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St. Louis Will Soon Be Robotics Central

When you first hear the term “robotics,” thoughts of fun, high-spirited competitions and unique social and cultural interaction likely don’t come to mind.

That's about to change. Around St. Louis you’ll soon be hearing a lot about robotics.

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Debating How Kids Learn

Note: This is the third in a three-part series. Read part 1Read part 2

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not regulate or monitor homeschooling in the state of Missouri, according to the department’s web site.

Additionally, neither the State Board of Education nor the department has authority to issue regulations or guidelines concerning homeschooling.

According to Michelle Clark, communications director for DESE, this lack of oversight would extend to unschooling, even though she had not heard of that education method.

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Hot Looks for Hot Mamas

With the snow starting to melt away and that big orange thing in the sky finally revealing itself, I’ve been scouring fashion magazines and websites with abandon, trying to get a taste of the trends for spring to plan my wardrobe for the upcoming season.

To get help in finding looks that are both fashion-forward and easy for a busy mom to pull off, celebrated St. Louis fashion stylist and personal shopper, Jan Leach of Jan Leach Style, shared with me five hot trends for spring 2011. And along with Natalie Woods, owner of Daisy Clover Boutique in Webster Groves, explained via email how anyone can pull them off so us moms can look and feel our best.

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Flowers for My Nature-Loving Valentine

At the grocery store on Friday, my son was tooling around recklessly with his little mini-cart like he usually does … until he came to the floral Valentine’s Day display. He screeched to a halt directly in front of the roses and stared at them like they were the most fascinating thing he’d ever seen in all his four and a half years.

We wound up leaving the store with a flowering plant (not roses, luckily!) that he carried out like it was a precious jewel. We propped it securely in the car for the drive home and he insisted we turn off the music so his plant could have peace and quiet. And he unloaded it from the car directly into a sunny window, with no prompting from me. He’s also been watering it and wondering when the large bud will join the two flowers that are already blooming.

Clearly this is a boy who’s suffering from a nature deficit!

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Smoke Signals

I can’t remember the last time I came home smelling like smoke. Or the last time I worried about my kids breathing in a bunch of smoke. Most of our friends and relatives who smoke hold off around the kids, and with the new city and county smoking bans, it’s going to be rare indeed for the kids to even see people smoking across the room.

So I wonder … will they be less likely to try it themselves? Or will they be more likely because it’s something exotic? Will it be like immunizations — parents who’ve never experienced a child sick with measles or whooping cough are forgoing vaccines against those diseases, and now the rates are on the rise.  Maybe my kids, never having seen a smoker puffing away despite a hacking cough, will be oblivious to the dangers.

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Never Say Never

Well, I finally did it. I went out and bought myself a minivan.

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Cures for Colds and Coughs

While my son was in the midst of a nasty stomach-and-respiratory virus the week before last, we left the doctor’s office empty-handed except for this piece of advice: Keep him hydrated.

Naturally, 7-year-olds with a fever, cough and queasy stomach are not inclined to go along with anything adults say, and my son’s immediate reaction was to say he wasn’t thirsty. OK, I thought. We’ll see. But when round after round of coughing racked his little body, I finally hit upon the idea of a drinking game.

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The Perils of the Potty

Potty training stands out as one of those parenting duties that comes with more questions than answers: When? How? What’s normal? When should I worry? What if it's just not happening?
Dr. John Gleeson, a pediatrician with Esse Health’s O’Fallon Pediatrics, talked with SmartParenting about the potty training process. We learned so much we've renamed Dr. Gleeson "The Potty Whisperer." See if you agree.

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Hearing Loss Hits Home for More Tweens and Teens

I repeat myself a million times a day. Or so it seems — like all kids, mine have selective hearing. They always hear “Candy” but never “Can you please …” However, in some cases, it may not be the child’s fault — one in 20 kids ages 6 to 12 has hearing loss in one ear, according to a 2010 study from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Often these hearing deficits go undetected — parents may be worried about a child’s ability to pay attention, for example, when in fact the child isn’t hearing directions well.

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Things to Do

Splash & Play at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center

Kids ages 0-5 can splash and play in the leisure pool at the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center during Splash & Play sessions. Splash & Play is held every Monday and Wednesday in the summer through August 7. Older children, ages 6-1, are welcome when they are accompanied by an adult and a child age 0-5.


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COCA Ignites Creativity and Sparks Fun for Kids of All Ages, All Summer Long

Stroll along the Walk of Fame in the Delmar Loop, and you’ll spot the playwrights, actors, and artists who got their start in St. Louis, from Tennessee Williams and Katherine Dunham, to Tina Turner and John Goodman. Just a few steps away and around the corner, a new generation of Gateway City superstars will discover their love for the visual and performing arts this summer.

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Farmer's Markets Make Great Family Outings! Here is Your 2024 Guide to Farmers Markets Across the St. Louis Area

A trip to the farmer’s market is a fun outing for the entire family – and it can be educational too. Make plans to visit one (or several) of these top St. Louis farmers’ markets this spring and summer, so that you and your kids can learn more about where your food comes from and indulge in some of the freshest, seasonal produce the St. Louis region has to offer. Plus, many of these markets offer activities just for kids, feature food trucks, welcome dogs, and more.    

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SUE: The T. Rex Experience to Roar Into the Saint Louis Science Center

This summer. families can meet Sue, the most complete, best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, in the Lou! The Saint Louis Science Center will welcome SUE: The T. rex Experience beginning June 8. The special exhibition features the latest scientific discoveries about the species as a whole along as well immersive, sensory exploration of life in the Cretaceous period.

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Life Lessons Learned at Overnight Camp

With the perfect blend of adventure and responsibility, camp life teaches kids valuable lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. If you send your child to overnight camp, here are some life lessons they are likely to learn.

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10 Reasons Your Teen Might Love to be a Camp Counselor

Day or sleepaway summer camp is the perfect place for teens to transition to the world of the employed. The paycheck is nice, but being a summer camp counselor has other rewards, too.

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