Essential Backpack Tools for Back-to-School
  It’s THAT time of year, parents, when we simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief and furrow our brows in anxious anticipation of the structure that the school year will impose on us and our little Darlings. There’s so much to do before their first big day of school, so we at Gululu have put together a list of Back to School Essentials to help the school year to begin smoothly. We know that you know where to get their pencils and paper by now, so we thought we would make a list of the more easily-overlooked things that they will need to succeed from the moment they step through the front doors. A great “Hello!” – First impressions last, so it’s best to teach our kids how to make a great one, and it all begins with “hello”. It sounds so simple, but it’s more difficult than it seems for a young person to stand tall, look into another’s eyes, smile, and muster up enough breath for a warm and confident greeting. Heck, it’s even hard for me to do this sometimes! Practice makes perfect, so don’t be shy to “hello!” back and forth at the breakfast table or on the way to school. You will also want to teach your kids what kind of greetings are appropriate for which situations, as certain occasions will call for them to address adults using the proper title, and, depending on your child’s age, a hand shake may be appropriate as well. Taken all together, a proper greeting can go a long way to making a great first and lasting impression. Here’s an old 1960’s classic clip teaching greetings and introductions that is still relevant today (minus a few of the dated and amusing expressions). Your kids will get a kick out of watching what was part of their grandparents’ curriculum!  Open Hearts and Minds–Though it may be human nature to form small groups and exclude others in some situations, we parents should give our kids the gifts of open hearts and minds by teaching them tolerance and inclusion of those who are different from themselves. These are skills are often difficult to learn, especially if a child does not feel confident in him/herself, so we parents must do all we can to support our children’s self-esteem. Only when they love themselves can they then reach out to love others. It is important that we reinforce these values repeatedly, and keep an open conversation with our kids about how to help create an environment of inclusion in their schools. Most schools are developing anti-bullying curricula and policies, and it is best to find out what they are teaching so that you can give consistent messaging. Contact your school for details, or refer to the websites here (A, B, C) for more information. As Helen Keller said, “the highest result of education is tolerance.”     Nature’s Candy and Whole Grain Goodness – As hard as parents and schools try to limit kids’ access to super sugary and low-nutrient foods, kids can still get a hold of them pretty easily. It’s our job as parents to educate our kids about the importance of choosing healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, otherwise known as “nature’s candy”, and products made with whole grains. Not only will their blood sugar be more stable, and as a result their attention spans and energy levels, but their long-term brain and body development will benefit from all of the vitamins and minerals in the nutrient-dense foods. It may be difficult to say no completely to tempting treats, so learning moderation is a valuable life and social skill. Eatright.org recommends some fabulous apps to help teach kids healthy eating habits in a fun way.   H – 2 – Oh! Water in the body is like the grease on a bicycle chain—without it the gears just don’t turn as smoothly. Keep your kids’ brains and bodies functioning optimally by sending them to school with their favorite water bottle, full of good and pure water. Gululu Interactive Bottle is a great option that will motivate them, and others around them, to drink water regularly, and to choose water over sugary beverages. Gululu will delight and inspire your children to develop healthy habits that last beyond the school day. You can learn more and purchase your Gululu here! For best results, keep the conversations about healthy habits going throughout the year. Good luck to all of the families who will soon begin another great school adventure!    Written by Sarah Northrop, Strategy & Digital Communications Consultant and Pilot User for Gululu. Sarah is a Physical Therapist and wordsmith working on her MBA who has two daughters that inspire her to spread healthy habits as far and wide as possible. They are all currently traveling across the US in a minivan from California to New Hampshire, hitting as many national parks, and seeing as many friends & family members as they can along the way before the first day of school begins. And, of course, they bring their Gululus wherever they go!  
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: http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/hydrate-right/water-go-with-the-flow http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/archived_projects/FGP4KidsPoster.pdf    
Sharing is caring! Share the Gululove and get a special e-gift!
