Girls Know How Blog

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Even the loftiest answers seem possible to a child while dreaming of his or her future, according to Ellen Langas, youth career education advocate and author of the Girls Know How® series. But as concerns with body consciousness and social acceptance enter the equation for tween girls, the tables can abruptly turn. "Our job as parents is to support our kids by eliminating preconceived notions of career limitations and by exposing them to a variety of career options and positive role models.” 
With every new generation of young women, we see an advance in mindset that brings them one step closer to true freedom when it comes to choosing whatever careers they want. But recently I saw a shift so dramatic that I was truly rocked by it.
 

“Do you want to see me print someone?” the Great Fredini asked the audience, which responded with energetic applause.

“How about you?” he said. I looked to my left and right, but knew he was talking to me. The crowd’s enthusiasm grew and I heard myself say “okay” -- more like a question than an answer.

What’s inside the box, Mom? It was New Year’s Day, and my daughters, who were about 7 and 8 years old at the time, were filled with curiosity as I pulled a black vintage suitcase down from the top of our basement storage shelves and plopped it on the floor with a weighty thud.

It’s not just the best gifts that come in small packages – sometimes it’s the best people too!
 
In fifth grade, Masaki Kleinkopf wanted to play an instrument -- any instrument. His school’s band director suggested he try trombone, and he took to it immediately.
 
“I played just for fun in elementary school, but by high school I practiced at least 2 hours every day,” Masaki told me. 
 
“I want to be a musician because I don’t want to be in a gang.” 
 
That was the startling truth from a 13-year-old girl I met at an event in Cape Town, South Africa last summer. Sasha* had just finished a performance in front of an audience of business leaders who were impressed by her musical passion and skill. Yet without the support of a pivotal organization in her life, Sasha would have never discovered her own talent.
 
"Here comes hairy-legs Langas," the boys chanted. They laughed and pointed at me as I walked by, brave on the outside, suffering on the inside. 
 
What’s old is new again when it comes to play. It’s the perfect learning laboratory for children, but it’s not just for kids. Now, more than ever, play is being prescribed to improve creativity, enhance connections and reduce stress on the job. 
 
 
Summer break is an ideal time to stimulate the development of valuable skills that help kids excel at school, on the playground, in college and eventually on the job. This year, before your kids have a chance to even think about being bored, you can pave the way for creative learning opportunities that give them hands-on experiences. Choose from these five fun and easy ideas that are especially suited to summer: