We sometimes think of volunteering as something that requires long hours and hard work. Some opportunities do—and are totally worth it. But there are ways to fit volunteering into even the busiest schedule. Enter microvolunteering.

This kind of volunteering fits into those slots in your day when you’d otherwise have a snack, drink another coffee or swipe through social media posts that—let’s be honest—you’ve probably already seen. Even better, it’ll leave you with the fuzzies instead of a sugar high, caffeine jitters or FOMO.

Microvolunteering is usually done in short bursts, often on a digital platform and generally involves completing discrete tasks, such as writing a letter or tracking your workouts to raise funds. “The key points [to microvolunteering] are the timeframe (not exceeding one to two hours), the lack of required commitment, doing it on one’s own and contributing a small piece to a larger project,” explains Eric Shirley, manager of corporate events and projects at Volunteer Canada, an organization that works with non-profits and companies to encourage volunteerism.


Microvolunteers often see immediate rewards, which can be very satisfying. “Platforms award virtual badges, display the amount of funds raised and show a history of completed tasks,” Shirley says. As with regular volunteer work, it can be an opportunity to develop or showcase your skills or pursue a particular interest. For example, one innovative platform lets you share your love of language by playing word games with kids. (More on that fun option later!) Unlike some other volunteer work, though, microvolunteering doesn’t require extensive training and can benefit almost any organization around the globe—not just those in your community.


Microvolunteers can be disconnected from the organizations they help. That’s because, as Shirley explains, microvolunteers are “more likely to be working with international opportunities, not necessarily in [their] local community.” Plus, the non-profit you’re contributing to has no guarantee of your commitment, which can make it hard to plan initiatives. And because many microvolunteer platforms are app- or web-based, using them means you’re getting that much more screen time each day.

Glad you asked! Here are five ways to get started:

This app tracks your workouts (or your commute) to raise money for a charity of your choice. For every mile you cycle, stride or jog, it will donate money from corporate sponsors to organizations that range from Habitat for Humanity to Every Mother Counts and Shot@Life.

Sign up for emails, download the app or follow the Urgent Action Network on Twitter to be notified when people are in danger due to human rights violations, then join the letter-writing campaigns by sending your own message or using a sample letter.

Instead of browsing the internet while eating at your desk, spend those 30 minutes listening to a Grade 1 student reading a book and playing word games with them on a video link through the TutorMate program.

For every vocabulary question you answer correctly on Free Rice, 10 grains of rice go to the UN’s World Food Program. Plus, you can challenge friends—proof that volunteering doesn’t have to be totally selfless.

Remember when you were young and it felt like the world was your oyster, but also, you had no clue what you wanted to do? Help students going through this stage by answering questions about your chosen career on Career Village, a forum-style website.

KRECHELLE has eight people in her household and she manages to always keep it clean and tidy. This is how she does it.

“GIRL, how is your house so clean with six children, work and school and all the fights?”

The truth is, if you come mid nerf battle on a spaghetti bolognese day there is just no hiding that eight people definitely live and eat here.

But for the most part it’s tidy. And that makes me happy. I suppose we stick to a few simple rules.

1. Kids help

We paint, we build blocks, we get muddy outside. The kids can have tons of messy fun but they must clean up after themselves, always. Toys go back away, dirty clothes go in the wash and clean clothes go in their allotted spots.

They know how to put things in the bin. Get themselves dressed. How to put their clothes in the wash. Where their shoes and bags go. How to make their beds. It’s just routine and habit. I’m not a slave driver. But they have responsibilities and for the most part, they enjoy them.

2. Throw sh*t out

No but seriously. I only have pots and pans I use regularly, I have minimal furniture, enough blankets for each person in the house but we don’t have useless sh*t. No one needs six sheet sets; you just don’t. You don’t need a set of Tupperware you’ve never used before. I know Aunt Betty gave you it for your seventh wedding anniversary but if you’re not using it, it goes.

And that broken toy on top of the fridge that’s been there for two years that you’re ‘totally going to fix any day now’ — THROW it out. If it doesn’t make you happy and you don’t use it regularly, you do not need it. Maybe someone else does?

3. Stuff is sorted. Always. Mostly always

New stuff comes in and old stuff goes out. Things stay folded. We try and keep it regularly sorted. We have a blanket cupboard, a dinosaur storage box, an art storage box, a gift wrapping area, a vacuum cupboard, a cleaning cupboard. You get the picture.

