Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lakeside is hosting Dr. Seuss Imagination Celebration: Don't keep it under your hat

You’ll like this event Sam I am. 

On April 12, Lakeside Mall will host a Dr. Seuss Imagination Celebration, a special event featuring free, family-friendly activities. Everyone is invited to join in the fun – including stories of course – as well as make-and-take crafts and face painting, music, and one very special surprise guest!

Parents and caregivers will find the activities going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lower level of the mall, near Center Court. 

In addition to the one very special surprise guest – a DJ will be spinning kid-friendly tunes and hosting Dr. Seuss-themed games for families with children aged 2 to 10. Organizers of the event will also treat guests to Dr. Seuss-themed prizes while supplies last.

Children who wish to attend the event must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information, call 586-2474131 or visit shop-lakesidemall.com.

Friday, March 21, 2014

You make the call when handing over your child's first smartphone

Nolan Young, 3, front, looks at a smart phone while his brother Jameson, right, 4, looks at a smart tablet at their home, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)


A smartphone for a child is not that outrageous, especially considering there are companies marketing special apps that make taking selfies super-easy for little fingers. Why, you can even buy a pillow with a smartphone pocket so toddlers can take selfies during diaper change.

“Giving a child his or her first smartphone provides a unique teachable moment,” said Jennifer Caukin, a spokeswoman for Zact Mobile, a company that offers no-contract smart mobile plans for parents. “My son, he’s 8 years old and he is very hands-on with the smartphone.”

There is no getting around the technology. Like the generation of parents who wrangled with the idea of putting a TV in their child’s room, today’s parents debate the use of iPads and smartphones.

The key at this age is control.

Zact Mobile was recently awarded The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval for the level of mobile control that it gives to parents of young children.

“You can set restrictions and permissions for the kind of app that you’re going to allow your child to use, even at what time of day they can use it,” said Caukin, who also has a 6-year-old. What’s also nice about the program is the control over the child’s phone comes via an app that parents download on their own smartphone. Caukin said one of the surveys conducted by Zact had to do with who their child is talking to. “We removed that worry by adding the permission (option),” Caukin said. Worried about texting under the covers? With the app parents don’t have to take their child’s phone away at bedtime, they just turn it off.

The plan also cuts down on costs as parents can create a kid-size mix of talk, text and data. “That’s the biggest mistake parents make,” Caukin said. “They pay for more data than their child will use.”

How much data does a kid need?

According to Zact Mobile, 1 GB of data will provide the following:

  • 102 hours of web surfing
  • 51 hours of Facebook
  • 41,000 emails
  • 5,243 photos uploaded
  • 29 hours on Google maps
So, what’s the best smartphone to buy your child?

Since there is no contract you’ll pay a little more for the initial device. “The Samsung ZTE Awe is a really great entry level smartphone as it small and lightweight,” Caukin said. “It has a really nice built-in camera too.”

Whatever plan or smartphone you decide on, it’s a good idea to sit down with your child and not only go through a few ground rules, but let him or her be in on the initial setup. 

To get started here are 10 essential tips to consider before handing over your child's first smartphone courtesy of the experts at Zact Mobile (zact.com):   

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

So your child wants to be an artist?

Students are invited to attend BBAC's Career Day (Getty Images).

The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center is inviting high school artists to attend BBAC College Day, March 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.

There was a time when parents would discourage a child who wanted to pursue an art career. But artists are no longer starving. They’re getting educated – through creative arts college and university programs and they’re finding work in a variety of fields.

The event at the art center gives aspiring young artists a chance to meet with faculty and admission staff from more than 10 schools including Georgia’s Savannah College of Art & Design who can help them with their future aspirations. “This is a perfect opportunity for a student considering going into art and design,” said Annie Van Gelderen, president and CEO of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

Students can bring in their portfolio and meet one-on-one with faculty members who will review their work and offer suggestions such as classes that might further their skills along. Participants also can speak with admission counselors regarding requirements or even scholarships that might be available.

Schools in attendance for the event include the College for Creative Studies, Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University’s Department of Art and Design, Center for Design at Lawrence Technological University, Michigan State University’s Department of Art, Art History and Design, Oakland Community College, Savannah College of Art & Design, The Art Institutes, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan, James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art. “To have all of these colleges here under, one roof, as opposed to traversing to all of them is a great opportunity,” Van Gelderen said. Even if it’s just to walk around and see what the schools might have to offer in the way of programs.

The Friday before the event, BBAC will present an exhibit of artwork submitted by area students for the biannual Regional High School Competition. 

Shown here are a few examples of the work submitted by students in Christine Ritchie's class at L'Anse Cruese High School.

Jacob Bellows, Grade 12
Color pencil

Cody Schulz, Grade 12
Woodcut relief print

Digital photography art shown below created by students in Debra Groth's class at Dakota High School in Macomb.

Danielle Cerullo, Grade 12
Top photo: Reoccuring Sparks
Photo right: Reassembled

Rachel Rosquin, Grade 12
iLive for the City

Alexandra Djuric, Grade 12
Endless Laughter 

Nearly $135,000 in scholarships will be awarded to artists not only who place in the competition but whose work has made an impression on schools attending BBAC Career Day.

The event promises to be an informative and inspirational event said Van Gelderen. Plus, it’s free and no registration is required. 

For those looking for after school instruction registration for the spring term at BBAC (April 14 - June 21) is now open. The BBAC is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit the BBAC at Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center or call 248-644-0866.