  We have some exciting news from Team Gululu! Today we are announcing a new sharing event that ends in a super fun and cute Gululu gift! Share our Indiegogo page and get our special gift: some Gululu coloring pages! The coloring pages will be a brand new and exclusive way to create your own Gululu Universe and will also feature a selection of unique images that have never been seen before! Coloring opens up the imagination of children to a whole other world of many opportunities and adventures. Let your family see what magic can happen with paper designs and some color! We want more and more people to be a part of the Gululu Universe and to get to know the Gululu pets!    In order to share and get your free coloring pages, click on the buttons below:       Don't forget to share your coloring work to Instagram and Facebook and tag and @mygululu!   
Storytelling time! 5 fun and imaginative tips for family story moments!
“Once upon a time……” Those are the words that began the most imaginative and exciting stories of our childhood that held the power to take us to another Universe. Whenever told, a story can expand a mind through the use of vivid imagery, careful word choice, and pure cuteness! Storytelling can transform the world to make it even bigger than it was before and can also offer a great sense of adventure all along the way. Today it is your children’s turn to experience the magic and there are many paths and plots to take to do that! Story time is important to families. It gives parents and children time and a chance to connect and bond all through the comforts of under a blanket or snuggled up together on the couch.  Through the rises and falls as a story is told, you and your child can both band together and cheer for the hero, fight against the villain, and laugh a lot along the way! No matter where, or what moment, the time taken to tell a story will always be remembered, even if the particular story is not! Stories also have additional educational benefits for learning even more in everyday life. Storytelling gives kids a chance to grow and develop their creative side. Their ability to be creative and expansive with their words allows kids to not only continue to learn, but also have fun doing it! Here are a few tips to let kids’ creative flags fly through stories: 1. As mentioned above, start your story with “Once upon a time…” or another that is similar as a key phrase to open up the story possibilities for your kids. 2. Invite your kids to fill in the blanks. Let your children take the lead in the actions and the details, offer them transitional phrases or questions so that they can continue to develop their story and their discovery of the Universe that they will create entirely by themselves. 3. Let your children be the characters! Allow your kids to put themselves into the story so that they can even more firsthand experience the adventure of a new world. 4. Use props. Either homemade or repurposed household items let your kids be active in their experience and make extraordinary things out of ordinary objects. 5. There doesn’t have to be a lesson. Although stories with an extra learning opportunity have value, just plain old-fashioned fun works just the same at making a good story great! Gululu has its own stories too! By following the three Gululu pets you can travel the Gululu Universe and unlock many journeys and stories along the way. Sansa, Ninji, and Purpie all have different personalities to ensure that your children can continue to have fun and care for them as they hydrate throughout the day. Your kids can explore and discover with action-filled adventure throughout the seas, finding paths and secret places to enjoy and let their imaginations soar. They can investigate the sea floor, find mystical creatures, and continue to help the Gululu pets, like Purpee, grow and evolve through imaginary snacks! Following the magic as your children are guided through the Gululu Universe means that there isn’t anything that they can’t imagine! Stories have a beginning, middle, and an end, but the connection, the surprises and the adventure contained within them can last forever in a child’s mind. Continue to support your child’s imagination as they grow and age. Share a story with your children, whether your own or Gululu’s, and watch their faces light up like never before!
Our Family's First Week With Gululu — Off To A Gululu Start!
