Written and images on this blog are Judie Ryan's sole property unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Well, here's another more recent article similar to the one published by me on June  20, 2017
but it's more recent. This article is in WOMEN'S FITNESS.
photo: wikimedia commons
Take a look at it:

Having spent long hours sitting as a student and a professional musician, I worry about how all this sitting instead of playing is going to affect our children's physical health. And even if we want our kids to be more active, many schools have completely dropped gym, recess and other physical activities. If obesity is a constant problem with kids, then lack of physical in-school activities, which make kids want to move or at least move in balance to sitting, is one of the major problems. This article from the CDC  https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm gives you the physical fitness facts.  This 2016 article shows how things might change for the better.: http://neatoday.org/2016/07/14/bringing-recess-back/  This article in the Washington Post explains the difference between recess and gym, which is sometimes confusing. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/03/08/yes-parents-want-recess-for-their-kids-heres-why-they-should-keep-fighting-for-it/?utm_term=.cdb119fcaaba

Even when I was in high school, we had gym every day (true, I hated public showers, ugly gym suits and mean gym teachers), I realize now that physical movement is one of the most important things for both children and adults regardless of negatives. Most activities--tumbling, baseball, gymnastics etc.- were part of the standard school curriculum, not extra curricular that have to be paid for and have parent-pickup. Here's an article from Harvard's School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/lack-of-physical-education-in-schools-concerns-parents/

I guess parents have to decide if they want their kids physically fit or to learn a second language--one of the demands educators often push. I don't know about you, but I can see studying Chinese, if you have a place to practice it, like talking to your grandma, but what good is it going to do U.S. kids who don't have a place to practice it? Which do we want as a school luxury, recess and fitness through gym or something else like a foreign language.

As parents we have to answer this question for ourselves, come forward and demand health for our kids at every age. We can go to the School Board meetings, and most School Board meetings happen in the evening, when parents can go. So get a pro-health group together and don't expect it to be the PTA, because from my experience, PTA's raise money for the schools, which is good, but also only apply that money to what the principal chooses..
photo: wikimedia commons

Saturday, June 24, 2017


When my daughter was three-years-old I was looking up something in the children's department of a small town library with only two computers. What could be more innocent? Right? No. Not right! Trying to pull up something ordinary with Julia right next to me watching my every move,  I almost fainted when pornographic crotch shots of women popped onto the screen. Julia's eyes grew enormous and I switched off the computer as fast as I could and went to the librarian who had no reaction. All I could think about was what that unplanned event could do to my daughter's emotional health and development.
What's that Mommy?

Some libraries will not use google safe search or other child protection programs even for the very youngest children, considering it an issue of interfering with freedom of speech. Now, personally I don't know why gross pictures of women's crotches or male giant penises is an issue of speech, but some people do. If you don't want what happened to my child to happen to yours, check you local libraries attitudes and rules about kids access to pornography.

At any rate, we all know there are great things at the library, but just in case.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I have a friend that works at Akron Children's Hospital, she researches medical questions about child development for me on their medical search engine. I couldn't get in rough with her today, but I did find something on WedMD that blew me away because I always thought I might be a bit old-fashioned about the development of kids through play because most of the people in my family were teachers. Given that the article was in the WebMd archives, I continue to see articles on the same topic which I will put up soon. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/kids-playing-slingshots-vs-video-games#1

                              Nevit Dilmen - Own work from wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons

When I gave my Books-in-Action programs, I didn't allow any electronics. Once I saw a 3 or 4-year-old  sitting in a shopping cart next to me at the grocery store check. He was playing video games on his mother's cell phone. He never looked up at his surroundings or people who spoke to him.  I thought, I hope he doesn't show up at any of my programs. And guess what, there he was the very fir
st day of camp. When he arrived, we were already singing, reading and playing "roll down the hill." He took a look at us and said, "I don't want to do that!" I said, that's fine, you can go play in the fort, which was right next to us. He disappeared under the sheets.

We kept playing, singing and reading. I saw him peek out a few times to see what was going on, but he'd disappear under the sheets again. After a while, he came out of the fort and watched at closer range. Then, he joined the group. He played everything, made new friends, had fun and experience a lot of hands-on-play from across the years like marbles, dress-up and hula hoops.

BOOKS-IN-ACTION (The Nutcracker--imagination, reading, visualization, expressive movement, dress-up, interpreting music, rhythmic meters that build better speech, visual focus) 
Copyright Judie Ryan All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 15, 2017


I twirled my hair around my finger when I was a kid. It drove my Dad crazy. Then, many years later, my own daughter ate her hair and telling her that hair is dirty didn't help

I ran into this current article about this kind of behavior. first, I was thrilled to discover that my daughter and I weren't the only kids to twist, or eat, our hair? I flipped when I read it. I'd already guessed it might be an activity for self-soothing. However, I was surprised to learn that it could also be an illness called pica, a condition that causes kids to have unusual cravings.When you think about it, kids can eat some weird stuff. If you're interested, check out the article: http://www.livestrong.com/article/321173-why-do-babies-try-to-eat-their-hair/

Babies eating their hair?. Yikes! You should probably ask your child's pediatrician about your child's specific habit, bearing in mind that all caregivers often give up on what their pediatrician recommends.You're not the only one

My daughter, Julia, ate her hair for a longtime. It took a friend to help us solve our problem.  This friend suggested we throw Julia a "No More Hair Eating" Party if she gave it up. Yes, rewards really do work! Soon we were having a "No More Hair Eating" Party to celebrate her success. What does your child like to do more than anything? Incorporate that into your reward party for succeeding at something you want him to stop.  In fact, little parties work as rewords for lots of things. Try it

How about a bouncy house party, swim party, zoo party. dinosaur party... The party can be as large or as small as you want it to be. Have fun!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017


If the public schools are going to teach vocabulary, this case the word sequencing is used instead of the way a story is ordered. Kids need to know what words mean before they try to use their new vocabulary word.  Where my daughter went to school, to teach sequencing, the students were given cut out of pages from a story, which they usually colored (IN THE LINES) until their hands hurt. Then they glued the pages to a long piece of paper in the order the pages would come in a book.

This might be fun to some, but I didn't believe kids should be coloring, especially until their hands hurt in kindergarten. Since learning social skills is an important part of preschool and kindergarten, I always used flexible and group projects. We never had fights or disagreements like the ones my daughter had in her preschools and kindergarten. 

Making up a story, using our imaginations, we all worked together.  We didn't lecture about sequencing. We just learned while we were having fun. I usually started the story, until the kids got familiar with how to tell a group story. In the beginning students might need some cues. My first story went like this:

STORY BEGINS: "We're going for a walk in the woods."
CUE: "Who shall we take?"
          The answers might range from: "My mom." "Miss Frizzle." "A purple elephant." All answers              are good. The more imaginative the better. Without a movie, pictures, television, a               
           smartphone, etc., the story is entirely in their imagination. They have to visualize the picture,              the colors and so on.  
CUE: "What will we take?"
            Kids answers.
CUE:  "OH NO! I see something behind that bush. What is it? 
           Kids answers. 
The story can go on indefinitely, but there must be and order to the story and it must have an ending.

Monday, June 5, 2017


Judy Liotta, a friend of mine, who entertained her nieces and my daughter while we were having play dates. had a great way with kids. While other children complained "I'm bored," they never did it when they were with Judy.

Here's how she did. While travelling around with a car full of young riders, she had a Travelling Game. It always worked. Grown-ups along-for-the-ride had fun too. If we were coming to a railroad track, Judy would say, "Railroad tracks." We'd all lift our feet high off the floor and kept them that way until we were over the track. If we were about to pass under a bridge. We'd raise our hands over our heads and press on the roof if our arms were long enough, so the bridge wouldn't collapse on top of our car. Passing a cemetery? Everyone hold your breath! The game improved our attention spans, made great family fun, taught the kids they have some control over their lives and everyone became more observant of the world around them.

Here's an idea from me: As everyone becomes familiar with the Travelling Game, make up your own actions to add. Hold your ears closed when a fire truck races by! See a swimming pool or lake? Hold your nose, puff out you cheeks and squeeze your eyes shut until you've driven by. Grown-up? If you can take it, add sound effects together!

My friend, Judy Liotta, died January 22, 2016
She left behind fun, play and laughter we'll pass on to others through the years.
Love you, Judy

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Community Table’s American Profile May 21-27 featured DOG PARKS DO’S AND DON’TS by Heather Donahue in their good life guide section. The article left readers feeling that everyone who brings their dog to a dog parks will be responsible. That all the dogs that come to the dog park will be healthy and have their required shots. Neither of those things is true.

We have a huge gorgeous dog park in Stow, OH. It has large and small dog areas, a large lake, a diving area for diving dogs, an agility coarse, balls and Frisbees to play with, picnic tables, a dog wash and much more. When the dog park first opened, we were very excited to take our dogs there. But we no longer do that.   
Our dog park has rules, however, it is not supervised. The city expects the dog owners to closely watch their dogs and make sure their dogs are up-to-date on shots. It's free to use the dog park after all. We expected dog lovers who would bring their dogs to play at a dog park to do those things. At our early visits, we saw dogs with terrible diarrhea going to the bathroom in the lake. Each time, we sought the owners to let them know their dogs were sick. We never found an owner. Not once. 

We discovered that many owners dropped their dogs at the dog park on their way to work and didn’t pick them up until late when they returned home. Many aggressive dogs prowled the dog parks. At least one dog was killed by another dog while the attacked dog’s owner watched. We could see why our vet wasn’t excited about dog parks. We didn't really feel safe there either. We stopped going. 

Later, we discovered a safer, healthier option—doggy daycares. Dog daycares require health and shot records from their clients. Their doggy customers must be registered. Dog daycares are supervised. At our dog daycare, the dogs are excited to play with dogs they recognize. The dogs adore their caregivers. Instead of one dog park, there are multiple options. Some dog daycares are very businesslike, with caregivers that merely watch the dogs, but don’t play with them. Some dog daycares are smaller with more personal attention. These are like leaving your dogs with a close friend. You can stay and play with your dog, leave it for a short visit or to play all day. However, you do have to pay for this privilege. Most people think it’s worth it.  

                                                                      DOGGY DAYCARE