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Importance Of Leisure Reading For Teens

Leisure reading can be referred to as reading any book, novel or magazines in your free time. Earlier when there used to be no televisions or computers, reading was the primary leisure activity for kids. Kids and teens loved to read comics, story books or even light novels. With the changing times and advent of technology, children prefer to play video games or chat on the Internet with their friends. They have somehow lost their passion for reading. As leisure reading offers a productive approach to improve vocabulary and word power, teens should be encouraged to pick the habit of reading in their leisure time. The leisure reading will help them perform better in school. There are various advantages associated with reading that show how important leisure reading is for teens. A few of them are:

  • Higher IQ level: The teenagers who have a habit of leisure reading have comparatively higher IQs. They have a tendency to perform much better in academics and are also very creative. Parents are advised to infuse the habit of reading in their kids in early years because it is observed that those kids will have better communication skills.
  • Mental exercise: Reading is to mind what exercise is to body and this wonderful habit assists in mental development. Reading also is known to stimulate eye muscles. It also helps improve the concentration of the reader. This leisure activity adds to the individual’s conversational skills while enhancing the knowledge consistently.
  • Vocabulary: Reading is a way to improve your grammatical skills as well as vocab. Teenagers, who choose to take an exit exam for getting admission in graduate high school, perform well if they are into the habit of reading since these exams test the vocabulary of the student.
  • Exposure: Besides adding to general knowledge, the readers are exposed to different subjects, stories, cultures, people and their ideology. Leisure reading broadens the horizons of the teenagers making them think well personally as well as professionally. Reading different books help the teenagers explore different things.
  • Relaxation: Reading a good book can divert a teen’s mind from his everyday text books and can also help him relax and calm down.
  • Inexpensive habit: This leisure activity is a safe and healthy form of enjoying your free time. Unlike other hobbies like playing video games, watching movies or even listening to songs on some costly mp3 player, the hobby of reading is very inexpensive.

We at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas organize year-round kids activities for boys and girls of 6-18 years of age.  We provide a variety of grouped and individual recreational, educational and social programs. You can contact us at 304 W Ave B, Killeen, TX – 76541 or call us at 254-699-5808 Ext: 102.

Fun Fitness Activities For Kids

If you ask a kid about his favorite games, he will undoubtedly mention some video games or computer games. These days, kids are more involved in high-tech digital games than the outdoor kids activities. Also, playing video games is one of the basic reasons for the rise in child obesity. Playing outdoors, on the other hand, helps the child to stay fit and healthy. The fast paced life has somehow restricted you to spend time with your kids and encourage them to participate in sports or other fun filled activities. But, if you want your child to be strong and live healthy, then you will have to boost him to indulge in fitness activities.

Here are a few fun activities that you can enjoy with your kids while ensuring their fitness.

  • Frisbee Golf:  Frisbee golf is a popular game among people of all age-groups, which combines the fitness advantages with the pleasure of playing a fun game. It is very much like regular golf, the only difference being that the players use a flying disc or Frisbee in this game. All you need to play Frisbee Golf is a large grass field and colored cones that you place at the four holes. For every hole, you need to place one cone by the tee area of the hole and the other at the target area. You have to repeat the same thing for all the holes. The game involves throwing the Frisbee from the tee area to the target for the hole and then run to the Frisbee. You need to hit the target in as less throws as possible while facing obstacles in the way, if any.
  • Musical Chairs: ‘Musical chairs’ is a very common fun-filled and entertaining game that aims to make children active. It’s a simple game that requires chair or hula loops set next to each other.  There is one chair less than the number of players. The kids have to move around the chairs when the music starts and are supposed to sit on the chair when the music stops. The one left out is asked to perform some dancing or singing as a punishment. One of the chairs is taken out after every round.
  • Cheerleading: Cheerleading is certainly a great way to keep your kid fit and active. This activity involves the cheerleaders to keep physically strong. The cheerleaders are required to exercise regularly so that their arms, leg and abdomen are energetic during performances.