Gululu is traveling all around the world and has found its way into the homes and hearts of several pilot users and their families. Here is a personal message and some great feedback we received from Sarah, a mother of two that we are excited to share with you. Let’s take a sneak peek! My family first entered the Gululu Universe just 1 week ago (note: this article was written on June 28th) and we have been delighted beyond our expectations ever since! First, a little about us: We are an American family of four?—?me, my husband, and my two daughters, ages 10 and 12. We are based in the Bay Area, California but we travel for long periods of time for our jobs. Most recently, we spent a few years as in Shanghai, China, and in the fall we will be based near Boston. We consider ourselves to be health-conscious, as we eat low-sugar and low-cholesterol diets, and we all have our own daily exercise routines that consist of mostly running, dancing, hiking, and frolicking on playgrounds. Despite our high levels of activity, three out of four of us are camels?—?we rarely drink water (or any beverage, for that matter)! I have known this about my two daughters and myself for a while, but I did not realize the extent of it until we started using Gululu. We have all increased our water intake significantly in the past week, and have noticed some great results. Here’s an in-depth look at our successful journey: ?Day 1?— My daughters received Gululu bottles and we were all impressed and charmed by the adorable packaging…and even further charmed by the story of the Gululu Universe… …but the bottle itself was the coolest part! We quickly set up the bottles on the home Wifi network, synched them with the mobile app, and the girls chose their Gululu Universe virtual pets. S chose Sansa, and N chose Purpie. We washed the bottles, filled them with water, and the girls began drinking! Inspired by their enthusiasm, I also filled up a glass of water and took a few swigs. We are all on our way to better health! Day 2 —?The girls woke up and reached for their Gululus right away. They realized that they had not friended each other yet, so they quickly set about this by shaking their bottles until Purpee jumped into Sansa’s universe. Now that they are Gululu friends, their habit scores are displayed on the app together. It didn’t take long before my competitive older one remarked to the non-competitive younger one that she is already winning the Gululu game (I’m very thankful for their opposite personalities, lest that remark would have turned into a squabble!). I take another few gulps from my relatively boring glass. Days 3 & 4?—?I have noticed that they have formed an attachment to their Gululus beyond what they have in the past with other water bottles IN A GOOD WAY! They actually care about where their water bottles are, versus in the past they would rely on me to make sure that they had them nearby. It’s definitely a relief to me that they are actively keeping track of their bottles, and drinking from them, on their own! Day 5?— We had a full day of activity and went to a family dinner party in the evening. Normally, my younger one does not like to leave the house past 8:00 pm or once night falls, as she gets very sleepy. However, this night I did not hear a single complaint about her being tired, and she partied with her friends all the way until 10pm. She even walked the kilometer home with us, feeling ready for bed but not depleted. We both noticed the difference, and she was the one to point out that maybe it was because she was drinking more water. Hmmm…maybe Gululu is already having a significantly positive effect on my littlest camel! We arrived home and everyone had a few sips of water from their chosen dispensers before we hit the hay for a much-needed rest. Day 6?—?I notice that my two daughters are both really into their Gululus and are reaching their daily hydration goals more quickly than before, but they are motivated in two different ways. My older one is data driven, and loves to see the hard facts of her water consumption, whereas the younger one is more motivated to see her pet’s reaction when she drinks. I realize that there is so much potential for software evolution to continually motivate the kids and am looking forward to the automatic updates. Day 7?—?We plan a playdate with two other Gululu Pilot Users and the kids were thrilled to compare their pets and hydration stats. They spent most of their time making up funny stories about their pets and their unique adventures through the Gululu Universe. It seems that Gululu not only inspires healthy hydration, but also imagination! Summary?—?Overall, I expected that my kids would drink more water with Gululu and that they would have fun doing it, but I did not expect that I would also drink more water (from my boring glass), and that I would feel more energetic than usual. Not only this, however, I did not expect the independence and imagination that Gululu inspired in my kids. That’s something that any parent can raise a glass (of water) and drink to!
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.
