Close your eyes and picture and engineer. You probably weren’t envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math.

GoldieBlox is a book series+construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writes and illustrates Goldie’s stories, taking inspiration from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists and creator of “”Mr. Magoo.”” Her company, launched in 2012, raised over $285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter, and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes.

Prior to founding GoldieBlox, Debbie served as the Marketing Director of Lori Bonn, a national jewelry company. For the past 7 years, she has also served as a brand strategy consultant for a wide variety of organizations including Microsoft, T-Mobile, Organic Valley and the New York Knicks.

Debbie’s inspiration to create a mission-driven company came in 2008, when she spent 6 months volunteering at a grassroots nonprofit in rural India. She created a viral fundraising campaign called “”I Want a Goat,”” raising over $30,000 for economic and educational development in the region. This experience helped pave the way to finding her true passion: inspiring the next generation of female engineers.

Debbie completed her degree in engineering at Stanford (Product Design, ’05) and currently lives with her husband in San Francisco.


via AT Parenting Survival: As parents we make sure our children learn how to read and write – and yet we often assume children will naturally develop skills like kindness and empathy.

You wouldn’t think that you need to be teaching your kid to be kind – but, Like reading and writing – Emotional intelligence doesn’t come naturally to all children.

Some children miss the subtle signs that they are upsetting those around them. Some children have a hard time putting themselves in other people’s shoes. Some children have a hard time knowing how to be kind.

So, how do you help teach your kids to be kind and not turn into a bully?

There are some easy steps to build empathy and kindness in your children.

1. Model kind behavior.

Do you make fun of strangers? Do you talk bad about your relatives or friends when they aren’t there? Do you treat your spouse, pets or even kids in a degrading fashion some times?

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you tell your child to be kind, but you are modeling negative, unkind behavior – your words will have little impact on their behavior. Children do as they see – not as you tell them to do. Be a wonderful role model for your child.

Show your child respect when redirecting them or disciplining them. Speak to your spouse with kindness. Your children will learn from your example.

2. Highlight people’s emotions around you.

If your child has a hard time reading social cues, practice a game I like to call “Guess the Feeling.” Sit at a park or a mall and watch people. If you love people watching – this game shouldn’t be too hard.

Find someone showing an extreme emotion – such as excitement, sadness or anger. Ask your child, “What do you think they’re feeling?” Ask them to make up a story about what may be happening.

This helps children identify non-verbal clues as to how others feel and helps them put meaning behind emotions.

3. Reassess how you tease your children – is it demeaning, taunting or degrading?

Some families love to tease each other, but some children can’t take intense teasing. Some parents do not think their teasing is cruel – but if your child reacts by crying and storming off – chances are they are feeling degraded.

Would you want your child to make fun of peers the way you are making fun of them? Some parents might think they are just “toughening up” their children or being playful, but kids will often take it out on their peers.

Children learn how to be playful by the tone their family sets. If mean spirited taunting is acceptable at home – then children will think it is acceptable elsewhere.

4. Point out how their behavior affects those around them.

When your child’s behavior is affecting those around them – point it out. Let your child know how they are affecting others without shaming them.

5. Teach your children the joys of helping others.

Be an example for your children and help strangers, friends and family. Let them know that it feels good to help others – even if you get nothing back. Set up opportunities for you to help others as a family.

Teach your child that even small acts of kindness go along way. Express to your child why you are holding the door for another person, letting someone get in front of you in traffic or helping someone when their hands are full. Explain that it is nice to be helpful, even if the person doesn’t say thank you or appreciate it. You should give to give – not give to get.


Are you planning for a holiday trip with your kids any time soon? Traveling with kids can sometimes be stressful and challenging, especially when you have kids of different ages.

Our MAma – Hani from Energise Kids will be sharing with you some of the practical tips that would help you out for an effective holiday trip planning for you and your kids!

Watch the video now!


via Health Chronicle:

Mark Twain once said, “Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Twain was right, except he forgot to mention laughter’s ability to profoundly affect our health.

Laughter is the best medicine for many scientifically proven reasons:

1. Laughter is one of the best stress relievers. A good bout of laughter can keep the muscles in your entire body relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Now imagine cracking a few good jokes all day long. You’ll never have a crick in your neck or an aching back again.
2. Dr. Gulshan Sethi, a doctor of cardio-surgery at Tucson Medical Center says that laughter is like internal jogging. It tones all the internal organs and strengthens the abdominals without ever doing a single sit-up.
3. Laughter induces better social relations. The contagious nature of a smile or a good laugh help us to connect with others leading to friendships and even romantic closeness. In fact, couples who laugh together are more likely to stay married longer. People who have enduring relationships have also proven to outlive those who have few friends and are unmarried.
4. Laughter boosts our body’s immune response. Studies have found that laughing at a funny movie or finding humor in a stressful situation helps to increase the production of natural killer cells – white blood cells that attack cancer, colds, and foreign bacteria.
5. Laughter combats depression. When we laugh our bodies dump a bunch of good neuropeptides into our blood stream including oxytocin and dopamine.
6. Laughter reduces physical pain. Perceived pain levels in participants of many different studies are lowered when they laugh. Life may cause us pain here and there, but laughter helps us to deal with it better.
7. Finally, laughter is a measurable trait found to be higher in those who are more resilient. If you want to find a successful person who can take the punches of life just as easily as the accolades, you’ll find someone who laughs a lot. Laughter builds character and lessens rigidity.


via theAsianparentsingapore: Has your little one always longed to wear a frilly tutu and have her own satin shoes? If so, you might like to consider ballet as an enrichment option for her.

