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Teaching Children to Help Others

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Madcap Logic is proud to join Primrose Schools supporting the Feeding America virtual food drive.

Virtual Food Drive by Primrose Schools     Primrose Day Care Centers have teamed up with the charity, Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief chairty in America, to raise food and money for those in need this holiday season. As the virtual food drive will come to an end Decemeber 31st, be sure to visit the Primrose Facebook page where you can like the page, which will donate 1 can (or $1) or you can share the page which will donate 2 cans (or $2).

     Although it is a basic life skill, cooperation is not something that we are born with, but rather something we learn as we go through life. It allows us to develop and maintain relationships, and work successfully with other individuals. Infants do not come into this world with an understanding of the importance of sharing and compromise. These traits are learned through experience when the child becomes old enough to interact with others. Most children are introduced to cooperation when they are taught by adults to share their toys and take turns with other children in the playground and nursery. Through sharing such seemingly inconsequential items early in life, one will form a permanent habit of sharing that will most likely continue forever. This habit will manifest in many ways, such as one’s participation in charity work or the volunteering of his or her time to a worthy cause.

     Learning to cooperate and share is the foundation of many other positive characteristics that most parents hope their children will acquire, such as the importance of “giving back” when one has enjoyed success and good fortune in life. It is also how youngsters develop the skills they will need to get along well with other individuals throughout the course of their life.

Leading by Example

     As a parent, it is your behavior that your child will attempt to mimic first. Acting in a cooperative manner and displaying a sharing attitude toward others will instill the importance of these characteristics in your child’s mind. Important values are almost always learned from our parents in the course of daily life. For instance, you might say“If we all pitch in to help clean the kitchen after we eat, we will get finished quicker and can begin reading your new library book.”

Activities Requiring Family Participation

     Planing a family project that requires the participation of each member will help a child to understand the importance of teamwork, and how assisting each other to work toward a common goal will benefit everyone involved. Such projects can be as simple as the planting of a garden, or playing an interactive game.

     Preparing a meal is another ideal family project, as such activities offer a role for each member of the family. Children can search for the appropriate ingredients, and help mom and dad to mix and measure. Additionally, cleaning up after the meal can also be completed through teamwork. A great bedtime storybook to read to your youngster at the end of such a day would be the popular children’s favorite “Stone Soup.”

Stories With a Moral

     The concept of cooperation can be introduced by reading stories to your child that feature characters who share. The Little Red Hen is an ideal choice in such books. After reading the story to your child, you should involve him or her in an active discussion of the outcome, and ask the child how he or she might react if asked to participate in a project that requires cooperation with others.

Children and Music

     Children have an almost magical way of responding to music. Select a short musical piece and listen to it together. Then discuss the way the band, orchestra or chorus made these beautiful sounds by working in concert, sort of like a team. Children love when they can sing along with a karaoke machine or a CD. They also enjoy using simple instruments of rhythm to keep time to music. Gather a few of these things, let them make their own production and record it. They will love knowing what they accomplished together and will want to hear it again and again.

Sumitted by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools.

Creativity Express selected as a winner of the 2009 FAMILY CHOICE AWARD

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


The Family Choice Awards was founded by the Family Magazine Group, America’s largest free parenting publication,    and is recognized as the premier resource for the very best in children’s and parenting products and services.

Design is Everywhere

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Check out that monitor you’re looking at? Ever wonder who designed it? Or how about that mouse you’re clicking? The pen sitting on your desk. The desk itself. The clothes you’re wearing, the car you’re driving. Or even still—the seats in your car, all the way down to the springs, in the seat, in the car you’re driving. All designed by someone.

Design is everywhere—we just tend to take it for granted. We really don’t notice how everything is designed, but we’re drawn to the design—either consciously, or subconsciously. We don’t really know why we want the cool new cell phone, or the latest fashions. We just do. It’s all about the design.

Try this test. Take a minute out of your day to pick an object—could be anything, a radio, tv, shampoo bottle, coffee cup, a spoon, a fork—anything. Then consider the design. The shape/contour/materials/color, etc. Then, think about how design ties into that object on multiple levels.

Example: a designer designed the plastic earpiece from the phone on my desk, which required a mold (which required a designer), made by a machine (which required a designer), which has a bunch of crazy parts (which required a designer)…. you get my point. The links become nearly infinite.

Now, consider the power of design, how it influences your life and how it ties in to creativity. Design is everywhere.

Chris Stevenson
Madcap Logic Graphic Designer


Meet the Players….Randy Parker

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Randy Parker, Founder Madcap Logic

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.”
Pablo Picasso

How many of us start out as creative little beans, slapping colors around, mucking with clay, paste, crayons? Happy. Yet at some point, we start to feel inadequate. Maybe someone said something unkind. Maybe no one said anything at all.

This is one of the reasons Parker created Creativity Express.

“My main goal was to open that back up. Kids are wild, fearless at a young age. Yet at some point, that shuts down.” By using the animated software, kids get to learn about artists, their techniques, their tools, and become artists themselves.
“I contend that everyone has artistic abilities.”

The whole idea started as a museum guide for kids. Parker wanted to create a bridge between museums and schools, he worked with the staff at The National Gallery of Art to develop the program. . Kids would learn about the art in advance, then walk the great halls with enhanced perspective and information. However, the teachers noted the value of the software, in and of itself.  Nothing like it existed, so the project grew into a more structured tool, with a full curriculum. Parker and team brought in the Institute for Learning Innovation. Full on art 101.”I didn’t even know what the word pedagogy meant.” says Parker.
Together they built a fun tool that teaches kids everything art, from Anasazi culture to wax resist technique.
The program also encourages creativity through games and activities.
Everyone should express their inner artist, we are now finding important links between expression and the brain. Yet kids either don’t have opportunities to be creative, or feel like they have to excel, in this go go age.

“We stigmatize ourselves,” says Parker.  “Yet we all have the capability to be creative.”
Parker knows creative. At the helm of Disney’s famed computer animation department, he worked with teams of gifted graphic artists for twelve years. Although his own background was film study, he was immersed in a world of visual literacy.
The studio is known for intense preparation, each film undergoes a 3-4 year process of detailed research. For the film, Mulan, several dozen artists went to China to absorb firsthand, cultural traditions, the landscape, color palettes, quality of light. This depth of experience informs Creativity Express. Parker seeks to hone a child’s senses of observation and context through the software program. One theme running throughout is artists observing other artists, techniques, cultures and emotional states.

The current trend towards arts integrative learning is being welcome by many champions of the whole brain.
“Our education system doesn’t encourage right brain thinking, and that’s a shame.,” says Parker. Think Pink.
“However, I do think there is a wave picking up here,”says Parker, who has witnessed the teachers’ enthusiasm for early creativity.
“I have heard teachers say ‘If we don’t teach kids art in second grade, we’re going to have a really hard time teaching them physics in eleventh grade.’”
Parker agrees –our brains work holistically – the challenge for parents and teachers is how to bring these two capacities back together.
“They are both important, the left brain holds the factoids, the right brain tells it what to do with all that.” says Parker.  “Imagination, it’s more important than knowledge.”

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