Pilot Users Explores The Gululu Universe With Gululu Pets
We’re excited to announce the pilot user program is under way! We currently have Gululu bottle pilot users in North America, Asia, and Europe! We have received many helpful and supportive feedback comments and insights from parents and children who have their hands on the Gululu bottle themselves. Their fantastic suggestions have definitely helped Gululu to make a big move forward and are helping us constantly find new ways to expand the Gululu Universe! Team Gululu is currently running the most critical reliability test to improve the Gululu App in different mobile systems and are carefully considering a new game design and product accessories. Our goal is to promote wellness and find a balance that makes the Gululu bottle interesting but also that prevents children from over-engaging. We keep refining the product details and are continuing to think creatively and practically. The manufacturing has entered the last stage and we are almost ready to mass-produce! We have streamlined our standard operation procedure and assembly lines to ensure that the highest quality bottles can come to awaiting families right on time. Gululu can’t wait to meet you! Here are some families that the Gululu pets have already visited: “I wanted to tell you that my son loves his bottle. He won’t let it out of his sight! He loves ninji and the sword makes him laugh so loudly. This is like his companion now. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m super excited he’s drinking water without a fight! I am so happy I was able to see how beautiful and cool it is, up close and personal. Thank you for sending the sample for me to review and for him to enjoy.” “Thought you all might enjoy some photos of the Gululu on the school playground. It was quite the hit with the 2nd grade crew!!” Gululu has experienced a great amount of success in the pilot program and the Gululu pets are excited to visit many more schools, homes, and families!
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! ?
The Father Behind Gululu’s Design Team
Former IDEO design lead JD reveals how being a father made him a great entrepreneur, how storytelling relates to products, and how to make any idea successful At Gululu, we are lucky to have a team of not just experts, but experts with big hearts and big vision. JD, our head of product and design, former IDEO design lead and frequent Red Dot and IF design award winner, is father to a three-year-old son, and holds the title of coolest shoes on the Gululu team. He was instrumental in bringing to life the world’s first-ever child-friendly, technology-laced interactive bottle, Gululu! On Father's Day, JD takes a moment to share insights on life, innovation, and design. ****************************************************************************************** JD, you’re always upbeat, active and innovating. What inspires you? JD: Many things! I have a curious personality. I like to look at different things, go to different places. I pay a lot of visits to Japan and Europe to look at shops and museums. I also like to make things. I’m a maker. I make leather bags, furniture, and many more. When you’re doing something, making something, your brain is not just thinking, it’s learning. In that process, you actually train your brain to be more creative. But the most inspiring thing for me is people. I talk to many people. I like talking to people to get different perspectives. What are the biggest challenges going from an idea to a product? JD: To make an idea work, you have to first understand the people who will be using it. I made a leather bag for my wife. It worked because I know her well. I know what kind of style she wants, what kind of function she needs. With my new project, we targeted children and their need to drink water. During our research, we got involved with many kindergartens. And in every classroom I went to, there’s a water bottle shelf and a sign saying “I love drinking water.” That was a huge insight for me. I wanted to move from that idea of a passive sign saying “I love drinking water”, to making a real proactive product that actually makes kids fall in love with drinking water. What are some of the designers throughout history that you look up to? JD: Well of course, Dieter Rams, a senior German designer for Braun; the godfather of industrial design. Many design languages are inspired from him, and even Apple takes their design cues from him. But I really love Naoto Fukasawa. He’s a guy who creates products with personalities and stories to tell. In fact, all the work we do is a form of storytelling. Every craft, every product, has a story to tell. There is a story behind everything. This storytelling is in fact the most critical and fundamental for humanity. So the story behind everything interests you. What kind of story is your favorite in daily life? JD: When my son comes home from kindergarten everyday, I ask him a question that will make him tell me a story, so he can practice. ‘What was the funniest thing that happened?’ or ‘What was something you noticed that other people maybe didn’t?’ His stories always inspire and motivate me. I love this kind of conversation. These are the best stories of all. How does your son feel about Gululu? Is Gululu a gift you create for him? JD: Well, of course, he loves his Gululu. But it’s a lot more than that. My son helped me unlock my potential; not just to be a good father, but to be a good entrepreneur. Before he was born, I worked in design consulting for 14 years and started my own design studio for clients. After he was born, I joined this startup and we decided to make Gululu. As a father, I feel I have to do something not just for my son but for all children. I was thinking, ‘wow, I want to do something meaningful in my life.’ I got fed up designing consumer electronic appliances. Yes, there’s a need there but I no longer want to create design solutions only for business impact. Now, I want my effort to be not just for business, but for the well-being of children. How do you think these choices for yourself will affect your son later on? JD: As a father, I should be a role model for my children. That’s why I chose to be an entrepreneur. For one, it will help my son to be more creative and more determined. Second, I want him to be free to express himself and not be restrained by limitations; where he may not reach the full expression of his own unique idea. In my point of view, regardless of the outcome, this is what defines success. And I want that for my son. ****************************************************************************************** Gululu is a gift from a father to his son, and to the children around the world. It's not only a bottle to improve life and health, but also an entrepreneurship spirit a father wants to pass on to his kid. To all the dads in the world, Happy Father's Day!