Things that aren’t used again, we throw. Everything has a place. Organisation is the key. Our drawers aren’t full of crap except for our ONE “crap drawer”. Everyone needs one “full of crap drawer”. With pens and rubber bands and hair ties and paddle pop sticks and takeaway menus.

4. Utilise your morning

I never close the door for school run on a dirty house. Well, almost never. I make sure the kids have tidied their rooms and made their beds. If they mess the lounge playing forts in the morning, they tidy it up as we walk out the door. The sink and benches must be clear and washing swapped first thing. It works and it’s done by about 7.20.

The rest of my day is clear when I step out of the door at 8.20am. OK 8.30 … or maybe 8.43.

We’re always bloody late. My house is clean. Trust me we’re not late because it’s clean; it’s normally shoes. It’s always because of shoes. We’re not miracle workers, our kids still manage to lose their shoes. Every. Damn. Day.

5. One DEEP clean day

One per week every week. Floors, bathrooms, toilets, sinks, bedding, wipe over of tables, TVs, fridges and microwaves. Done. Don’t over complicate. It takes about two hours. Don’t put pressure on yourself every day. The morning clean should be enough. And then your one deep clean day, turn the music up for deep clean day. I love Saturday mornings and just get it done.

6. No need to vacuum

Not every time. Invest in a broom with a dust pan and a spray mop. A mop that sprays disinfectant on the floor and wipes it up. I love my spray mop. It works wonderfully well. His name is Peter and he’s one of my best friends. I use him after dinner. And after spills and lollipops and then I throw the cloth that attaches to the bottom in the wash. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

7. Candles

A sweet scent is as inviting as fresh throw cushions. They make your house feel fresh. They make it smell like apples when it doesn’t smell like apples. Fck I love apples. And I love candles. And when it’s been a really bad morning Glen 20 and candles in combination work a treat. Preferably in a well-vented area and not at the same time. That sht’s flammable. Also open windows and doors; fresh air is as good as a bloody holiday.

And there you have it. Keep on top of things. Don’t worry about it all week. One morning a quick wham bam thank you Ma’am cleaning session. And Bob’s your uncle.

God, I put in a lot of sayings into one post. You’re welcome.

I hope this has kind of helped. I’ve sprained my ankle so naturally my house looks like a tornado has hit it and everyone threw their belongings and ran for cover and no one’s been sighted since.

My husband is “helping”. Don’t tell him, but he just kind of moves mess around. He’s trying though, and he makes me tea so I should probably shut right up.

Because at the end of the day some of my best memories from when I was a kid was sitting in a three-week-old sheet fort I built in my parents’ lounge room surrounded by food crumbs watching Harry Potter.

A clean house does not make memories. But staying on top of things gives you more time to make them.

Being bullied is not an easy thing to cope with. Bullying can leave kids feeling helpless, vulnerable, and confused. Consequently, when kids are bullied, they are often so shocked by bullying that they are not sure what to do. But this indecision and lack of response can open the door to more bullying. Make sure your kids are prepared should the situation ever occur.

How Your Child Can Deal With a Bully
To keep bullies from harassing your kids, make sure they know what to do if confronted by a bully. Aside from developing their assertiveness skills, building their self-esteem and improving their social skills, they also need practical tools on how to handle bullying situations. Here are seven ideas that any child can implement.

Ignore the bully. Not reacting when someone says or does something hurtful is often the most effective response to bullying. Most bullies are looking for a reaction. They want the target to get angry or cry. And, if your child has an emotional response to bullying, it often continues and may even escalate. Conversely, if your child keeps on walking with his head held high every time someone engages in name-calling or any other type of bullying, the bully will eventually move on when he realizes he will not get a response from your child.

Tell the bully to stop. Again, bullies often do not expect someone to stand up to them. In fact, they often target kids they believe they can intimidate. As a result, telling a bully to stop in a strong and confident voice can be very effective. In fact, bullies often count on finding a victim who will not say anything at all. But if your child makes sure the bully knows he cannot walk all over him, the bully is more likely to stop what he is doing.

Make a joke or agree with the bully. Some kids are naturally funny and find it easy to laugh right along with the bully. When kids are able to do this, it demonstrates that they are confident about who they are; and it does not bother them if other people point out their flaws. In fact, they are often secure enough to laugh right along with the bully. When your child laughs with the bully, it diffuses any power the bully thought he had over your child, and his bullying methods become ineffective.

