Archive for August, 2011

Time Shift Your TV: Remembering 9/11

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy is almost here. The traumatic event is being remembered, recreated and reexamined in many TV specials in the next two weeks. Shows covering everything from the harrowing details of the day itself to the heroes who emerged and the aftermath will run nearly every night right up until the ten-year anniversary. There is one thing they all have in comment: moments of incredible sadness and pain, along with moments of amazing triumph.

The best one for children is undoubtedly Nick News with Linda Ellerbee’s What Happened?: The Story of September 11, 2001, airing Thursday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. on Nickelodeon. Ellerbee says in a note on the Nick site that she wondered if revisiting such a horrific event was necessary, especially since many kids are too young to even remember it. But she felt that there will be so much “noise” around the anniversary that it is important to talk to kids about it, answer questions with the help of experts, and try to focus on the positive aspects that emerged in the stories of the day. The result might make you weep. Kids recall being 10 years old and seeing the planes hit the towers. They give their versions and theories (all incorrect) as to why it happened. The special is fascinating, heartbreaking and informative.

To complement the show, Nickelodeon partnered with the American Psychological Association (APA) to provide supplemental materials for the broadcast. The APA encourage parents and caregivers to watch the special with kids and talk to them about what they see.

Other programming of note:

Sunday, Sept 4:  TLC presents 9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor, airing at 9 p.m. Narrated by Chris Noth, the two-hour special recreates what happened as two men saved dozens of lives that day, while sacrificing their own.

Offering a focused look at the construction of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex at Ground Zero, the second of two three-hour segments titled Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero from Steven Spielberg airs on Discovery at 8 p.m. The special repeats on Science Channel on Sept. 4 and 11.

Monday, Sept. 5:  Martin Sheen narrates Smithsonian Channel’s  9/11: Day That Changed the World, airing at 8 p.m. The special chronicles the events of the day through the decision-makers involved, including Laura Bush, Dick and Lynne Cheney, Rudy Giuliana, Andrew Card and other politicians.

Wednesday, Sept. 7: The story of the engineering behind the construction of One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is examined in Nova: Engineering Ground Zero, airing at 9 p.m. on PBS.

Animal lovers will be moved by Saved on Animal Planet at 9 p.m, offering a look at how pets helped survivors and families cope with the 9/11 tragedy.

Thursday, Sept. 8: Looking at just the female rescue workers who saved so many at the Twin Towers that day, Soledad O’Brien anchors Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11  at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on CNN.

Saturday, Sept. 10:  A&E’s Portraits From Ground Zero, airing at 10 p.m, spotlights the work of Andrea Booher, one of only two photojournalists given unlimited 24-hour access to Ground Zero right after  9/11.

Most of the programming will air on Sunday, Sept. 11. Highlights include:

Airing at 8:46 a.m.on A&E: 102 Minutes That Changed America tracking the attack minute-by-minute, using footage from nine different New Yorkers.

Focusing just on Ground Zero, History’s Making the 9/11 Memorial, airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT, offers a behind-the-scenes view, from conception to on-site installation, of the New York memorial.

Robert De Niro hosts CBS’ 9/11: 10 Years Later from inside Ground Zero as he looks back at the tragedy and looks forward at the new memorial. The special airs at 8 p.m.

If you just want to close your eyes and listen as you remember your own personal experience of the day, PBS’ Great Performances series will air The New York Philharmonic 10th Anniversary Concert for 9/11.  Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, is performed. Taped at Lincoln Center on Sept. 10, it airs at 9 p.m.

Showtime airs Rebirth (9 p.m. ET/PT) a decade-long account of five people’s lives that were forever altered on that day. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival favorite simultaneously tracks, via time-lapse photography, the minute-by-minute evolution of the memorial on the Twin Towers site.

Feed Kids’ Brains with These Fun Learning Apps

Monday, August 29th, 2011
Toontastic - iPad Toontastic

Toontastic - iPad

Did Irene sweep away your weekly paper? If so, you may have missed this week’s USA Weekend Magazine, which featured a list of Parents’ Choice Award winning apps for iPads and iPhones. The list includes apps from some of our favorite developers, including Duck Duck Moose, ThinkFun, and Money Savvy Generation. Find it here!

Biblioburro: A Library That Delivers

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Acción Visual/Diana Arias used with Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

Libraries are invaluable community resources. They encourage youth to inquire, investigate, and become better citizens. In Colombia, teacher Luis Soriano recognized the power of reading, and sought to create a library for his students and their community. He calls it the Biblioburro, which is Spanish for “Library Donkey”.

According to the PBS POV description of the story:

A decade ago, Colombian teacher Luis Soriano was inspired to spend his weekends bringing a modest collection of precious books, via two donkeys, to the children of Magdalena Province’s poor and violence-ridden interior. As Soriano braves armed bands, drug traffickers, snakes and heat, his library on hooves carries an inspirational message about education and a better future for Colombia.

Though the full documentary’s heavy subject matter make it better suited for parents and teenagers to watch, the story of the Biblioburro’s and Soriano’s work may make children of all ages develop a new appreciation for their local library. The clip below is appropriate for younger children, though note that it is in subtitled Spanish.

The entire PBS program can be viewed online.

Story via Open Culture

Imagination’s Playground: Maker Faire’s Celebration of DIY Creations

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

A life-size recreation of the Mouse Trap board game.  A tech-enhanced fashion show. Human-powered carnival rides. A music show driven by lightning.  All of these amazing creations appeared at last year’s Maker Faire in New York.

Maker Faire is a two-day demonstration of imagination put to work, the key event of a national resurgence in making, crafting, designing, and building by amateurs and professionals. For children, the Faire offers a setting to wonder and wander amid contraptions that look straight from the pages of a science fiction or Dr. Seuss book.

While the next one isn’t until September 17th and 18th in New York City, the Faire’s organizers encourage communities to make their own Maker Faire. You could even hold a micro-sized Maker’s Faire in your neighborhood.  Solicit submissions and have children and their families exhibit the things they’re proud to have made!

Watch videos of previous Maker Faire events and use those as inspiration to craft, engineer, design, and build something entirely new at home. Or, look to books and other media for inspiration. A Rube Goldberg machine might be a great way to start. See Lights Out or The Wrong Trousers for inspiration.

Lights Out by Arthur Geisert

Lights Out by Arthur Geisert


What to Do with a Summer’s Worth of Artwork?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

A few months of painting, drawing, and crafting will leave more art work than can fit on even the biggest fridge.  How can you show appreciation for your children’s artwork if you don’t have room to display it?

We loved the idea that Kami, mom and blogger at Get Your Mess On!, had:

For our last day at art camp we created this kind of art opening/reception/museum kind of thing. I think it was a lot of fun and I was absolutely tickled by how kid-created most of it was, included several signs, a collaborative coloring book, and even a gift shop. Thanks to Stephen Henderson for the awesome photos.

From “Art Camp Wrap-Up”


Have other ideas?  Share them with us!