How to Say “I Love You” in 10 Common Languages
The days are getting longer, the sun’s bows shooting arrows of light into our lives, lifting our spirits and putting an amorous spring into our steps.  It’s no wonder this is the time for lovers, as winter’s nip is still in the air, making our eyes wander to people with whom we might want to snuggle for the next few cold months.  All over the world people’s feelings are the same, but the ways of saying it are many. At Gululu, we celebrate all cultures, and realize the beauty of our world balloons from the diversity of all the different lovebirds in it!  Love- one of our core values- is something to be shared with the people in our families, at work, and in our communities.  Cherishing Valentine’s Day this year, we’d like to introduce you, our friends and fans, to the most common and affectionate ways to say, “I love you.” 1) Mandarin Chinese: “???” Phonetic: wo eye nee Nearly 1.2 billion people worldwide speak some form of Chinese. Mandarin Chinese, with more than 960 million native speakers, is the most-spoken language in the world. Chinese has been around for a very long time, with writing going back 5000 years. Ancient spoken Chinese was very diverse with thousands of dialects.  Old Mandarin developed around 1324 AD, but wasn’t accepted as a national language in Taiwan until 1932, and in Mainland China until 1949. That’s a whole lot of love! 2) Spanish: “Te amo.” Phonetic: tay ah-moe There are over 427 million native speakers of Spanish worldwide, which makes Spanish the second most-commonly spoken language in the world. Formed from Latin in the Iberian Peninsula, Old Spanish- known as Castilian- developed around the 10th century AD. Over the years it changed, and around 1500AD, finally became the Spanish we know today.  Spanish is called a “romance language” because of its Romanic heritage. Oh, how romantic! 3) English: “I love you.” Phonetic: ahyee luv yew I bet you didn’t expect to see English on the list!  But yes, this post’s mother language is spoken by over 339 million native speakers worldwide, making it the third most-common spoken language! Old English (Anglo-Saxon), was first spoken around 450AD in England, Scotland, and by some Germanic tribes. Middle English lasted from 1150-AD until the development of early modern English at the end of the 15thcentury. Finally, modern English flirted up around the year 1650 AD. 4) Hindi: “??? ????? ????? ???? ???” Phonetic: (to female) may toom say pyar kar ta-hoon (to male) may toom say pyar kar tee-hoon Hindi emerged in India around the 7th century AD and was fully established by the 10th century. Considered to be a direct descendant of early Sanskrit, Hindi is one of the official languages of India, and also Fiji. Hindi has been influenced by other languages, too! Portuguese, English, Arabic, Turkish and Dravidian have all lent a few words.  Hindi boasts more than 310 million native speakers worldwide.   5) Arabic: “????” Phonetic: (to male) ana beh ka (to female) ana beh ke Arabic was first spoken in the Iron Age (1200-600 BCE). Wow! That’s a long time ago! Springing up in northwestern Arabia, Arabic has influenced many languages: Persian, Turkish, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Indonesian- just to name a few! Latin and Greek- the origins of most European languages- borrowed much vocabulary from Arabic, too. Classical written Arabic follows the standards of the Quran, written around 610AD. Modern Arabic differs in style and vocabulary.  Globally, there are over 295 million devoted native speakers of Arabic.   6) Portuguese: “ Eu te amo.”  Phonetic: eeyew chee ahmoe Another one of the romance languages, Portuguese developed around 300 BCE in the Western Iberian Peninsula.  Roman soldiers brought with them Latin, which later gave birth to Portuguese.  The first written documents of Portuguese are dated from around the 9th century AD. Today, the majority of Portuguese speaking people are from Brazil, with a worldwide population of more than 215 million native speakers.   7) Bengali: “??? ?????? ????????” Phonetic: ahmee toemAy bhAhlo bAshee From the exotic region of South Asia, Bengali-also known as Bangla- has over 210 million native speakers worldwide.  Developed from Sanskrit over thousands of years, Bengali emerged around 1000 AD, with the modern form becoming stable in the late 19th century. Bengali is the official national language of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the second most-spoken language in India and Pakistan.   8) Russian: “? ????? ????” Phonetic: yah teh-byah loo bloo The largest native language in Europe, Russian is the main language spoken in Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and many smaller East European territories, with more than 160 million native speakers worldwide. Modern Russian arose in the 1700’s under the rule of Peter the Great.  