HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
And congratulations to all new moms who just gave birth! Here is a small tip to help you rack your brains over naming your baby.
Social Security Administration reported a list of top baby names for 2013. For girls, Sophia is America’s most popular baby name in the third straight year. On the other hand, a new trend is forming in boy names. Noah has risen to the most popular baby boy’s name for 2013, which is the first new name at number one since 1960 other than Jacob or Michael.
Here are the top ten boys and girls names for 2013:
The fastest riser in boys name in the top 1,000 was Jayceon, probably influenced by the popularity of VH1’s cable reality series “Marrying The Game“. For girls, Daleyza, a name in a popular Spanish-language cable TV series “Larrymania”, won the biggest jump. The second fastest riser for boys was Milan, and for girls, Marjorie.
These days, kids, especially boys, practically grow up with games. When they were young, at least I had a choice which game they’d play.
These are the games I didn’t mind my kids playing and they also enjoyed.
Zoo Tycoon This is a simulation game, in which you create a zoo. You have to optimize the environment for each animal. You learn a few things about animals and their favorite habitats. It’s a good game for animal lovers, but could get a little tedious later on. There’s a similar game called RollerCoaster tycoon, which is also fun to play.
Zeus : Master of Olympus This is a city building game with a setting of Ancient Greece. There are several other similar city building games, but I think this one is the most enjoyable. My kids picked up some names of Greek gods and heroes, and it triggered their interest in Greek Myth.
These are the educational games my kids actually played.
Zoombinis This is a great game teaching kids logic and reasoning, and enjoyable at the same time. It requires some math skills to solve puzzles, and might be a little challenging for younger kids. Help your kids and you might enjoy playing it, too. There are a couple of sequels to this game, which are also worthwhile to play.
Learn to Play Chess with Fritz & Chesster This game teaches kids how to play chess in a fun way. The first one in the series teaches basic rules of chess, and the second one teaches various strategies. My kids already knew the rules, so we only bought the second one.
Crazy Machines In this game, you build machines to solve puzzles. This requires a great deal of creative thinking. Some of them are quite hard to solve, and the game does not give out solutions unless you solve it first, so sometimes it could be frustrating. My girl didn’t like it as much as my boy.
I know all these games are ancient compared to new console games, but they’re still worth looking into, if your children are still young and you’re looking for non-violent games.
After learning phonics and graduating the leveled chapter books for beginning readers (HarperCollins I Can Read books, Scholastic Reader level books, Random House Step into Reading books, Puffin Easy to Read books, etc), the real fun in reading begins. This is the time children build up their lifelong love toward reading. Parent’s role here? Find good book series that your child becomes attached to.
My son’s favorites were the books in Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. The author intertwined historical or scientific facts with exciting adventures so well, that my son enjoyed all the books in the series. Another good thing about the series is that there are so many books in the series and the author keeps writing.
He also loved Encyclopedia Brown the Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol. Each book has many short episodes that the boy called encyclopedia solves mysteries. The story gives out clues on the way, so the reader can solve the mysteries together. I wished that there were more books in the series.
Another series he enjoyed reading was Cam Jansen Mysteries by David A. Adler. This girl with photographic memory solves mysteries in her school and neighborhood.