Did You Win A Gululu Bottle?
Today is a joyful day for Gululu! Why? Because today we get more chances to fulfill our mission: to spread happiness and wellbeing to children and families around the world. What a privilege!   Without further ado, the winner of our grand prize of five Gululu Interactive Bottles is~   Becky.fxxxxxr   But we are not stopping there!! So many fans (from kids to grandparents) are excited about the Gululu Interactive Bottle that we want to award three more lucky winners the experience of the world's coolest water bottle. Congratulations to~   Megzxxxxx2 sheethaljxxxxx0 Ellatestxxxxx3   You guys are the lucky recipients of one free water bottle in the color of your choice, and also a special addition Gululu Universe storybook!
A Water Bottle That Packs A Punch
A Gululu fan is amazed by the cool technologies and the contents inside the bottle. She said: “Gululu is a revolutionary water bottle, something I have never seen before. Offers more than most of the wearable gadgets out there, and at the same price range or lower. Gululu can teach kids a healthy habit, that's not something money can buy.” So much more than an ordinary water bottle, the value of Gululu is both short term and long term. Immediately, Gululu maximizes the wellbeing of your child through optimal hydration. Long term, it builds lasting healthy habits through proven methods of gamified interaction with digital pets. According to early users at tech magazine Android Central, “As crazy and as complicated as this bottle sounds, it works… by the end of the first week there was a noticeable increase in how much water [our daughter] was drinking, and a lot of it had to do with wanting to interact with the pet on her bottle. She doesn’t go anywhere without her bottle now, and is constantly aware of how much water is left in the bottle.” Android Central hits two important facts. First, the bottle is complicated, not to use but certainly to develop. Teams of experts and scientists, careful research and development, and the most sophisticated theories of learning and childhood psychology all factored into its concept and creation. This segues to the next point that Android Central recognized. Gululu works. It will bring your child better health through hydration. And it will bring these benefits not through strain but through joyful connection with whimsical pets in the Gululu Universe. When we make decisions for what to give to our children, we consider many things: how will this affect my child? Will this make our lives healthier? Easier? Happier? The reason we believe so strongly that the Gululu Bottle is a great choice for your family is because it brings the joy of an exciting, high-quality toy, and the health benefits of nothing yet on the market. We sincerely hope you take the opportunity to experience this for yourself!
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:https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/best-creative-apps 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: http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/10-ways-to-exercise-as-a-family/ 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: http://www.mykidsadventures.com/boredom-buster/ 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!