An Aramic language like English, not much is known about the pre-history of the Russian language. Scholars suggest it came from tribal dialects, mixed with Greek and other European dialects. 9) Japanese: ”??????” Phonetic: ah ee shee tay mah soo Little is known about the Japanese language’s pre-history. Although Japanese and Chinese have no lingual relationship, Chinese has had a huge influence on Japanese, and most written Japanese comes from Chinese characters. Modern Japanese, developed around 1600, has many loanwords from English as well.  With about 125 million native speakers, Japanese is mostly spoken in Japan but can also be found in large communities in Brazil, the U.S. (Hawaii), and Canada. 10) Punjabi: “??? ??????? ???? ???? ???“ man ten-oo pyar kar da hAan Punjabi developed in northern India from Sanskrit, which changed to Prakrit, and then again to Apabhramsha. Modern Punjabi, influenced by Arabic and Persian, solidified around the 7th century AD. With over 100 million native speakers, Punjabi is the most spoken language in Pakistan, and is also widely spoken in India, the United Kingdom, and-believe it or not- Canada, after English and French.   Beloved friends and fans, we hope you will have many opportunities to say, “I love you” this Valentine’s Day. As we share these words with you, we also share our devotion to keeping kids healthy around the world.  No matter what language you speak, love is a constant that knows no borders or boundaries, no color or race.  Let your heart guide you , and keep sharing the Gululove! * We are sharing the Gulu-Love and offer 10% off for any purchase on Amazon Exclusive with this Promo Code: "GULULOVE" ( The offer is valid until 2/15/2017).  Lovingly, Team Gululu
Developing Your Kids’ “Generosity Muscle”
To celebrate Gululu’s partnership with, we at Team Gululu want to keep sharing the love by suggesting different ways to teach your bundles of joy about generosity. To recap, Gululu was invited by Amazon Exclusive to launch our product on their prestigious platform for the U.S. audience. To increase the launch and our value, we decided to team up with For every Gululu bottle sold, they will provide clean drinking water for life to a child in a developing country. That aligns with our vision to impact kids’ health and wellbeing. is a humanitarian organization that is helping to end the clean water crisis in developing countries, one community at a time. With 778 projects funded, works systematically, and has brought clean drinking water to more than 450,000 people in 20 countries. Ways to Teach Kids About Generosity For many kids, generosity is about giving gifts and sharing objects. From that basic understanding, you can encourage them to think in more abstract terms, like giving your time, sharing a smile, and that the best form of generosity is done sincerely and expecting nothing in return. Books - One of the best children’s books on generosity is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. It’s a classic book about the selfless nature of giving. Make sure to have a copy at home, and read and discuss it together! Demonstrate generosity - Your kid takes his cues from you, and when he consistently sees you being generous he’ll want to copy your behavior. Don't hesitate to explain your own generous actions out loud: "I baked two cakes. I could have baked only one, but I want to give one as a gift to our neighbor.” Play a family generosity game - Take out some family photos and enjoy looking at them together. Have fun by asking your children to take turns imitating your mannerisms and habits while completing various tasks. Examples include driving a car, cleaning up, making dinner, changing a diaper, or any other parenting task. Caring for others - Make a gift for someone. It could be a card, a drawing, or a package of goodies. Then, pay them a visit. They will be surprised and excited by your generous gesture! Discuss other people's wants and needs - Guide your kids to see a world bigger than themselves and to think about others. Discuss your closest family members’/friends’ needs and how to address them and your needs together. With generosity and Gulu-Love, Team Gululu
Tips for planning your Kids’ New Year’s Resolutions
Reflecting on the past year, setting goals and decisions for the new year, is something many grownups are doing, but can it be equally effective for your kids?  If taken in a constructive way, your children can benefit from this process and learn how to plan and take charge of their actions. Keeping the promises made, or acquiring or improving healthy habits, can make kids feel better about themselves and develop their self-esteem. Ultimately, such a process can change the course of the coming year- for the best!Setting New Year’s resolutions for your kids should start with their own will. Guide them to find what achievements this year will make their hearts sing! Here are a few resolutions to suggest your kids embrace:?         Be the best at something.If your kids practice sports, music, chess or any other skill- ask them, what can they do to be the best at it? Or if there is any new skill your kids want to develop this year, ask them what it is, and plan their steps to acquire this. Let your kids come up with answers and help them by adjusting their plan for getting better at their choices.  Remember, every small win counts!?         Improve grades.School is a big part of their lives. Ask your kids in which classes would they like to get better grades, and what can they promise to do in order to make this happen? Make yourself available to adjust or to add to their suggestions as needed. ?          Eat a healthy dietEncourage your kids to develop healthy eating habits to help avoid cavities, obesity, and improve their wellbeing. Good hydration habits are also healthy for your kids (That’s what Gululu water bottles are for!). Create a game plan, like: “sweets are allowed once per day,” or, “eat at least one favorite fruit or vegetable every day,” and so on- whatever works for you and your kid!The most challenging thing is to keep it going for the whole year. Find ways to help your kids be consistent with their goals. Talk about it. Give them incentives. Plan or emphasize their small wins on a regular basis. Anything that can make your kids want to keep fulfilling their goals for 2017 is great!Have a wonderful 2017!Love, Team Gululu 
How To Improve Your Kids’ Self-Esteem
It’s usually easy to notice when kids seem to feel good about themselves, and when they don't. We often describe this as "self-esteem." When grownups and especially kids feel good about themselves, it sets them up for success in many of life’s aspects from school to friendships. Kids who experience more positive feelings like self-acceptance or self-confidence will try new challenges, cope with mistakes better, and try again. Taking pride in their abilities and accomplishments helps kids in every step of the way.Our kids self esteem is being built during their childhood by their closest surroundings. To support that, we have gathered 3 top tips to help build our kids self esteem:Encourage and accept idea sharing: Share your decision making process with your kids and let them raise solutions and thoughts. Accept their ideas with love and excitement - that will improve their self worth and promote good feeling.Strengthen their strengths: In his book “Seeds of Self-Esteem" Dr.’ Robert B. Brooks states that everyone has a few fields of strength. It’s important to support our kids in expressing those strengths as the small accomplishments will make the kid feel good. Also the positive feedback your kid will get from their surroundings will increase their self esteem.Develop their sense of responsibility: Being responsible increases our kids sense of belonging and motivation to collaborate with others. Give your kid small responsibilities like putting his toys back in place at the end of each day, help cleaning the table after dinner, or assist with younger sibling. All of those will improve your kids self esteem and reflect on other aspects of life, school, social life, etc. With lots of Gululu-Love, the Gululu team
7 Healthy & Festive Halloween Treats That Your Kids Would Love!
With Halloween just around the corner, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite healthy and festive treats! Sometimes the amount of candy consumed during Halloween can be the spookiest part of the holiday, so we’ve compiled a list of snacks that are both fun for your kids to create together, share with others and of course good for them! 1.“Grapenstein” This spooky snack is super easy and portable. Perfect for packing into your child’s lunchbox! 2. Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts These adorable and fruity snacks are perfect for parties or as snacks for the whole class. 3.Witches Hands This spooky witch hand is out to get you…! Use seethrough food handler gloves (non latex), and fill with popcorn and use candy corns or almonds for the fingernails. This hand is delicious and fun to eat! 4.Spider PB&J For an easy and festive school lunch on Halloween day, try this creepy crawly sandwich that your kid will love eating! 5. Candy Corn Popsicles   Even though the weather is cooler, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a frozen treat! These candy corn popsicles are super easy to make and delicious, too. 6. Witches’ Teeth These witchy treats are easy and healthy and look fantastic. Cut apples in the shape of an open mouth, and sub the almonds for seeds or pretzel stick bits to accommodate allergies! 7.Witch or Frankenstein Guac Platter These magnificent displays are not only healthy but make great centerpieces for a Halloween party or as a contribution to a Halloween-themed potluck! With little cooking involved, these are easy and fun to assemble. We hope you enjoy these tasty and nutritious treats! Happy Halloween from everyone at Team Gululu!
5 tips to balance technology with your kids, the same as you do with hydration
Establishing good habits is important no matter what, whether it’s with drinking or with technology usage. With drinking it's that little screen that reminds us to drink, but how do we balance technology time and other types of time with our kids?We teamed up with to understand why it is so important to balance technology, and got some useful tips for you. As we are gathering more and more data on technology usage, we realize excessive screen time is associated with many problems like poor academic performance, sleep problems, obesity, and more.According to the American Academy of Pediatrics study, 8-10 year old children spend nearly 8 hours a day on media, while teens spend more than 11 hours a day on it. Our children spend more time with media than school or sleep! How can we balance it?Here are some tips that can help balance technology and life in your family:Encourage playtime. Passive screen time shouldn't replace playing, reading, hiking, or any off-screen activity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for young children. Set Limits. Kids need and expect limits set by their parents. Rules needs to be clear and relevant to your kids. Some examples are no devices during dinner; no devices at bedtime; no cellphone while doing homework.Create tech-free zones. Your dining area and bedroom should be tech free. Keep your family dinner technology free, as this is the time your family should socialize. Keep the computer and TV out of the kids bedroom, which will reduce temptation to use at night, and make it easy for you to monitor their use.Out of sight out of mind! Have a charging station for all devices at a common place around your home, and have them charge overnight. That will help with the temptation to use them when kids should be sleeping, and a bonus - all are ready with 100% battery for the next day! Be a role model. Don't forget to join your children in an unplugged play whenever you're able. Don’t check your phone when they talk about their day. Leading by example is the best learning tool we have as parents, use it!Bonus tip- Define your family’s technology rules with your children. Make sure they are aware of them. If kids understand what's expected of them and the reason behind it, they are more likely to agree and follow.  * This guest post was written by @TaliOrad, founder of Screen and also a mother of 3 children that live by those rules and are happy to share them with you!** Image credit:
Continue the summer fun and stay healthy all year long with Gululu’s favorite kid’s products
Parents, it’s a shame that summer is nearing an end! Are you worrying about all the stress from back-to-school season? Not only does Gululu help children stay healthy and make parents happy by helping their kids develop good habits, it also serves the function as a friend! The Gululu friends are high-tech virtual pets that accompany families through a hydration adventure this summer and even after school starts! To brighten up kids’ daily lives even more, Team Gululu has done lots of research to find out what suits kids the best. Through the Gululu team’s careful investigation on many children products during the development of our own bottle, we also learned the key elements that we want to deliver with a children’s product: innovation, companionship, healthy habit formation, and storytelling. Here we have selected 10 exciting kid’s products that also share these elements, just like Gululu does. Let’s check them out! Gululu interactive bottle Our top pick is, of course, Gululu! Gululu rewards kids for their good water drinking habits by measuring and tracking children’s daily drinking with the advanced technology implemented into the bottles. Gululu helps kids learn through playing with the lively Gululu monsters living in their bottles. Parents can also set school mode for the bottle so it won’t disturb kids’ school time. It’s the perfect back-to-school must-have, grab a Gululu bottle now! Boogie Board e-writers Remember the old-fashioned scratch board you used to play on? Remember the time you spent to draw on it with a wooden paper just to revel in the color of rainbow beneath? Now there is a more advanced version of it just for your kid to enjoy the same joy you used to, only with an electronic pen and an LCD screen. With the new scratch board and new Gululu Interactive Water Bottle, let your kids enjoy the same fun and drink as much water as you did with fashionable technology! New Matter 3D printer Finally, an affordable 3D printer for your kids to play with. This amazing 3D printer is designed by New Matter, and has a complete DIY feature for your kids to maximize their imagination, as well as an easy-to-use online store with varieties of model choices to print. Let your kids create their own universe! Osmo Osmo is an award-winning game system that will change the way your child interacts with the iPad by opening it up to hands-on play. It makes the iPad more interactive with your kids, with engaging puzzles and games that will let them learning through playing! Kidizoom Smartwatch DX This smartwatch is perfect for the kids that want to be a photographer! This durable smartwatch has plenty of memory so kids can take tons of pictures and videos. Not only does it help kids learn to tell time by letting them choose between more than fifty 3D digital and analog displays, the Smartwatch DX also includes games kids can play with! Just like Gululu, it comes in 5 different colors! Let’s color on kids’ daily lives! The Forest Feast for Kids The first children’s cookbook from New York Times bestselling author and popular food blogger Erin Gleeson, The Forest Feast for Kids, comes with 40 easy-to-follow recipes. This includes both text and visual directions for snacks, main courses, desserts, and drinks to let children cook the dishes themselves.   Epic! Like the name hints at, it sure is an epic mobile app that provides access to Over 15,000 Books for Kids. Epic! Having a personalized recommendations feature based on kids’ interest and their individual reading levels, the reward system also offers extra motivation for children to keep reading. We find Gululu is just like this in bottle form! MyPlate While Gululu teaches kids healthy hydration habits, MyPlate helps kids develop healthy eating habits. MyPlate teaches kids the way of healthy and balanced whole food diets with enticing pictures. The visual stimuli remind kids which categories of food they should include in every meal, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner.   The summertime is almost over; we hope the products Gululu suggested for you can extend the fun to all year long. Before you pack the school bags for your little darlings, make sure they can have as much of a blast in the incoming school year as in the summer! Wishing everyone can have a nice back-to-school season! Oh, and don’t forget to drink enough water to optimize brain and body function and keep energy levels high for school!   Have something you want to say about our recommendations? Or do you have even better suggestions? Please feel free to let us know by commenting on our Facebook page!   Disclaimer: Except for Gululu Interactive Water Bottle, other products stated above do not belong to and are not controlled by Bowhead Technology. Posting content is provided for informational purposes only. All images used in this post are property of respective image holders. Images are only used for indicative purposes.  