Ballet is one of the most graceful forms of dance. It has been around for centuries and has produced some of the most talented and awe-inspiring performers of all time – also called Prima Ballerinas.

If you watch a ballerina – not only when she’s performing, but offstage too – you will most definitely find yourself marveling at her poise and grace.

Not only is ballet a joy to watch, it also has a range of benefits for those who take up this dance programme.

Age-appropriate ballet lessons are available and children can learn much more than just coordination and movement.

Physical benefits
Ballet is a wonderful way for young children to gain muscular strength, become more supple and, stay lithe and fit.

One of the first things little ones learn in class is how to stand correctly and walk gracefully.

These skills, learnt at a young age, stay with your child forever and help her grow into a limber and elegant adult.

Once your child starts ballet classes, you will notice that their body awareness, self-control, coordination skills and balance improve tremendously. Bad posture among children who study ballet is usually unheard of.

The wide range of ballet movements like the heart-rate accelerating pirouettes and leaps improve cardiovascular health.

What’s more, a child who learns ballet from an early age finds it easier to adapt to other styles of dancing such as jazz and contemporary dancing.

Ballet is also a wonderful way for a hyperactive child to release pent-up energy in a way that is beneficial not only creatively and physically, but also emotionally and socially as well.

Emotional benefits
The benefits of ballet aren’t just physical. Children who study ballet develop emotionally in many ways too.

Many parents of shy children who study ballet say that they notice immense improvement in their child’s confidence.

This comes from performing on stage with other children and also performing alone. Children feel proud and accomplished when they perform on stage and this in turn boosts their self-esteem.

This self-esteem then extends to other areas in life and results in children being more self-assured right through their childhood and adulthood.

Such children also learn to express themselves better by using their bodies and facial expressions to narrate a story and express emotions.

Learning how to be expressive earlier in life helps hormonal teenagers better with the pressures they may face, and allow them to be open about their emotions with both their parents and teachers.

Ballet movements also require focus and concentration to complete and perfect. Children who acquire these skills automatically use them in their studies and in daily lives.

Social benefits
Experts and teachers concur that children who learn ballet follow instructions better and know how to work better with teammates.

They respond more favourably to goals set, manage stress better and are more disciplined when it comes to their school work and other activities.

Furthermore, working in groups during ballet classes help children build trust and friendship with others and be more socially extroverted.

Where can children learn ballet in Singapore?
Although Singapore has many ballet schools, few specialise in ballet programmes for young children. Crestar School of Dance (CSD) is one of the most established among them: their popular Bebe Ballet and Dancing Tots programmes for kids as young as 2½ years old have been staple programmes for more than 35 years.

Crestar School of Dance is the largest private dance school in Singapore; it has the biggest pool of dance teachers, qualified by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing (CSTD), Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and Beijing Dance Academy (BDA).

The School gives its young ballet students ample opportunities to gain confidence through performances. These include charity and community events, as well as overseas dance exchange programmes.

An impressive number of CSD students have also gone on to enrol in established dance schools and colleges and have participated in big events such as My Singapore 2014: Moments of Love Charity Concert for President’s Challenge 2014 and 7th International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition Vienna 2014, among others.

Besides ballet, other dance courses such as Modern Theatre, Modern Jazz, Street Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Chinese Dance and Belly Dance are also available.

Year-end holidays activities and programmes
This year-end holidays (November – December), Crestar School of Dance has packaged an exciting range of dance related activities and programmes to let your children experience Ballet, Modern Jazz, Zumba, Hip Hop, Yoga etc.

Not only will the children be meaningfully engaged in learning something new, they will also have fun with their new friends!

Other holidays programmes include Abacus, Art, Maths, Bakery, Chinese Language etc. for your children!

For more details, click here for the centres’ holiday programmes schedules!

The Crestar School of Dance also has an upcoming dance concert – Diary of Sleeping Beauty on the 15 November 2015, Sunday at NUS-UCC Hall, 6.30pm. Please enquire with their centres for more details.

To find out more about the Centres’ year-end holiday programmes, click here.

For more information on CSD’s dance courses, click here.

If you have not considered ballet as an after-school activity before for your child, we hope we have convinced you to let your little one give it a try!


via what to expect: Check this out: A children’s library is the perfect place for your pipsqueak to begin her love affair with books. But even if your visit involves swinging by the grown-up section, going to the library with a toddler can have a happy ending (and beginning and middle too).