Fun In The Sun: A Spotlight On Sunflowers
Enjoy the summer sun with this planting and playing project for you and your kids. It’s that time of the year again: SUMMER! Along with it comes thoughts of the beach, ice cream, and of course, the long anticipated summer vacation. School’s out, and your kids will be home all day, ready to play. It’s a good opportunity to spend some time with them, and what better activity than planting and crafting flowers? In this post, we will be focusing on sunflowers. Not only are sunflowers fantastic summer flowers, they also hold a special meaning. According to Native American tradition, sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. They are flowers of bright joy that stretch toward the sun. We hope that they will bring you and your child some brightness in your lives! Don’t feel limited to just sunflowers: you can do this activity with any flower you want. The idea is first you plant it, then you create it. Activity 1: Planting Sunflowers What You Need: Sunflower Seeds Container or area to plant seeds Soil Water Some Background Information Before You Start… Best time to plant: The best time to plant sunflowers is the late spring, so right now! Big ones and little ones: There are two types of sunflowers: dwarf sunflowers and tall sunflowers. Dwarf sunflowers are better for planting in pots while tall sunflowers are better for your planting in your back garden. Check what kind of sunflower seeds you have before you plant them! Grow your flower with a wish: Together with your child, prepare the soil where you will be planting your seeds, whether it is in a container or in your garden. Take a handful of soil and have your child make a wish. Plant the seeds, and ask your child to water everyday until you see a sprout! As the sunflower grows, remind your child of their wish and of how it’s growing toward the sun. Making connections?—?we all need water to be strong and healthy: What connection could there be made with growing sunflowers? Actually, a sunflower is similar to your child: both need water to be strong and healthy. Also show them that while they care for the flower, they are similar to you, the parent. You care for your child and make sure they drink lots of water everyday and they do the same for the sunflower. Learning the natural way: Hopefully, by learning to care for a flower, your child will learn both how fragile and beautiful life is, as well as a sense of responsibility. They, too, are like that sunflower seed, ready to blossom into a beautiful flower. Activity 2: DIY Sunflowers What You Need: Yellow Construction Paper Glue Picture of your child OR sunflower seeds (optional) Make your flower petals: Using your hands, you and your child can make the petals for the sunflower. This step is for you to bond with your child and show them the value of cooperation. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish this: -Hook your hands by the thumbs and place them flat on the yellow construction paper. Ask your child to trace your hands onto the paper, then do the same for him or her. -Hook your hand and your child’s hand together by your thumbs. Together, trace your connected hands onto the yellow construction paper. By working together on this task, you can demonstrate to your child how much easier it is to cooperate with others. Make as many flower petals as you would like! Glue your petals together in a circle to form a sunflower: As you glue the petals together with your child, you can explain the impact that your child can make. Glue the hands together by the palms so that the fingers are pointed out. Ask your child to count the number of fingers in the flower. Each finger represents one person that they are able to “touch” in their lives. Explain to them that there are millions of ways for them to help make the world a brighter place. (OPTIONAL) Glue sunflower seeds in the center of the sunflower: Glue sunflower seeds in the center and tell them that they, like these seeds, are young and hold much potential for the future. (OPTIONAL) Glue a picture of your child in the center of the sunflower: Place a picture of your child in the center and tell them that they, like a sunflower, can brighten up your day. Good luck, and have fun planting! Love, Gululu
The Gululu Universe Welcomes Three Pet Profiles
Your Family Is Invited…to an Underwater World of Adventure Every great story has a great beginning, and the story of the Gululu Universe is certainly among the greatest. No one, save for a select few, know exactly how the Gululu Universe began. Likewise, no one, save for these same select few, know how Sansa flares stars out of her star wand, how Ninja mastered a ninjakan sword, or how Purpee found a magic fish-eating bag. We want to share our secrets! Get to know us and explore Gululu! But the pets are eager to get to know you, and they want to share some of their secrets! In honor of new beginnings, the Gululu pets will share a little about themselves to help you get a glimpse into the Gululu Universe. Welcome to the beginning of a long and wondrous adventure. Noble Ninja Look out, swashbucklers, Ninja is my name and sword swishing is my game! Vavish! Hazah! Wowoosh! When I am not being the savior of the Universe, I like to explore secret caves and discover new species of sea creatures. I am an adventurer!   Playful Purpie Gnawm gnawm gnawm! When I’m not munching on snacks from my magic bag, I love to bounce along the seafloor, searching for treasures I’ll stash in my snackbag. Mmm… exploring is so much more fun with snacks!   Sparkly Sansa Shiny shells! Sparkly sand! Glittering gems! The glowing waters and treasures within all add to the magic of my sparkle wand. Have you ever dreamed of what it would feel like to be a shooting star? Trinka-tra-loo! I think I can help with that! There’s nothing I can’t do with my wand in my hand.   Other Secrets? Only a few know how Sansa, Purpee and Ninja, got their magical powers, or became friends. What everyone does know, however, is that now that they’re here, nothing can stop them! Or this is what they thought… until Bezza exploded. Uh oh! We can’t tell you anymore here, but stay tuned as the adventure unfolds. The best storybook beginnings. Well, second best. After Gululu! :) Check out some of the great beginnings of other children’s books throughout history. Not quite as awesome as Gululu, but pretty close!