Use colors of nature and imagination to make everyday a healthy adventure!
Based on the percentages provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, the categories of the Food Guide Pyramid are a modern outline to support a healthy diet for children. Kids these days need nutritious snacks and healthy meals to help nourish and encourage them to make healthy choices in the future! Basically, six grain group servings, three vegetable servings, two fruit servings, as well as two meat group and 2 dairy group servings are needed to maintain a balanced diet to prepare your kids for each day. These food groups offer many colors to the pallet, and that is very much needed, but also very much missing on many children’s plates today. But children also need access to much more water than what they may be getting, and Eat Right recommends that children four to nine drink about five to ten cups of water daily. However, with the fast-paced activity-packed days that fill up our weeks, we know that sometimes these goals can be hard to meet. This is why we have created a few tips to make sure that you and your children can go throughout each day and enjoy living the healthy way! Put good in, get good out! A healthy kid is a happy kid and a happy kid is able to take on each day’s adventures with energy and excitement. Color variation: Make sure the rainbow is represented throughout the day, and if your child has a favorite color let that be another way to find a food that they can chose as a healthy snack. Fresh foods will frequently have dull or bland colors, but often the foods that we can find that offer the most nutrition are those on our plates that have bright and fun colors to them!   Shopping for foods by colors while your children are learning them is also a great way to make buying varied fresh foods fun. By making a color wheel checklist, it will be easy to get everyone excited about finding new and different foods to try.   Kids eat with their eyes. Meaning, if a kid doesn’t think what is on their plate looks appetizing, picky eater or not, they probably won't take a bite. Allowing your kids to pick out their own foods from healthy options you steer your shopping cart to gives them the responsibility to eat whatever they picked out!   Let your child be a part of the food preparation! This tip can be two activities all rolled into one as you incorporate an arts and crafts feature into a meal. Just as you might make a smiley face for your kids with breakfast foods in the morning, let them be the designers of their food experience. Eating a piece of broccoli becomes much more fun when it is part of a magical forest or when it is the arm of a green monster created by your child.   A fun way to make getting the proper amount of water engaging rather than challenging is to have drinking a glass of water be the first step to a relay race or obstacle course. The course can start and end with a cup of water and after doing all the exercise and activities in the course they will definitely be thirsty for another glass.   Another way to get your kids to drink more water is to add a drop of fresh juice to the water so that it turns a different flavor. Then you can say that the different flavors mean different super powers and let your child’s imagination take over. For example, blueberry juice could be water superpowers, apple juice could be earthly powers, watermelon juice could be fire yielding, and orange juice could be air bending!   Reference:    
Keep Your Kids Hydrated In The Hot Summer Heat
As the weather gets warmer and the temperature gets hotter, it becomes even more important to make sure that the kids stay healthy in the summer. Summertime is a great time for the children to go out and play, but we need to make sure that they are doing it the safe way. Safe, in this sense, means to stay hydrated and lathered up with the proper amounts of water and sunscreen. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are serious dangers in the hot summer heat, but they can easily be avoided too! Parents, make sure that your little ones are continuously drinking water throughout the day. Just drinking a glass of water before an outside activity won’t completely keep your kids hydrated and in fact, will not go a very long way as they are running around sweating it all out. We often remember to put on sunscreen because we can quickly see the affect if we don’t, but making sure hydration is happening throughout the day is just as important! Keep your kids happy, healthy, and hydrated this summer, all you need is water! We’re happy Gululu can help! This summer, use a Gululu bottle to make sure your kids get the perfect amount of water! It personalizes your child’s hydration plan by inputting their data such as age and weight to make sure that they get hydrated and stay hydrated. To make this bottle even more available, we have just recently launched a campaign here on Indiegogo so that summer hydration won’t be a difficult problem to tackle. With this new launch we also have new Indiegogo InDemand gift for each Indiegogo rewards package purchase. These gifts will be exclusively offered to Indiegogo backers: a set of Gululu stickers to come with each bottle! These special perks are all fun ways to make drinking water an easily formed habit for kids at just the right season when they really need it.
