it be by yourself, with a neighbor, coworker, with the family pet, etc. make time to take brisk walks regularly. Spending time outside can be relaxing and energizing; if spent with others, it can also create a great time to communicate and connect.
  2. Visit a local gym or fitness studio. Many studios and gyms offer FREE introductory classes and/or short-term trial memberships. Visit different studios and gyms to see which you like best. You are more likely to stick to a regular exercise routine if you enjoy the activity and format.
  3. Play! Let your inner child out and engage in physical play with your children, neighbors, nieces, nephews, etc. Kids love it when adults play games with them. From playing tag to Frisbee, there are many games you can play at a local park or even in your backyard.
  4. Avoid conveniences. Increase your physical activity by taking the stairs instead of using the elevator, parking further away from store entrances, when you run your errands walk between the different stores/stops, etc. You’d be surprised how small steps can make a big difference.
  5. Use technology. Download a fitness app or use a fitness tracker. There are many fitness programs with downloadable apps which can guide you in exercise and physical activity you can do from the comfort of your own home. Some of our favorites include the Couch to 5k and the 7 Minute Workout Challenge. Our office particularly enjoys incorporating fitness trackers. Many phones can track your steps and physical activity, or you can also buy a fitness tracker- we love our Fitbits! We use them to track our daily steps, and love competing with each other in challenges. We are better able to monitor our levels of physical activity (or lack thereof) and can be more intentional in taking breaks and walking to get our steps in and get moving.