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Featured Posts

Feliz Navidad: Celebrate Mexican Holiday Traditions

Feliz Navidad: Celebrate Mexican Holiday Traditions

The Mexican Christmas season kicks off December 12 with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico City and all of the Americas) and ends two weeks past December 25. Read on to l . . .

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Hanukkah Mini Menorah

Hanukkah Mini Menorah

Make an edible and festive Hanukkah centerpiece for the children’s table! Ingredients10 mini powdered donuts
1 (16-oz) can vanilla frosting
Blue food coloring
Silver dragées
9 blue candy . . .

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San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017

Stumped for ideas on the perfect present to tuck under the tree or surprise your kiddos with this holiday season? Look no further than San Diego Family's 100 Kid Tested Holiday Toys - 2017 . From lo . . .

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Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Holiday Events for Families with Special Needs

Don’t miss these festivities designed specifically for children with special needs and their families. Make Christmas memories with sensory-friendly performances and encounters with Santa; or join a . . .

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Very Best Fudge

Very Best Fudge

3  cups granulated sugar 1  can (12 fluid ounces) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk 1/4  cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine 1/2  teaspoon salt 4  cups miniature marshm . . .

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Silent Nights: Help Kids Sleep Well During the Holidays

Silent Nights: Help Kids Sleep Well During the Holidays

The holidays aren’t always sleep-friendly for families with small children. From late-night parties and holiday travel to school performances and visiting relatives, the season is packed with slee . . .

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Kids Who Doodle
Time Waster or Concentration Booster?

One of my earliest memories is watching my mother sketch attractive whimsical faces while talking on the phone. My sons’ binders are covered with detailed dragons, elephants, and superheroes, and I am a geometric doodler, endlessly tracing triangles and squares with a pencil to stay alert. I thought doodling was a lazy habit, but a new study says there are positive benefits for memory and concentration.

Kids Who Doodle? Is it good or bad?Scribble Research
Current research suggests the state of the brain during boredom looks more like a busy bee than a lazy bum. In an article in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, Jackie Andrade, a professor of psychology at the University of Plymouth, says when people are bored they actually have high levels of brain activity.

In Andrade’s recent study, participants listened to a boring phone message and half were introduced to a doodling task. The doodlers dominated non-doodlers in retaining information, recalling 29 percent more information. She writes, “When you’re bored, you think nothing much is going on, but actually your brain is looking for something to do.” She says the brain is designed to constantly process information and when it encounters a lack of stimulation it’s a problem.

Bored? Doodling to the Rescue
Doodling helps in a state of boredom by minimizing the need to resort to daydreams when stimulation is low. Andrade believes her study’s results suggest “doodling may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing.”

The act of doodling seems to aid in concentration by providing just the right amount of stimulation to keep the brain busy and avoid retreating to fantasy world mode. You always knew penning those sweet French poodles and shading those balloons during boring calls and board meetings were helpful!

Doodling Students
The ramifications for classroom doodling are intriguing. If doodling is a simple way for the brain to remain on task and a tool, which prevents “drifting,” it could possibly become an effective memory aid for learning. Perhaps, inviting students to doodle during complex lectures will become commonplace in the future. It certainly seems worth a try in certain contexts given the prevalence of attention issues at school.

Doodling requires little mental energy and may be a smart choice for kids needing an extra tool in their concentration arsenal. Who knows? Maybe the next Picasso or Matisse will be discovered during a dry science lecture on sound waves!

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Michele Ranard is a freelance writer.

Published: December 2010




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