We at Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas offer various sports and recreational activities for your kids including cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, photography, digital art and many more. To enroll your kid in any of these programs, kindly visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Digital Art For Kids

The word digital is clubbed with almost everything in our lives today and art is no exception. Today, even art has gone digital and you can now use your computer to create any form of art. The advancement in computer and graphic technology lets you create great pieces of art and any other expression of your creativity with complete accuracy and neatness. There are a myriad of features to help you excel at your creation, which were simply impossible to have access to in the yesteryears.

Digital art being a modern field, is catching up fast in web designing, graphic designing, music technology, photo illustration, etc. It has become important to introduce digital art in schools so as to make children familiar with how to use their computers to create a piece of art. Music has been shown to have a positive impact on kids as it helps them develop a fondness for learning and at the same time, they develop the confidence of composing their own music easily on their computers. They can play any instrument of their choice on their computers with extreme ease.

Web designing is also an offshoot of digital art and a fast growing career amongst the youngsters of today. Kids can also be taught to modify photographs digitally by using special software for enhancing the images and transforming them into a piece of art. They can also make use of this technology through graphic designing whereby they can create posters, logos etc to put across a point. This can also transform into a remunerative career for them in future and increase their confidence in using the computer to communicate their ideas.

Introducing kids to digital art early on teaches them how to use their computers for creative tasks and not just for simple jobs tasks such as typewriting, surfing, or playing games. It helps them put their imagination to use, generate new ideas and explore new avenues of being creative. Digital art makes learning an exciting experience that kids look forward to and enjoy. No age is too young to introduce kids to digital art as even pre-schoolers can scribble and paint anything of their choice. Bigger kids can draw, paint, and add interesting effects to their work. Let your kid explore the vast world of digital art and set his own limits on how far he wants to tread on this exciting journey of creativity.

We at the Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas organize Digital Arts Suite and Festivals that includes programs like Web Tech (Web page design), Design Tech (graphic design), Photo Tech (photo illustration), Music Tech and  Movie Tech. To know more about these programs visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Building Self-Esteem In Children

Self-esteem can be defined as feeling of perceiving worthwhile about you. With a good self-esteem a child will not be scared of trying new things without much fear of failing. A good self-esteem in a child will let him reach out and make friends. It will also help him to settle down the frivolous problems that he comes across. Your child would build a solid foundation for life with a good self-esteem. Self esteem develops during infancy and keeps going on until we are adults. A child may experience low self-esteem if he does not feel loved by his family. Likewise, a child who is hesitant about his or her own abilities can also develop a low self-esteem.

Kids keep on trying new things unless they succeed, thus developing ideas about their own capabilities. Therefore, childhood is the best time to develop and promote self-esteem. Parents play a key role to helping kids form accurate, healthy self-perceptions. Given below are few tips for parents to follow that will help their child to develop a healthy self-esteem:

  • Be a Positive Role Model: Children see their parents as their role models. They do whatever their parents will. If the parents will often say ‘I can’t do’ or ‘I won’t be able to do’, then children will also start developing the ‘can’t do’ attitude and will shirk from work.
  • Encourage Positive Risk Taking: A self-confident child will have the inner fortitude to try new things or kids activities, even if there is a risk of failure. Encourage them as they try out new skills. Walk with your kid on unfamiliar paths just for the adventure of seeing where you reach. This will raise the confidence of trying out new things within your kid.
  • Let Children Make Choices: Let your toddler choose what he or she wants to wear for the party. Let your kid make a choice on whatever he wants to eat when you go out for a meal. After he is done with his selection let him know about the good and bad aspects of the food item that he ordered, in a calm and humble way. Asking the kid to select what he or she wants, will lead to attain self confidence in a child.
  • Let Children Solve Problems: When a child is in some frivolous problem, let him help himself. There is no need to rush to help him. Just give him time to be creative enough to sort out things. This will not only develop self confidence in your child but will also help him to be self-dependent.

We at Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas organize ‘Goals for Growth’ program for kids between the age group 8-12 years. The program helps them identify their own strengths and enhances their self-esteem with various kids’ activities. For more details, visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Athletics For Kids

Involving your kids in athletics could be one of the best things you could be gifting them. It means fitness and self-confidence for lifetime.  It has been observed that kids these days have a tendency of slipping into sedentary lifestyles owing to the boom of technology. They prefer spending their free time on computers or watching their favorite TV shows instead of participating in outdoor activities.

The rise of obesity in the United States of America is a sign of the alarming condition of today’s kids. A poor lifestyle leads to poor eating habits, which in turn make kids lazier leading to unnecessary weight gain and other health complications at an early age. It is high time parents in the United States motivated their kids to participate in athletic and other kids activities for their better future.

Athletics comprise of running, jumping and throwing, all being activities that require strength and regular practice. Athletics benefit kids profoundly in the following ways:

  • Health benefits: Athletics help kids stay active and fit due to the nature of activities involved. This keeps a check on their weight as they eat only when hungry and do not suffer from unnecessary cravings of junk food. This discipline as far as food and an active lifestyle are concerned stays with them throughout their lives keeping them lean even as adults. Another major health benefit is that such kids are less prone to stress and depression as adults.
  • Socializing: Athletics give kids an opportunity to interact with other kids from different backgrounds thus improving their social skills. They learn how to put up with all sorts of behavior like tantrums and bossiness displayed by other kids. Being a part of a team helps them learn the value of cooperation with others and sportsmanship. Kids develop great friendships on the field and learn to respect each other. They end up becoming disciplined adults with strong work ethics and perseverance to go through the toughest situations.
  • Better academic performance: Kids involved in athletics show signs of improved motor skills and strategic thinking, which helps them perform better academically. They even focus on their studies better as they are less tempted to go towards drugs and other wrong habits.
  • Inexpensive: You do not have to think twice before engaging your child in athletics as it is very affordable as compared to other forms of sports. All your kids need to do is change into their sports gear and run off as there is no expensive sports equipment involved.

We at Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas organize various sports and recreational activities for your kids including Tackle Football, Basketball, volleyball, Track and Cheerleading. For more details, visit us at Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Make Your Kids Eat The Right Food

As a parent, you are always thinking about what kind of food your kids should eat in order to maintain good health. Since a balanced and healthy diet is essential for a kid’s growing body, every parent must know the importance of nutrition. Nutritious food gives your children the energy they need and help in their overall physical and mental development. With little efforts, parents can easily instill healthy eating habits in their kids at an early age. However, peer pressure and the growing trend of junk food makes this task a challenge for the parents. Therefore, it becomes extremely important for the parents to make their kids eat the right food in a very positive way. Let’s see how parents can teach their kids healthy eating habits.

  • Be a good role model: Parents are a role model for kids who are likely to do whatever their role model does. They will develop the eating habits of their parents. If the parents pick up healthy snacks and cereals to eat, the kids are sure to follow and eat a healthy and nutritious meal. Frequent family meals encourage the kids for healthier food choices.
  • Take your kids out for shopping: Whenever you go out for grocery shopping take your kids along with you and talk to them about various food products that are sold in a grocery store like fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs etc. Tell them how these foods effect the body and what are the several benefits of eating healthy stuff. This will make a good impression of the healthy food stuff in their minds and they will log on to a nutritious diet.
  • Flexibility in food is also necessary: Don’t just stick to a healthy meal choice for every day. A special treat of pizza or any other food just once a week won’t do any harm. Rather this would help make them have an enjoyable experience and will also help your child to maintain healthy eating habits.
  • Prepare a personal food planner with your kids: A personal food planner will help your kids pick up more nutritious food and avoid unhealthy food. Sit and prepare a chart with your kids that include the food stuff that should be avoided and all the healthy meals that should be included in his diet.  In the chart you can also include the food stuff that your kid likes but is not much healthy and can be eaten occasionally. This will help your kid to pick nutritive food items.
  • Avoid highly processed food:  Highly processed food contains preservatives, chemicals, synthetic fats, additives, artificial sweeteners, and food colorings. These things are harmful for a growing kid. He/she may develop certain allergies, obesity, high blood pressure that leads to hazardous diseases. Therefore, try to completely avoid this food stuff or you can allow your kids to eat them seldom.