Avoid bullying hot spots. Sometimes all it takes to prevent bullying is to avoid places where bullies hang out. These bullying hot spots include areas like the far corners of the playground, vacant hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, and the back of the bus. Be sure your child knows where these spots are located and that he avoids them or travels with a buddy when he can. Sometimes the best way to deter bullying is to avoid crossing paths with the bully.

Stick with friends. Bullies usually look for kids who are alone or socially isolated. Be sure your child knows that hanging out with friends is a great way to prevent bullying. If your child struggles with social skills or has very few friends, take steps to help him develop friendships. Having just one healthy friendship can go a long way in protecting your child from bullies.

Know how to get out of a bullying situation. Talk to your child about ways in which he can defend himself against bullies, especially if the bullying is physical. For instance, be sure your child knows to keep his eye on the exit and to use it when the opportunity presents itself. Other options include making a lot of noise, attracting attention, and knowing how to deflect any type of physical aggression. Your child does not have to “fight” the bully to defend himself. He just needs to know how to diffuse the situation and get to safety.

Report the bullying to an adult. Be sure your child knows that the best way to prevent bullying is to report it. Without adult intervention, bullying often will continue or escalate. Talk about the reasons why kids don’t tell others they are being bullied and be sure your children know that you understand their fears. Stress that while it takes a lot of strength and courage to report bullying, it is the smartest way to handle this type of situation. Also be careful not to engage in victim-blaming or to criticize your child for getting bullied. Bullying is a choice made by the bully and never the responsibility of the victim.

Meet Nemesia, one of our librarians who works at the historic Semaphore Library.

Join Nemesia to find out the sorts of things our librarians do each day, plus learn more about the fascinating history of the Semaphore Library building.

We have four libraries in the City of PAE and they are about much more than just books! Why not stop by one day… you might find a lot more than you were expecting!

via verywell family: When your kids walk to school (or ride a bike or scooter), they’re setting the tone for a good day. Sure, sometimes distance, weather, and other safety considerations make such “active commuting” impossible. But if your kids have a mile or less to travel, they should hoof it. Here are five research-backed reasons why.

1. It’s Safer Than You Think
By about age 10, kids are old enough to cross streets safely and handle other emergencies that may come up. Before then, crossing guards can help, and so can adult chaperones. (If you can’t walk with your child, see if you can form a walking school bus or bike train—basically, a car-less carpool!) At least one study has investigated kids’ active commuting rates and traffic injuries, and found that “a higher rate of children walking or biking to school has no significant association with traffic-related injury.”

Plus, when more kids walk to school, neighborhoods flourish—a virtuous cycle which makes them safer and more pleasant to walk in. As another study found, “Communities that have invested in infrastructure to promote walking or biking have shown increased property values, improved air quality, reduced urban heat injury (see #3, below), and greater social cohesion.”

2. Good Exercise
Active commuting helps prevent obesity. Kids who walked to school in kindergarten had lower BMI scores in fifth grade, one study showed. Active school commuters are more likely to walk or bike other places at other times of the day. No matter what their daily diet is, active commuters are less likely to be overweight or obese than other kids.

A 7-year study of 1700 high school students in New England predicted that obesity prevalence would decrease by 22 percent if teens walked or biked to school four or five days a week.

3. Save Some Money
When you avoid driving your kids to school, you save on gasoline and wear and tear on your car. Plus you’re lessening carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.

4. Walking to School Helps Your Child Learn
Several studies have documented how kids benefit academically from active commuting: They show higher academic achievement, better cognitive performance, better reading fluency, and improved executive functioning. One study that focused on kids with attention disorders found that just 26 minutes of daily physical activity “significantly allayed ADHD symptoms in grade-school kids.”

5. Social Time
You’d be amazed at the conversations that you can have with your child while walking. And as Safe Routes to School points out, active commuting helps both parents and children “build a sense of neighborhood.” When kids walk to school, parents are more likely to be involved at school and/or in the community.

via The Telegraph: A popular activity at sleepover parties worldwide, there’s so much more to pillow fighting. But are you man enough to brandish a feather-filled weapon?

The pillow fight has never been seen as the most masculine of pursuits. The preserve of the sleepover party flick and TV commercials for feminine products, the pillow fight is seen as the comfy denouement to a girly night in. After all, Bruce Lee starred in Enter The Dragon, not Enter The Boudoir.

But don’t merely dismiss a bout of cushion play as something exclusively for teenage girls; it can be a fun, harmless way of letting go of some inner angst without needing to slice through a pile of 2×4 with your fist. It will also get your heart rate jumping and will likely end in laughter.

Like all the best sports, pillow fighting can take place virtually anywhere; the only requirement is that you need two comfy weapons. An impromptu game always works best, initiating a fight with an unexpected thwack around your partner’s bonce should always prompt a reaction. A fight that evolves naturally is always more entertaining than the pre-planned, plus you should have equal parity with the props if it’s in your room. (Just watch out for wobbly lamps and other breakables.)

To get the full experience, set up some ground rules: such as “no smothering” (too dangerous), “no holding” (of opponent’s pillow) and “no cushions” (they often have deceptively sharp corners). You can work out a point-scoring system, too: such as one point for every yelp. Or two points every time your partner hits the mattress.

You could also invent some signature moves. Try the two-handed “whack hammer”, where you bring down your quarry with an over-the-head strike. Or you might prefer a rain of repeated hits to the dome, that we have christened “The Big Sleep”. Preposterous stage names are a must too… “Feather Face”, “The Foam Ranger” or possibly “Mattress Man”?

If you start to build up a passion for pillow fighting you might want to take on new rivals. International Pillow Fight Day, staged in London’s Trafalgar Square each April, is a fun-filled, fancy dress-style “game of foams”, designed to raise money for women’s charities – and it attracts thousands of pillow-wielding enthusiasts every year. Let the feathers fly!

Watch a video of this year’s International Pillow Fight Day event in London below:


via Big Think

One of the most fascinating things about creativity is that the most recent studies are showing that it’s not just one side of the brain or the other side of the brain that everybody will tell you. It really is the most creative people are using both sides of the brain together. So this is an important concept that the brain is subdivided into two major hemispheres. We have two of each structure. Almost all the structures of our brain are paired. So the idea is well one side of the brain is for certain things and the other side of the brain is important for other things. And the one thing we can say for sure is yes, language is on the left side of the brain. But for creativity it actually makes more sense to me that with a function so broad as that you would benefit from having the most cross talk possible between all parts of your brain. In fact that’s exactly what the neuroscience is showing. So then once we start to understand – we’re starting to understand a little bit about the brain circuits involved in creativity that involves a lot the prefrontal cortex as you might expect. Then the question is well how do I up my creativity? That’s what everybody is interested in.

Well there is exciting new evidence that one of the functions of the hippocampus, an area that we know is important for long-term memory is that it’s not only important for long-term memory but it’s critical for the function of imagination. So people have been testing people with other people, patients with damage to the hippocampi for long periods of time. No surprise they had memory impairments. They were amnesic. But one day an experimenter back in 2007 tested amnesic patients on tasks of imagination. And she asked them can you imagine a situation that you’ve never experienced before. In this case it was imagine a tropical beach. And she compared the responses to people age matched and education matched people without hippocampal damage. What she found was these hippocampal patients, these amnesic patients who had normal language abilities were unable to imagine a future scenario. They could say things like well, there’s blue ocean, there might be sand. But they couldn’t elaborate at all. Whereas control patients, or control subjects were able to talk all about, you know, what the beach looked like, the buildings on the beach, the boats going past them. And this led other researchers to image the brains of subjects, normal subjects as they were remembering things. And when they remembered things the hippocampus lit up. But then they asked well imagine something new. And in that situation the hippocampus lit up again. So there’s multiple modes of evidence suggesting the hippocampus is not only involved in memory but is also important for imagination. A key component of creativity. We know that exercise stimulates what we can neurogenesis or the birth of brand new brain cells in the hippocampus. But because of those brand new brain cells in my hippocampus I’m also enhancing my imagination. So the hypothesis that I’m working on in my lab is can exercise actually enhance creativity.

via The Daily Q: On Saturday, March 24, people all over the world will turn their lights off for an hour as part of Earth Hour, an initiative started by the Worldwide Fund for Nature in 2007. Earth Hour occurs at exactly 8:30 p.m. local time in every country, and its goal is to encourage people to think about their consumption and impact on the environment.

If you want to participate, you’ll of course have to turn off your electricity, but that doesn’t mean you just have to sit for an hour and stare at the wall. There are different ways you can show your appreciation for our planet. Here are six things you can do:

1. Turn your lights off
This is an obvious one, but do turn your lights and electricity off at home! Take a moment to appreciate the earth and reflect on what you can do to affect climate change for the better.

2. Walk outside and enjoy some fresh air
With busy weeks filled with deadlines, students sometimes forget to take a moment to breathe and relax. During Earth Hour, you can use this time to get away from your work environment and the noise of technology and instead go outside to spend some time with yourself and appreciate all the natural beauty around you. To complete this experience, look up at the sky and admire the stars.

3. Light candles
Whether you are with friends, family or even just by yourself, you can arrange a dinner or a board game night with candle lights. You might want to read a book or you can make fondue using candle light. A simple change in routine can help you de-stress.

4. Test out some late-night photographs
You can improve your night shooting skills with your camera, or you can use the camera on your phone to take shots of the moon or nature. Perhaps even an aesthetically pleasing photo from right outside your window.

5. Do Earth Hour yoga at a resort
If you want to do be part of a bigger gathering, the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel is holding an Earth Hour yoga session with candlelight on March 24, from 7 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. at the resort garden area. The fee is QAR 70 per person.

6. Catch up on sleep
Let’s be real, since Earth Hour is on a Saturday, something that many students need is sleep. Use Earth Hour as an opportunity to go to bed earlier and catch up on all the sleep you missed in the past week. You’ll thank us for this later.

The main purpose of this hour is to reflect on some of the choices you make regarding the environment. Everyone can make a small change—buy a reusable water bottle, turn off the lights when it’s not used, recycle, and enlighten others about the importance of taking care of the planet.

via All Pro Dad: One of the most innovative companies of the last century is the Danish toy company LEGO, meaning “Play Well”. It was originally a wooden toy making company founded by woodworker Ole Kirk Christiansen. Left to raise four sons after his wife’s death, he made wooden toys from the scraps in his workshop during the Great Depression. Eventually, each of his sons would join the business. Believing plastic toys to be the future, he bought a plastic molding machine. Three of his sons thought abandoning wooden toys was so ludicrous they started a competing toy company still based in wooden toys. Only one son, Godtfred, remained with Lego. The plastic molding machine proved to be a stroke of genius and illustrated a firm understanding of the direction the toy world was headed. It eventually produced the same Lego building brick that litters carpets all over the world.

Godtfred continued his father’s innovative spirit by taking the company and the toy world to the next level. While visiting a toy fair in London, he spoke to a buyer who suggested making toys that were related to one another. Godtfred took the idea back to Lego and they began to produce brick sets that fit together and minifigures that were to scale of the structures. In essence, they created an entire system of play. It was nothing short of innovative brilliance.

Teaching our kids to be innovative will help them be more creative and sharpen their minds. Here are the best ways to teach kids to be innovative:

Building Toys
Building toys give kids the opportunity to explore many new possibilities. LEGOs are the obvious place to start given the introduction. However, there are also Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, Roominate, Picasso Tiles, and many more. LEGO also has competitions, which even includes teaching innovation in programming and robotics.

Strategic Thinking Games
Some of the most useful innovation is in the area of organization and strategy. Playing strategy thinking games, such as Monopoly, Stratego, Checkers, Chess, Battleship and others will train their mind to think of out of the box solutions.

Interesting Questions and Scenarios
Getting kids to think outside the box doesn’t take much, but some of the best innovation comes when we place restrictions around something. It’s innovating inside the box. Give them a crazy situation with rules and see what their mind produces. The right questions can get the mind going. Here are a few examples:

  • What playground toys would there be if gravity didn’t exist?
  • How would you present something at “show and tell” if you had to do it under water (not able to use audible words)?
  • In what ways could you help people if you could jump 30 feet in the air as a superpower?

Drawing Times
If you are looking to calm the kids down and work their mind, have them sit down and draw; however, give them an assignment. Tell them to draw the following or come up with other ideas: dream house, a flying car, spaceship, a superhero showing the powers he/she has, a new toy, a new animal species, their dream room, their own country (name, land shape, and place names).

Culinary Arts
Have your kids pair different ingredients together to make new forms food. Let them try strange flavor combinations then have them name their new creation. They can experiment making a new kind of sandwich, dessert, pizza (shape, size, ingredients), shake or smoothie, etc.