Gululu: An Interactive Water Bottle That Helps Kids Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water is the most important thing for you and your child’s health. At Gululu, we believe that staying hydrated should be fun and easy! This is the vision behind our Gululu Interactive Bottle: to make hydration a joyful adventure for your whole family! Imagine 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. That’s Gululu in a nutshell And yes, we’re NOW live on Kickstarter, with Early Bird prices and all five colors that you don't want to miss out! Back us here and keep your kids (and yourself) hydrated! Let’s make a splash!
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.
Three Priceless Gifts From Parent To Child
“Please let me know how and when I can buy these (Gululu). What a great gift these would make for so many of my friends.” –Gululu fan on Facebook Dear Gululu fan, and to all parents and gift-givers, We are so happy to hear that you love Gululu so much that many of you would like to give our products as gifts—hooray! Actually, while crafting our products, we always keep gifts in mind, but not the kind you wrap up with paper and ribbons. We are talking about priceless gifts! Here, parents are sharing the priceless gifts that are most important for kids. Learn what they think, and add your own. Below, we highlight some of the most inspiring priceless gifts that we keep in mind while crafting our kid-centered products. Healthy habits: Healthy habits lead to a healthy life. If we develop good habits early on, we can use them to boost our health, our esteem, and our energy. Model good habits to your children by drinking enough water, exercising together, and having consistent bedtime. Sometimes these habits can be difficult to keep, but by turning them into a game, they can help bond a family together. Imagination: Imagination gives us paintbrushes, broadens our palette of colors, and strips our canvas of its borders. How can we inspire more creativity in our kids and in ourselves? One way is through reading stories together and creating something new. Try adding your child as a character in your favorite picture book, or invite your child to create their own story. You’ll be amazed! Love: Unconditional love is a child’s birthright. Parents show their children love in different ways, but usually the more, the better. Don’t underestimate how much a hug, a conversation after school, a secret note in the lunchbox, or a kiss goodnight can mean for the little ones in your life. The best gifts are intangible. Priceless gifts like imagination, good habits and love can never get lost, and can be regifted again and again, even to your kids’ kids later on. The mission of Gululu is “wholehearted dedication to children’s wellbeing.” This sense of mission has moved us through difficulties along the way as we integrated technology, innovation and creativity. We hope that the endeavor to bring this product to life is priceless too. What do you think matters most to your children? Share a priceless gift that you love sharing with your child! Love, Team Gululu Wholehearted dedication to children’s wellbeing
The Five Love Languages
Do you know your love language? Find out so you and your partner can build healthy habits in your children and avoid leaving gaps in their development. Do you know what your love language is? Surprisingly, what makes you feel most cared for is often not the same way that you express care for others. Our natural tendencies in giving and receiving love make a big impact over time, especially on the development of our children. Parents too reliant on one language tend to neglect others, leaving children lacking a full scope of affection. So which is your love language? And how can you build healthy habits in your children by embracing each of the five love languages on a regular basis? 1.Gifts-Health-oriented toys and products fulfill this need while helping children with their development. Parents tending toward this language express and receive love through gifts. A special, personal item says it all. Love through gift giving can nurture children by rewarding them with toys and products that cultivate healthy habit formation. Rather than a video game, a learning game or spelling game may be a better choice. In fact, all children relish toys and the companionship they bring. By embracing this love language, but giving health-forming toys to your children, you can fulfill this need for your little one.   2.Quality Time-Breakfast and evening traditions nurture this language while creating sustainable habits for child and family. If you and your partner tend to exchange love through time spent giving undivided attention, you can use this language with your children. One of the best ways to is through breakfast. Taking the steps to still the chaos of the morning, like waking up 15 minutes earlier, or preparing the night before, can make the shift from a rushed morning to a warm one. Likewise, taking a break from cells and laptops at night for dinner, a conversation, a board game, or even a show, teach your child that relationship with family and friends should sometimes takes priority.   