We at Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas run various child care programs to incorporate healthy living and active learning in your kids. The program emphasizes on good nutrition, physical activities and overall well being. To register, visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Fine Arts For Kids

Molding a kid into a successful person not only involves good grades and knowledge gathered from the classroom, but also involves other kids activities including expression through art. Art is often seen as a   pastime for which many do not have enough time to indulge in due to their busy schedules. However, it is one of the most important aspects of education for the holistic development of a child’s personality.

Fine arts for kids is not just limited to drawing and painting but encompasses a lot more such as printmaking, collages, mixed media, sculpting, architecture, engraving, music, theatre, etc. Exposing children to such forms of art during their free time will do much more good to them than letting them slouch in front of TVs and computer screens. Here is a list of some major benefits that children who are involved in artwork experience:

  • Improvement in academic performance: In addition to tapping your child’s creative potential, the involvement of children in any form of fine arts that they like has a positive impact on their academic performance. Such children develop the confidence of participating in competitions like essay writing, science fairs, poetry, etc and fare better than those who are not into art.
  • Emotional outlet: Children who make fine arts a part of their lives exhibit calm dispositions and cope with stress better. They show fewer signs of irritability like tantrums and addiction to gadgets and media. These children are self-reliant and usually take refuge in their artwork when overwhelmed.
  • Brain development: Kids passionate about art are more receptive to learning as it is believed that both the sides of their brain are fully active and exhibit more neural connections than the brains of other kids. They are open to new ideas and have an inclination towards thinking out of the box in every sphere of their lives.
  • Overall development: Children engaged in fine arts not only exhibit better academic performance but also show better results in non-academic areas. They perform better socially due immense cultural exposure, have high self esteem, express themselves better, and develop a sense of aesthetic awareness.

Making art a regular part of the lives of children both at school and at home will have profound benefits on their personalities making them sensitive to world around, helping them solve problems better, learn the importance of teams and help them value order, integrity, and cooperation.

We at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas organize year-round fine art programs for kids between the age group 6-18 years. These programs include drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and a lot more. To register your kid in the various art programs, please call Ms Caroll Dunn at 254-699-5808.

Teaching Your Child Basic Computer Skills

Be it at home, in schools, or at the workplace, computers have become an intrinsic part of our lives these days. They not only have an important role in the lives of adults, but also form a major part of the lives of children today. Gone are the days when children were restricted to papers and pencils and some toys. Now they have access to lots of informative material, games, and other websites for their entertainment.

Some parents feel it is not important to accustom a child to the computer in his early years, but this could be a fixation that could make him lag behind in major areas of his studies in school. Children will need computers for research work regarding their homework, school projects, online exams, and later in their college years and careers.

The least you can do, as a parent is to introduce your child to some basic computer skills early on. The following is a list of some things you can familiarize your child with:

  • Provided your child is capable of holding a pencil on his own and figuring out what it is meant for, he is ready to master the basics of a computer. You can start with teaching him basic etiquettes like cleaning hands and keeping eatables aside before handling the computer.
  • Teach him how to turn it on and off laying special emphasis on patiently waiting for all the programs to load before starting any activity. Let him know switching it off directly can be harmful for the computer and he should use the shut down option instead.
  • Let your toddler experiment with sound and number games  in addition to fun activities like painting and scribbling with a cursor to master the art of using a mouse or touch pad.
  • Slightly older children who are of school going age can be introduced to the concept of search engines and how to use them for their homework. At this stage, it is important to impose some rules regarding using the internet and use parental control to prevent your child from having access to inappropriate websites.
  • Accustom your child to the keyboard and teach him skills like clicking and dragging a mouse. Handling a mouse can be a tricky job for a preschooler and this is where you have to patiently teach him how to coordinate all his movements until he learns how to handle the mouse without lifting his gaze from the computer screen.

We at Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas organize Skill Tech program to develop kids’ proficiency with basic computer skills, word processing, spreadsheet and other productivity software with fun, engaging lessons and projects.  To make your kid a part of this program, contact Ms. Carol Dunn at 254-699-5808 or visit Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541.

Making Studies Interesting For Kids

Grasping new things and learning new concepts at school can sometimes be boring and quite frustrating for kids. The young ones may also start shirking study time. If somehow we can make study process interesting and more like a plaything for kids, then they will definitely develop interest in studies. Here are a few tips on how you can make study time fascinating for kids:

  • Give practical examples: Giving relevant real life examples will make the kids understand any new subject. You can use various objects in and around to demonstrate many of the simple mathematical and scientific fundamentals. A kid would understand the logic better when taught in a practical way.
  • Play games: You can improve the vocabulary of your kids and also help them learn spelling by playing fun games like scrabble. Creating simple crossword puzzles and asking the kid to solve them would let him/her remember new words along with their meanings. Various tried-and-tested mnemonic tricks or the ones created by you would help the kid to remember certain lists, for example VIBGYOR to remember the seven colors of rainbow in sequence.
  • Songs and dances: You can help your child memorize particular facts by framing them out in some dance and songs. Singing and dancing in a certain flow or rhythm will help your kid grasp the topic with utmost ease.
  • Online search: Use internet to make historical figures more interesting for your kids. You can search for the particular historical figure that your kid is studying about in the school. Tell him/her the fun facts about that historical character. Narrating the importance of that character in history would also generate interest in kids. For example, you can tell your kid the story of Graham Bell who discovered telephone or Aryabhatt who introduced ‘0’ in mathematics.
  • Museums and science parks: You can take the children to various historical museums and scientific parks, where they will learn more easily about the things that are being taught at school. Going into details might confuse the kids. Therefore, tell the most prominent features that the kids would easily remember.
  • Kids club: There are certain parents who cannot give enough time to their kids. This problem is faced by most of the working class owing to their tight office schedule. This can make the kids suffer in studies. Therefore, there are various kids clubs to deal with this problem and make the child academically strong. These clubs for kids aim at making studies exciting and more interesting.

We at Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas organize ‘Power Hour’ for kids between the age group of 6-16. This program aims at helping kids in their homework and providing them tutoring classes. We also encourage them to become self-directed learners. For more details, visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.

Healthy Eating Habits For Teenagers

Teenage years are a crucial period for growth and physiological changes, which in turn put a high demand on the body for energy and nutrients. Eating healthy during these years can have immense benefits in adulthood. There will be fewer chances of weight related problems and chances are, you will end up looking younger and being highly energetic.

Teenagers always seem to be in a hurry and in the process, compromise on their meals. Most of them skip breakfast while others munch onto some junk food to compensate for a missed meal. The immediate effect of this is a slow metabolic rate and varying blood sugar levels, which play havoc with the overall well being of the body.

The following are some guidelines that may be helpful in the development of healthy eating habits in teens:

  • Lots of energy and nutrients: Teenagers who eat a balanced diet comprising starchy carbohydrates, lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy products help their bodies develop to their fullest potential and feel fresh and full of energy. Fatty and sugar rich foods should be taken in negligible portions. Other than this, they should drink plenty of water.
  • Never skip a meal: Teens are obsessed with weight loss and skip meals thinking it will help them stay lean. On the contrary, skipping a meal only ends up making you feel sluggish and increases the urge to binge on “anything” when a hunger pang strikes. Eating in time, that too small portions of about six meals a day, keeps your weight in check. In addition to the three basic meals of the day, incorporating healthy snacks in between could be a great habit that will pay back in the years to come.
  • Avoid dieting: Dieting seems to be a shortcut to having the perfect body for girls. However, it is not good for your health. During these years of growth and development, your body needs all types of foods and depriving it will only show its ill effects on your skin, hair, and body. In fact, after dieting, your body tends to put on almost double the weight. The best policy is to eat everything in moderation and to choose what you eat.
  • Eating etiquettes: Basic eating etiquettes like eating slowly, sharing your food, and taking small servings first can help you eat wisely and judiciously as a teenager. Eating slowly lets you eat only how much you require. Small servings will discourage overeating while sharing with others cuts down on the quantity you consume.

We at Boys and Girls Clubs Of Central Texas run various programs to incorporate healthy living and active learning in your kids. The program emphasizes on good nutrition, physical activities and overall well being. For more details, visit us at 304 W Ave B, TX- 76541 or call Ms. Carol Dunn (Administrative assistant) at 254-699-5808, Ext: 102.