The Solutions For Dehydration.Help Your Kids To Stay Hydrated Today
Our kids are thirsty! According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, “more than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are not getting enough hydration—probably because they’re not drinking enough water.” Because 50% of our little ones are going through each day without getting just the right amount of water, their physical, cognitive and emotional functions can be harmed. Too much sugar has been linked to diseases like diabetes and obesity, and their dehydration doesn’t help either, but there is a way to take on this health issue of today! A Tried-and-True, Age-Old Solution: it’s all about modeling behavior. Even though it may be easier said than done, as parents we need to take the lead and show our children the healthy behavior that we know is best. When kids are out of sight we have limited control over their choices, which creates a challenge-but not an impossible one! The best way to encourage our children to eat and be healthier is to model the healthier behavior that we desire for them to have. By doing things like drinking water at family meals, and taking sugary substitute drinks out of the house, our children can learn how to make better choices that will leave them happier and healthier when away from home! A 21ST CENTURY SOLUTION: IT’S ALL ABOUT GAMIFICATION, AKA LEARNING HABITS THROUGH PLAY. Gamification is a new method used to motivate kids by learning through game design and play. Research shows that education through play is one of the best ways to ensure that your child develops healthy habits, and, more importantly, keeps them over time. So there is a question that needs an answer: how can we implement gamification to ensure that our children can get the proper hydration? Elements of gamification like progress mechanics, social interaction, and music, can have a major impact. For example, try a contest with a sibling or friend: who can drink a water bottle before it’s time to school? Or, create a roadmap on the wall and let your child move one space with every glass of water he or she drinks throughout the month! The issue of dehydration can also be challenged in three steps, which are also the three goals that Gululu has in order to keep wellness a top priority for our kids as they move and grow each day. 1. Help kids develop healthy habits and healthy learning. 2. Give kids the socialization that they need. 3. Offer a healthy aid by the means of a daily companion. Gululu has a whole Universe dedicated to the three steps above! The Gululu pet that your child chooses when they receive their Gululu Interactive Bottle can grow and evolve as your child continues to hydrate throughout the day. Plus, drinking goals based on weight and lifestyle ensures that your child will receive just the right amount of hydration each day. The encouragement from habit learning games and shaking the bottle with friends makes drinking water much more fun! Hydration is important so that kids can live happier and healthier lives, so next time use these tips hydrate your family! ?
From School Day To Summer Play
Fun,Learning,Health and Spontaneity Make for a Healthy but Happy Break Summer’s Coming: Healthy Habits Smooth Rough Transitions It’s about that time when end of the school year performances and parties are in full swing, and tweeting birds, blooming flowers, and warm breezes are all luring our attention away from school and on to summer escapades. The end of school is the annual event that my kids anticipate most, second only to Christmas. Rough Beginnings As exciting as the pending freedom from books and rigorous routine is, however, the transition from school time to summer does not always go as smoothly as we would hope. Many children and adults, alike, thrive on structure, and the lack thereof lead to abnormal behaviors such as irritability, lack of energy, and an overdependence on others to entertain them. We parents are all too familiar with the phrase, “I’m booooooooooored!”, and with breaking up squabbles among siblings. If we are not careful, the whimsical and carefree summer we have in our dreams can quickly degrade into a summer of whining and bickering. Alas, have no fear?—?there are lots of ways to maintain the summer dream! Here are some healthy habits that my family uses to maintain a great balance of structure and freedom during the summer, maybe they will work for yours, too! 1. Plan for Fun with a good deed reward game Reward your children for good deeds with future fun! Set an end-of-the-summer goal that every member of the family can work toward. For example, I like to plan a trip in May that we will take in mid-August, and we all work toward funding the trip throughout the summer. I fill a “good deed jar” with coins (or tokens), and then reward my kids with money or tokens from the jar for the healthy habits and chores that they perform throughout the summer. For example, each time they complete a ‘good deed’, I take money or tokens from the “good deed jar” and add it to the “family trip jar.” Reverse order! Let your kids reward you as well. They can also reward me and my husband for doing things that they really appreciate?—?making a favorite dinner, spending time with them doing a craft, or playing a game together. Over the summer, we all watch the funds for the trip accumulate and we get excited for the fun that is to come. I started this system when my oldest was just 3 years old, and it has worked for many years (she is now 12!). The following are all examples of good deeds and habits that deserve rewards. 2. Plan for Learning Life is learning, never stop Learning stimulates our brains and opens up new avenues for understanding ourselves and our world. Summer is a great time to learn, whether it be reviewing something done in the past, or starting something new. It could be academic, or completely whimsical and freeform. No matter the subject matter, however, the theme should be experimentation, either with topic or method. Organizing a plan of action! Try something…anything…new! We all have our limits for how much we crave or tolerate predictability, so respect those limits in yourself and in your children, and introduce a healthy dose of learning to your kids’ days. Plan to learn by setting aside time each day or week that you and your children can focus on learning. Discuss with them topics that they may want to pursue sooner rather than later and create a plan with them to address their goals, and develop a ‘curriculum’. Summer days slip by faster than we think, so it’s best to think and plan for it ahead. Be the spark of your child’s life Summertime independent study projects often lead to new interests that children continue to develop over the following school year and even decades past. For example, my younger daughter is quite artistic, so last summer I downloaded a bunch of graphic design apps for her iPad that she could experiment with a few times per week in the mornings. Now when she has spare time, she frequently uses these apps to create new doodles and images. A graphic designer in the making, perhaps? Common Sense Media has some great suggestions for creative tablet apps for kids: 3. Plan for Health Lazy Summer habits Having access to the family pantry more often than normal during the summer months can lead kids to develop unhealthy snacking habits that may persist longer than the summer. It’s hard to resist a package of Oreos or a can of soda that is within reach, after all! And not having recess planned into the day may make it more difficult for our kids to get their wiggles out and flex their muscles. Healthy Summer habits for your kids Planning for health helps to keep the sweets in the category of a treat (rather than a given), and help kids maintain their healthy exercise habits throughout the summer. Our family likes to limit sweets to one per day, to be enjoyed at any time of my kids’ choosing. We are careful to educate them that health comes from moderation, so it is important to enjoy our treats, but to set limits on them. We do our best to provide whole grain, fruit and veggie-centered meals during the day to keep their tummies full and their bodies well-fueled. As for exercise, my husband and I have been running together regularly for over 20 years, and we are lucky that our kids also enjoy it (albeit on a more limited scale). We try to do a family run once every two weeks or so, which helps to instill the importance of exercise in their lives. My girls happen to be what I call, “indoor kitty cats” that prefer to read books over anything else, so I have to force them to go outside to play more than I would hope. Summer is the perfect time to inspire them to enjoy the outdoors (i.e. kick them out of the house), whether it be in the backyard woods or the neighborhood park. Fresh air, tree branches, and dirt piles tend to get kids’ bodies and minds moving naturally. Fun family exercises Additionally, our family tries to use our evening TV time as a period for stretching and doing some mat strengthening exercises. It’s more fun than it sounds, trust me! Think family crab walking around the coffee table, and handstand contests against the wall. Sometimes we go hog-wild and let the kids be our drill sergeants?—?oh, the craziness that ensues! Even the most grueling and boring of tasks can be made fun when you do it together. And of course, don’t forget to drink water throughout your day! The benefits of regular exercise and healthy eating & hydration to the mind and body are well-documented, and maintaining them will make your summer happier for everyone. Parents magazine has some great suggestions for ways families can exercise together: 4. Plan for Spontaneity Sounds like an oxymoron, right? But it’s not, really. On those days when you are running around from one “have to” to the next, we need to plan time into our days for things that come up suddenly without warning. Sometimes we can keep up with our schedules, but most of the time we end up having to deal with a situation that we hadn’t planned for and we fall behind, which leads to anxiety and even blow-ups (I’ve had my share!). Transitioning from one activity to the next So what’s the solution to keeping our family’s lives and emotions on track? Buffer time! We cannot expect our little ones to transition smoothly or quickly, and we need to build in time to our schedules to allow for them to move from one activity to another, no matter if you have toddlers or teens. We need to allow them the space and time to transition from the high emotion of a really fun activity, to the lower emotional level of a mundane one. For example, if you need to leave a 6-year-old birthday party to go to a doctor’s appointment, your kids may not be leading the way to the car for an on-time departure. But if you plan for an extra 20 minutes of buffer time, you will have time to deal with any “road blocks” that come up?—?tantrums, leaving something behind and having to turn back to get it, a bathroom stop, or just a prolonged negotiation with a persistent offspring. Time to Connect If all goes smoothly, however, you may even have some extra time in your schedule to add an activity of their choice on the back end of your errands. Perhaps it is a quick stop at the beach where you can frolic for a few minutes, or maybe a jaunt the library where you can pick up books and movies. Planning for buffer time is a healthy habit that will afford you more patience to address your family’s physical and emotional needs, and will lead to your kids’ gradual understanding of the benefits of transitioning smoothly (I cannot emphasize the word ‘gradual’ enough!). Here are some 10–20 minute long activities that can fill those short gaps of time with giggles and love: It’s hard to hit that balance between too much structure and too little, but hopefully these tips help you strike it just right for your family. Maybe you have other great ideas? Please tell us, we are curious to know what works for your family!