Your toddler doesn’t need to know how to read to enjoy going to the library, especially if it’s a children’s library, which is designed with her growing mind in mind. You may even get a kick out of a trip to the library with your tot in tow. For one thing, it’s impossible to sit down among the colorful picture books and not snuggle. And a fun day out with the kids could include toddler storytime, where a library staffer reads a great book for toddlers to a group of little guys and gals (that may buy you a few precious moments of peace). Since challenges may arise (toddlers are noisy newbies to quiet libraries), try these tips to fully enjoy going to the library.

  • Give your toddler a library preview. She’s seen books in her bedroom and maybe in bookcases around your house or even at the bookstore, but odds are she won’t have seen as many high shelves filled with books, books, and more books all in one space until she goes to the library. Give her the heads-up so she’s not (as) overwhelmed upon arrival. Also tell her who she’ll encounter (“The librarian is the nice person who helps us find books”) and what you’re going to do (“We’ll sit on the red carpet and read together”). When you get there, point out all the things you discussed at home (“That’s where they keep the Dr. Seuss books.” “We can find stories about puppies by using the computer”).
  • Practice using library voices. Before going to the library, talk about how it’s a special place with special rules. And one of the most important rules is keeping your voices down. Take turns whispering to each other before you go to the library, and give your itty-bitty bookworm a rule reminder once you arrive.
  • Talk about how to treat library books. You may not mind if your eager reader rips out pages from her books at home, but the librarians will if she goes to town on the children’s library books. Remind your child to be gentle with the pages, not to eat or drink near them, or draw on them.
  • Head to the hands-on section. Most children’s libraries have a special corner for their youngest patrons, complete with puzzles, quiet games, and chunky board books. Allow your darling to dig in — pick out a few games and books to enjoy right there and some books to borrow and take home. Point out old favorites (“Look, there’s Curious George!”) and new selections that might interest her (“Here’s a book about a ballerina — shall we look at it?”).
  • Stop by the grown-up section. Feel free to do a quick dash to the adults’ area — just don’t expect to spend more than a few minutes perusing before your toddler’s patience runs out. To extend your time and up the opportunities for toddler learning, whisper with your little one about the differences between the grown-up and children’s sections (“These bookshelves are taller.” “These books have more pages — and no pictures!”). This also might be a good time to park her with a special quiet toy (or book!) for a few minutes while you read a few dust jackets.
  • Sign up for toddler storytime. Cap off (or start off) a visit to a children’s library with storytime. Kids adore hearing stories read aloud, and storytime can serve as an introduction to the rules of preschool (sit still, be a good listener). One other not-so-obvious benefit: You may meet some fellow toddler moms to befriend.
  • Get your cutie a library card. If she’s old enough to go to the library, she’s probably old enough for her very first library card. Getting one is a proud moment, sure to give your child a big-kid sense of ownership — and an extra incentive to make a return visit to the library.

Via Better Homes & Gardens: With all the time spent watching television and playing video games, many of today’s children have never experienced the rewards of a hobby.

Not long ago, speaking to a large midwestern audience, I asked, “How many of you, when you were children, had a hobby?” Nearly everyone raised a hand. I then asked them to keep their hands in the air if at least one of their children had a hobby, which I distinguished from organized, adult-directed, after-school activities such as Little League. Most of the hands went down.

Thirty-odd years ago, almost every kid in my neighborhood had some sort of hobby. Collecting and trading baseball cards was a popular pastime (one that’s making a strong comeback today), as were coin and stamp collecting. One of my friends was into photography (he’s now a photographer), another was into building radios (he’s now an electrical engineer).

Hobbies benefit children in numerous ways. Because they are expressions of personal accomplishment and a means of self-discovery, hobbies help build self-esteem.

Hobbies are educational tools, as well. For example, a child who becomes interested in rocketry — one of the most popular hobbies, by the way — learns about propulsion and aerodynamics. By working on hobbies, children learn to set goals, make decisions, and solve all sorts of problems. Finally, hobbies often mature into lifelong interests, even careers.

How to Find a Hobby for Your Child
If all of that sounds good, and you’d like to help your child develop and sustain a hobby interest, try these suggestions:

Set a good example. Scott Harris, a hobby shop buyer and hobby workshop leader in Gastonia, North Carolina, finds that children with hobbies tend to have parents with hobbies.

Be prepared to sacrifice space. Your child will need work space for his or her hobby projects. Designate a particular room, a corner of the basement, part of the garage, or similar area. Regardless of where you set up the space, your child should be able to walk away from the hobby and come back to it later. The work space should also allow for plenty of paint spills, scratches, and other hobby-related accidents — the inevitable by-products of creative activity.

Provide some guidance. “Nothing will kill a child’s enthusiasm for a hobby quicker than lots of frustration during the learning stage,” cautions hobby expert Harris. Help your child get off to a good start by demonstrating how to closely follow a set of directions, and how to handle sometimes-delicate hobby materials with proper care.

Limit television watching. Since 1955, when it became a fixture in America’s households, television has come to dominate the spare time of the American child. By age 15, the average child has spent more time watching television than sitting in a classroom. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to work on a hobby and watch TV (or play video games) at the same time.

For want of spare time, a hobby may never develop. But find a hobby, and a talent may be born, a life enriched.