3.Words of Affirmation-Along with compliments or praise, training positive outlook through words builds long-lasting confidence in your kids. Parents versed in this language use statements like “I love you,” and “I’m proud of you.” While absolutely necessary for children to hear, going beyond this is also crucial. It’s easy for children to get discouraged,especially as the world becomes more competitive. Life at school may not be as easy as it used to be. Children need to hear that they are okay not based on accomplishments but based on intrinsic qualities like kindness, positivity and perseverance. A statement like, “it makes your parents so happy to see you keep trying,” can make all the difference.   4.Acts of Service-Creating chores and ways to help others teach children healthy,long-lasting habits of service and participation. Parents who swoon when their partner does something practical for them and eases their burden best understand this love language. Most families have chores for children, and most children drag their feet to complete them. By bringing chores and community service into family rituals,through games and togetherness, you can signal to your kids that whole-hearted participation shows care to others. Likewise, making sure they know that you are helping them with laundry or homework because of your deep love teaches them gratitude and helps prevent them from taking you for granted.   5.Physical Touch-Choosing enjoyable physical activity and getting the family off the couch is crucial for long-term physical and mental health, as well as discipline. If you and your partner love to hold hands, smooch on the couch, and cuddle, it’s likely you are good at this language and at giving healing touch to your child. Even before a child speaks,they feel the love of their parents through physical touch. Roughhousing and play is very important to fulfill this need. Another great way is choosing sports and activities for the family to engage in together. Getting close on a picnic blanket, cuddling together with hot chocolate in a cabin in the winter, and even having a laugh circle where you lay your heads on each others’ bellies and tell jokes are all great options to fulfill this need. These languages, developed by Gary Chapman, PhD, in 1995, can enlighten parents and help kids grow up healthy and well rounded. Embrace the scope of these languages to ensure your children develop not only good habits, but also strong connections to many forms and expressions of love.
Harvard Study Finds Inadequate Hydration Among US Children
Mar 31 Technology & Innovation Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Healtyh, 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—a situation that could have significant repercussions for their physical health and their cognitive and emotional functioning, according to the first national study of its kind from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also found racial/ethnic and gender gaps in hydration status. Black children and adolescents were at higher risk of inadequate hydration than whites; boys were at higher risk than girls. “These findings are significant because they highlight a potential health issue that has not been given a whole lot of attention in the past,” said lead author Erica Kenney, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School. “Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth.” Read Full Article Here. Reference: Dwyer, Marge. "Study Finds Inadequate Hydration among U.S. Children." News. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Web. 23 May 2016. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/study-finds-inadequate-hydration-among-u-s-children/
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 http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/-/media/files/programs-and-areas/behavioural-economics/guidegamificationeducationdec2013.pdf Klosowski, Thorin. "The Psychology of Gamification: Can Apps Keep You Motivated?" Lifehacker. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016. http://lifehacker.com/the-psychology-of-gamification-can-apps-keep-you-motiv-1521754385 Miller, Tessa. "How to Harness Your Brain's Dopamine Supply and Increase Motivation." Lifehacker. 2014. Web. 23 May 2016. http://lifehacker.com/how-to-harnass-your-brains-dopamine-supply-and-increas-1496989326 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification