Make Algebra Less Daunting One Game at a Time

The votes are in: parents would rather teach their children how to drive or educate them about alcohol and drug abuse than help with algebra homework.

But parents aren’t alone in their terror of polynomial equations – 8th- and 9th-graders surveyed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress would eagerly give up Facebook and video games if it meant no more algebra.

Education expert Dr. Richard Bavaria recommends parents treat algebra like reading, a fun chance for quality time with your kids.

Fun, Exciting Family Time Moves Indoors

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Gone are the days when poor weather outside meant sitting inside with nothing to do but watch television and play board games. The video game revolution known as “motion gaming” is proving to be a great way to boost indoor activity levels while spending time with the whole family — making quality family time an attainable goal in 2011.
Motion gaming allows children to dance or swing their arms in order to win the games. The newest example of the genre is SingStar Dance, which adds dancing to the traditional vocal gameplay, so gamers can sing along to the hottest new hits and learn how to shake and groove alongside favorite pop stars.
The introduction of motion gaming consoles has brought more active video games into families’ living rooms. Dancing, Disc Golf, Gladiator Duel, Beach Volleyball, Archery, Table Tennis and Bocce games all provide exercise as well as fun.
But video game manufacturers have upped the ante with the latest era of motion gaming: the new Playstation Move Motion Controller for PS3 features more accurate motion control than previous controllers, allowing kids to shoot arrows or aim tennis balls with greater precision. The control system is easy to learn, too; new players can simply pick up a controller and play, although technical skills necessary to beat some of the games’ challenges may take extra time to develop.
One game, Sports Champions for the PlayStation Move, takes full advantage of the controller’s capabilities. Players can compete against each other in six sporting events: archery, bocce, table tennis, gladiator games, beach volleyball and disc golf. The game is fun for all ages and skill levels — it’s even fun to watch.
These motion gaming sports are providing a whole new
way for families to spend quality time together while also enticing interest with more active entertainment than your typical video game. For more information, visit

Illuminate Your Home Theater With Easy Lighting Tweaks

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The term “home theater” used to mean a small room designated for the enjoyment of watching movies. Then gigantic flat screens and HD technology came along, and the video game industry upped the ante with Xbox, PlayStation and Wii products that appealed to every age group. With so many different uses, the home theater has morphed into an auxiliary family room.
How can one room be made flexible enough to suit all of the activities performed there? Easy! According to the American Lighting Association (ALA) all you need to do is make a few tweaks in your lighting to satisfy the sports fan, the electronic game player and the movie buff.
“The affordability and popularity of big-screen TVs, high-quality sound and home entertainment systems has created many opportunities for using specialized lighting to enhance the experience,” says architect Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the ALA and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.
Whether your home theater is part of new construction or a remodeling project, think in layers. According to Rey-Barreau, a lighting layer is defined as a specific type of fixture that is unique from others in that same area. For example, a room that has recessed downlights, a decorative fixture in the center of the room, plus wall sconces on one wall would be defined as having three layers. Each of the three types of fixtures would be controlled by separate switches and dimmers.
“The objective of using layers is to create lighting options for different tasks and activities in that space,” Rey-Barreau explains. The ideal lighting for the entire family to watch a full-length movie in the evening might be with the recessed lighting turned off and the decorative lighting at the ceiling and the wall sconces dimmed to a low level. If the kids are watching cartoons or playing video games, Rey-Barreau advises turning on the recessed lighting to the maximum output, and turning off the decorative lighting.
To learn more about how to light your home theater or family movie room properly, visit your local ALA-member lighting showroom. Go to the ALA’s website at to find a store near you.

Time Is Everything This Mother’s Day

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Moms everywhere seem to share the same problem: There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. With endless work and family demands, finding a spare moment is nearly impossible.
Grand Slam tennis champion and mom Kim Clijsters is no exception. The 2005 US Open Championship winner returned to the game in 2009 following a two-year absence after the birth of her first daughter, Jada. Between diaper changes and feedings, Clijsters managed to become the first unranked wildcard to win a Grand Slam event in over 30 years.
Clijsters successfully defended her title and went on to win the 2010 US Open.
The secret to her success? Timing. Citizen Watch Company recently signed Clijsters as its newest Brand Ambassador for the Citizen Signature timepiece. For Clijsters, donning a Citizen Signature Ladies’ Diamond timepiece is more than a fashion statement. It’s the key to finding time to hit the courts or be home with Jada.
“I am very proud to be an Ambassador for the Citizen Watch Company,” said Clijsters. “Citizen has had a long affiliation with tennis as the Official Timekeeper of the US Open, so a partnership with Citizen is a natural choice for me. Passion has always been a critical part of my tennis game, just like the passion that Citizen has put into The Signature Collection.”
Make life for busy moms a little easier this Mother’s Day with the gift of time. All Citizen Eco-Drive watches are powered by light and permanently rechargeable, so Mom doesn’t have to worry about replacing a battery a few months down the road.
And with fashionable touches including mother-of-pearl dials and diamond-embellished cases, working around the clock has never been so stylish.
For more information, visit

Have Fun, Get Fit With the Whole Family This New Year

Gone are the days when being indoors meant sitting around watching television or playing board games. The video game revolution known as “motion gaming” is proving to be a great way for the whole family to boost physical activity levels while spending quality time with one another – all from the inside of the home. This New Year, get the whole family moving with “motion video gaming”.

Also known as “exergaming,” video games that require body movement allow children to dance or swing their arms in order to win the games. The newest example of the genre is SingStar Dance, which adds dancing to the traditional vocal gameplay, so gamers can sing along to the hottest new hits and learn how to shake and groove alongside favorite pop stars.

The Perfect Condiment to Your Sports Experience Is the Internet, Not Ketchup

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s that time of the year again. The mornings are filled with crisp, cool air, and football stadiums are brimming with school color pride. Students, alumni and families all over the U.S. are in the throes of college football season, but with the rising costs of tuition and dorm living compounded by a struggling worldwide economy, it is becoming more difficult for students and fans to enjoy watching their favorite sports events without breaking the bank.
Attending live sports events can often be costly. While college football tickets can be affordable for matriculated students attending home games, regular college event tickets can run fans up to $60 per game. Additionally, each visit to the stadium can include up to $20 per person spent on drinks and food, if not more.
Recognizing these limitations, technology companies are finding alternative ways to provide consumers with more options at home through the Internet — from movies to TV shows, and now even sports.
One of the most widely recognized of these is Hulu, which has seen tremendous success as an online video service offering hit shows, clips and movies. According to comScore, an Internet marketing research firm, the online video service reached 43 million monthly users at the end of 2009, doubling the number from the year before. Earlier this year, Hulu launched a subscription service, Hulu Plus, on several TV-connected devices for $9.95 a month.
For sports fans, Microsoft Corp. recently introduced a new way to watch popular sports, like college football and bowl games, college basketball, MLB and NBA, and more, through a customized ESPN app on Xbox 360, the company’s video game and entertainment system. The new application allows users to access over 3,500 live and on-demand sport events from, including out-of-market games, with an Xbox LIVE Gold membership, which costs $59.99 per year — or $5 per month — to users who receive their Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. The system also offers streaming through Netflix.
The blending of television and the Internet has been a developing trend over the past few years. More Americans have become used to relying on the Internet for TV viewing, and broadband adoption has continued to rise. A recent study by Integrated Media Measurement Inc. found that 20 percent of 3,000 primetime TV viewers surveyed watched some primetime programming online.
Beyond watching videos on the web, Internet-powered television services may be the future for people who prefer to watch movies, and especially live sports, on a large TV with surround sound in the living room. Students and fans operating on a budget may want to consider staying in for the next big sports event.

Tips to Keep Winter Colds at Bay

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – As colder weather hits, everyone starts playing a waiting game — when, exactly, will they get sick?
It’s no big secret that adults and …

Free or Low-Cost Health Coverage Helps Kids Get in the Game

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Each fall, school and community athletic fields are filled with four-year-olds taking their first kick at a soccer ball and high-school seniors practicing in hopes of reaching the state championship football game. At every age, children who play sports learn lessons about teamwork and the value of both winning and losing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are part of sports teams have more energy, perform better in school and are successful long after they leave the field.
Approximately 5 million uninsured kids in the U.S. may not experience the benefits of playing on a team. These kids often miss out because they can’t afford the necessary physical or treatment if they get hurt. Jackie, a 13-year-old eager to go out for her school’s track team, was one of those kids until her family learned that health coverage is available through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Across the country CHIP and Medicaid offer free or low-cost health coverage for kids. Generally, a family of four that earns up to $45,000 a year can get their kids covered. Once enrolled, kids can get doctor and dentist visits, vision and hearing care, hospital care, mental health services, regular check-ups and shots, and needed treatment, including prescription drugs.
Upon learning that Jackie did not have health insurance and that her mother had suffered a heart attack before age 50, the school nurse knew Jackie would need more than a general sports physical to be cleared to participate in track. The nurse connected Jackie and her Mom with an outreach worker who helped enroll Jackie in the state’s health coverage program. Within two days, Jackie went to a primary care provider, and tests indicated a potential heart syndrome. She was referred to a cardiologist, who, after further exams, gave Jackie the green light for track.
Learning about available health coverage programs did more than get Jackie on the team, it potentially saved her life — Jackie is covered both on and off the field. Kids with insurance generally have better health throughout their childhood and into their teens. They are sick less often, get the treatment they need when they are not feeling well and are less likely to miss school — or a big game — due to illness.
Families with uninsured children can get connected to the CHIP or Medicaid programs in their states by visiting or calling 1-877-KIDS-NOW.

Kids Soar in New Action Flight Game

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Kids love flight-simulator video games — looping, diving and soaring through scenery can provide hours of entertainment. The problem is that many flight games contain elements inappropriate for younger children, such as bombing or shooting targets. Due to the lack of great children flight games, some parents end up buying games too violent or difficult for their aspiring pilots.

D3Publisher’s new “Kid Adventures: Sky Captain” game for Wii was created to fill that void. Children and adults alike will enjoy the fun and easy steering that allows them to explore colorful environments and complete the game’s 40 diverse missions. Players can unlock several types of aircraft in the game, including a cow-abducting UFO and speedy jet, and engage in sky racing, stunt flying, target shooting, treasure hunting and more!

The weaponry in “Kid Adventures: Sky Captain” proves harmless, because in place of shooting bullets, the planes take pictures or launch water balloons. In one mission, players must use their shooting skills to put out a forest fire. Other exhilarating missions include races against other pilots, snapping photographs of dinosaurs, and helping pirates recover their missing treasure. The missions are challenging enough to keep children entertained, but not difficult to the point that players become frustrated.

The game has two multiplayer options. Two players can work together through missions, a capability that encourages cooperative play, or compete head-to-head in exciting races and aerial battles.

While the game’s colorful, unique environments and easy-to-learn controls appeal to children; adults will find themselves hooked as well. The perfect game for kids and a pilot-in-training, “Kid Adventures: Sky Captain” is enjoyable for the entire family.

For more information, visit

Get Your Kids Into the Game

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – When it comes to improving academic performance, boosting self-esteem and teaching social skills, few things beat team sports. Sports give kids the opportunity to get attention and respect, and to use the natural skills that come with youth, like speed and coordination.
According to one survey of 2,185 children conducted by The Women’s Sports Foundation and Harris Interactive, kids who played sports or who participated in activities like frisbee, camping and hiking felt healthier and more confident about their bodies than those who did not. Other studies demonstrate that children active in sports perform better in school and are less likely to use drugs as young adults.
Of course, sports can have a downside. Overly competitive leagues, discouraging coaches and injuries from unsafe practices can quickly turn kids away from sports. So how can you make sure that your child has a positive experience? Here are some tips:
* Make sure that your child is mature enough to participate. In general, kids aren’t equipped for the rules and cooperation required in team sports until age six or seven. But each child develops differently. Don’t push children if they’re not ready.
* Make sure that the league or coach emphasizes fun. If you ask children why they want to play a sport, they’ll probably say that they want to have fun or make friends. No matter their sport of choice, make sure that your child’s enjoying him or herself.
* Don’t stress winning over everything else. Extreme competitiveness overrides any sportsmanship your child would otherwise learn. Focus on personal markers of success, not the league championship.
You can reward your child for playing a sport even if their league does not. PlaqueMaker Plus ( allows you to print your child’s photo in a sports-shaped frame. You can also order your own trophies and present them for a job well done, whether that means making the winning hit or simply putting in a good effort.
* Don’t force your child to specialize too soon. Few kids are going to get sports scholarships -; instead of trying to turn your child into a baseball or basketball star, let them try out a variety of sports. Some children are never going to enjoy sports. Instead of forcing kids into an activity that they don’t like, find another physical activity, such as track, cycling or hiking, that they can enjoy.