Unveiling Gululu: An Interactive Water Bottle That Helps Kids Stay Hydrated
Today we’re launching Gululu, a Tamagotchi-like interactive water bottle for children (and playful adults) that helps them stay hydrated. As kids drink water from the bottle, their virtual pet thrives and makes friends. It’s a great way for children to stay healthy while having fun. Key product features include: Healthy hydration: The Gululu app sets hydration goals based on your kid’s details. Game play and virtual pets then motivate your child to meet these goals. Technology meets wellbeing: smart hardware and integrated software, together with a cloud-based app, ensure that children stay healthy, and that parents stay informed. Learning through play: as your kid drinks water, their pet grows, collects treasures, and explores a world of adventure called “The Gululu Universe.” Shake two nearby bottles to make friends and play together. Safe and convenient: Gululu is designed for children 3 and up, and all materials are 100% BPA free and comply with FDA standards. It’s 100% waterproof and shockproof (IP 6/7). The battery lasts 4 days and charges wirelessly in just 2 hours. Compared to traditional water bottles and existing smart cups, Gululu lets kids interact and develop a connection with their animated pet. This is made possible thanks to patented interaction design that combines touch and motion sensors. Touching or shaking the bottle makes the virtual pet react by laughing, leaping, and playing. Ensuring that their kids drink enough water is a top health concern for every parent. According to the 2015 Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health study titled, “Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012,” more than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are inadequately hydrated, and prone to headaches, irritability, diminished physical performance, and reduced cognitive functioning. The Gululu Interactive Bottle is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter for between $89 to $109 depending on the reward level. It will officially start shipping to the US, Canada, Asia and Europe after the Kickstarter campaign ends.
How Gamification Can Help Your Child Learn Healthy Hydration?
The Gululu Interactive Bottle uses advanced techonology and gamified content to ensure your child is healthy and hydrated. What Is Gamification? According to Wikipedia, Gamification is “the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.” It's kind of like the games you probably played in your head as a kid where you'd task yourself with cleaning your room in under five minutes, or doing the dishes as quickly as possible, and then you’d get to have dessert. Basically, you complete a task, you get a reward. Applications in health: gamification working for you Applications like Fitocracy and QUENTIQ use gamification to encourage their users to exercise more effectively and improve their overall health. Users are awarded varying numbers of points for activities they perform in their workouts and gain levels based on points collected. Users can also complete quests (sets of related activities) and gain achievement badges for fitness milestones. A review of over 100 health apps in the apple app store reveal a positive correlation between gamification elements and high user ratings. Psychology of gamification: how it works To understand how gamification works we need a basic understanding of what happens in the brain when you're motivated. That means we'll need to talk about dopamine, which is the chemical signal that gets passed from one neuron to the next. We won't go into it too deeply here, but the basic premise is simple: your body releases dopamine when you experience pleasure. This pleasure includes all kinds of things, including rewards. How Gululu uses gamification While the concept of gamification may be simple, effectively gamifying a concept is not. To understand how the Gululu interactive bottle uses gamification to enhance hydration, you can simply follow our five-step process: 1. A key factor that determines the success is an understanding of who the user is. Our users are children between four and nine years old, specifically those who may be underhydrated. (study conducted by Harvard University).. 2. We should have goals for kids to achieve while drinking water. Drinking goals are defined according to children’s weight and lifestyle. 3. Stages and milestones are powerful tools that enable children to complete the drinking goals. Each pet has three growing stages, which count as central milestones in the game. We also have interval goals that differ every two hours, and everyday. 4. Once the milestones have been identified, we prepare the animation resources. 5. Game mechanics can be classified as self-elements and social-elements. Self-elements include pets’ growing stages and the amount of droplets and plants. Social-elements include social game triggering by shaking the bottle and shared drinking habit scores, with higher rankings rising to the top. References: Huang, Wendy; Soman, Dilip (December 10, 2013). A Practitioner’s Guide To Gamification Of Education Klosowski, Thorin. "The Psychology of Gamification: Can Apps Keep You Motivated?" Lifehacker. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016. Miller, Tessa. "How to Harness Your Brain's Dopamine Supply and Increase Motivation." Lifehacker. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016.