4 Reasons Why You Should Never Underestimate Kids

The second your kids start growing up you get it – these little tykes are smarter than what they told you they’d be. You’re carefully teaching them about the world that surrounds them and suddenly, blam! They completely blow you away.

To illustrate this point, we chose four of our favorite kids that surprised everyone with their determination, good questions, compassion and smarts. Trust us, after reading this you will never want to underestimate a child again. Who knows what they’re capable of when they’re…

1. Asking good questions

Why are girls' toys pink? Part I

Why are girls' toys pink? Part II

Why are girls' toys pink? Part III

The fact that this is noteworthy says a lot about how we underestimate kids. Riley’s just a kid but she knowssomething is off. And she’s pissed. See the way she slams her hand down on that box? That’s the best kind of frustration she can have. You go Riley!

2. Smashing stereotypes

No video here but bear with us. Kyle, a gay teacher in Canada, sees over the “tough” class at his school. His 13-14 year-old students are known to be rowdy and many teachers have problems with them – especially a specific group of boys. Imagine this class knowing that you’re gay – what would you expect? Now, every morning, the entire class shares a “YouTube of the Day” video sent in by the kids. One of these boys comes up to him one morning and asks to play a video. Kyle’s hesitant because he hasn’t had the time to preview yet – but the boy insists. Let’s let Kyle tell the rest of the story:

Given what Harry listens to, I’m wary. He listens to a lot of rap and hip-hop, and that’s fine, but I’ve heard some non-school-appropriate language come out of the music he listens to. So I ask him if it’s appropriate for school; he tells me yes. This kid is many things, but he has never lied to me. Not once. So… I take a deep breath and tell him okay. What the heck.
So he goes on over and pulls it on up, and on comes a song I have never heard before. The artist is rapping about growing up gay, about the struggles of being gay, and about standing up in the face of hatred and homophobia. “Same Love,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The video was beautiful.
And there’s Harry, proudly watching along with the rest of the class as the artist stands up for those gay kids who struggle, and the video shows a difficult, lonely life culminating in a fabulous wedding. Harry. My “tough kid.”
The video finishes, the kids applaud, and I thank him, and he says to me, “I told you you’d like it.”
And then his loud, rude friend Mark says: “That was for you, Mr. K.”
The whole class applauded again – for me this time – and then I cried. I cried the proudest tears I have ever shed.
Harry and Mark… they might tick off every teacher they ever have, but today they gave this teacher a moment he’ll never forget.

Damn those onion ninjas, damn them. You can read the entire story here.

3. Picking locks (!)

This two year-old boy’s sister was complaining about her toys going missing in the middle of the night and showing up in her brother’s room. She began to lock her door but toys kept disappearing. Puzzled, her parents decided to stay up one night and film what happens. What they found out is that they have a very smart and determined son that needs an urgent talk about private property and the meaning of “breaking an entry” – at two years old!

We would never, ever, ever mess with this kid.

4. Fighting bigotry with lemonade

Five year-old Jayden Sink was appalled with The Westboro Baptist Church’s tactics. Wanting to do something, she decided to set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk of the Equality House – Westboro’s neighboring house that was recently painted with the colors of the rainbow.

Jayden Sink in front of the Equality House

People would get a glass of lemonade for every donation and the money would go towards the work of Planting Peace, the non-profit organization behind Equality House. She raised $400 on her own during the day she was there – and a whopping $20,486 through Crowdrise.com from donations by those who couldn’t drop by (and you can still make them if you want to).

Many people want to make a difference and inspire others – Jayden managed to do that at just 5 years old.

Jayden Sink's Lemonade Stand

We preach a lot about staying kids-at-heart even as we grow up. But here’s why it’s important: the innocence needed to do that is exactly what the world needs. Good questions. Good intentions. Good deeds. Good lock pick- ok, maybe not that one, but you get the idea.

Any kids who inspired you recently? We’d love to hear about it!

6 Experiments for Kids

You know that thing when you have kids where you’re now once again socially allowed to enjoy certain things you used to be too grown up to do? Fun, simple DIY experiments are one of those things.

From the dead-easy to the “you definitely need an adult for this”, just getting stuff lying around your house and *making* something is always a magical experience, where physics and chemistry can actually be seen in real life and just cutting something up or mixing x and y can bring hours of sheer joy and delight. Oh, and kids also like it. And learn. Yeah.

We actually thought of sharing some exclusively musical experiments for kids with you guys. But after we started googling to find the actual directions to these experiments, new and awesome ones started popping up. Did you know you can actually make a bouncing ball? In your kitchen? We had to include that!

So here are 4 6 musical experiments for kids you can try out this weekend or save for a rainy day. We’ve listed them from easiest to hardest, leaving the two non-music related ones for the end. Let us know how it goes!


1. Musical Straws

StrawsUsing just one straw and a pair of scissors, make sounds to show how wind instruments work. Fair warning: liking this experiment too much might end in your kid doing it every single time you’re out in a restaurant. True story, bro. Full directions (and explanation) here.2. Making Music with Water
Classic experiment that’s all kinds of awesome. Fill up glasses or bottles with varying amounts of water and use a pencil to tap the sides and create sounds with different tones. Bonus: after the fun is had, double it by showing your kid what happens when you blow across the glasses’ rim. In case you need proper instructions, find them here.3. Matchbox Guitar
Some people create cigar box guitars, you can create a matchbox one (which will also probably have three strings – aww!). This is a great little experiment to see how plucking strings generates sound and how the physics behind how the Loog works. Full instructions here.

Matchbox guitar

4. Make Your Own Phonograph
This one gets a little more complex but once you get the hang of it, it’s great to think up of new materials to see how they affect sound. Maybe leave this one for older kids that really have an interest in music. Get the directions from here.

Flubber5. Flubber
Flubber is a gooey, kinda solid goo that looks like glossy play dough. You can easily make it at home – the process is cool and kids get a new toy out of it. Tip: add glow-in-the-dark paint instead of food coloring and take the fun well into the night. This video gives perfect steps to getting it just right and the kid’s reaction in it proves it will be worthwhile.

6. Bouncing Balls!
Yes, you can actually make these. We read up on different people’s views on how much these balls can actually bounce and they’re not really the same as store-bought. BUT you get a little bounce and hey, you just made it. Plus, it uses almost the same ingredients as Flubber, so you can make a 2 for 1. Detailed instructions here.

Let us know if you try any of these and how it goes! As for us, we’ll be right back. There’s some Borax that needs to be bought.

Your Kid’s Brain on Music – Infographic

We’re always sharing on Twitter and Facebook studies that show how great music is for kids, especially when they’re learning how to play an instrument. These tweets and posts are sometimes lost in newsfeeds and timelines, but what they say still remains true, sometimes even long after your kid has lost interest in the instrument.

Some things are pretty logical, such as how fun and motivating music can be. But others are pretty awesome. Did you know that people who learned an instrument when they were young are actually better at picking up foreign languages – for the rest of their lives? Another study showed that high school students involved in music actually do better on their SATs. Improvements can be seen in all portions of the tests, but guess which one gets the highest boost in scores? No, not math: the verbal portion. Amazing!

There are a lot more fascinating facts on how learning to play an instrument or studying music actually works on young minds. And for future reference, we grouped some of them all together in this neat little infographic we made:

Your Kid's Brain on Music - Infographic - The Loog Blog

Cool, huh? You can click on the image to get the full view. Let us know if you have any other little tidbit to share and we’ll research it and add it to the infographic’s next update. We also found a ton of statistics on what instruments kids prefer and how long they play them – but we’re being all mysterious and leaving that for some other time 😉

Oh, and one last thing! We know PNG infographics with unclickable sources can be heart-wrenching for those of us who love floundering around the web. That’s why we’re also putting them here:

Wannaplaymusic.com: How Children Benefit from Music Education In Schools
Nature.com: Musical experience shapes human brainstem encoding of linguistic pitch patterns
Nature.com: Music training for the development of auditory skills
ScienceDaily.com: Music Education Can Help Children Improve Reading Skills
Jstor: Music and Mathematics – Modest Support for the Oft-Claimed Relationship
Sage Journals: Music Lessons Enhance IQ
Taylor & Francis Online: Higher education music students’ perceptions of the benefits of participative music making
University of St. Thomas: An Investigation of Secondary School Students’ Self-Reported Reasons for Extracurricular Musical and Athletic Activities
McGill University: Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion
San Marino High School Music Department: Music Education Statistics and Facts
Norman Music Institute: Kids who study music do better on SAT test

Enjoy!

Playing Guitar for Left-Handed Kids

Playing Guitar for Left-Handed Kids - The Loog BlogLefties have it hard in guitar world. They might only be 10% of the world but studies have shown them to be the most creative bunch of the lot. The problem arises when they wish to take that creativity into music – or worse, into playing guitar.

It’s actually not as bad as we’re making it sound, even if many people fall for it. Remember that Kurt Cobain, Paul McCartney and Jimmi Hendrix were/are all left-handed and amazing guitarists.

We’ve had many parents ask us what to do if their kid’s left-handed and wants to learn guitar. The answer’s simple: let them! Learning how to play guitar when you’re a lefty isn’t harder than when you’re a righty. The only problem you’d have to figure out beforehand is how he or she is going to learn in the first place.

Basically, left-handed kids have three options:

– Play guitar like any right-handed person would do.
– Buy a left-handed guitar and learn on that one.
– Re-string a regular guitar to play it upside-down.

The Case for Right-Handed Guitars
Surfing around the web we found that almost 50% of all lefties play guitar like any right-handed person would do. This makes sense: by learning the righty way, you’re still able to pick up any guitar at any gathering and play on the spot without having to carry your guitar everywhere. Some even say this plays to lefties’ advantage – your ‘good’ hand is on the fretboard and therefore, you can pick up on fretting easier. Of course, this means that your other hand is strumming, making picking and speed a bit harder to grasp. Yet it’s completely doable, like Paul Simon, Mark Knopfler, Steve Morse and David Byrne have shown the world.

The Case for Left-Handed Guitars
But sometimes a kid is just too left-handed to actually grasp right-handed playing. What do we mean by this? Well, as most things in life, right- and left-handedness are not black and white. Think of it as a spectrum. Even if someone uses their left hand to write, that doesn’t really mean they use their left hand for everything. The same goes for righties. In fact, we know several right-handed guitarists who actually prefer to play with left-handed guitars. Yet left-handed guitars continue to be sparce and more expensive than regular ones. So what’s one to do?

The Best of Both Worlds: Re-Stringing Your Guitar
This third option is what we usually recommend. The best solution for lefties is to go “Hendrix style” and simply switch the string order. In fact, I’m a lefty myself -as you can see on the video below- and that’s the way I do it. All Loog Guitar models work great this way because the strap buttons are placed in the center of the body. Therefore, your kid can easily learn to play guitar with three strings even while being left-handed… who knew the Loog Guitar was ambidextrous!

The Loog Guitar in Action from Loog Guitars on Vimeo.

Loog + Kids = Adorable!

We keep saying that the Loog isn’t just for kids… but kids definitely are our cutest players yet.

Here’s Vivian, for instance, showing us her skills with her brand new, untuned Loog III:

And this is three year-old Sean, who we’re told still does a rocking version of The Wheels of the Bus to this very day with his Loog II:

Thanks Joshua and Mark for letting us post these videos! We’re still getting over how adorable they are 🙂

How to Play your Loog Guitar: Lesson #2 by Keni Lee Burguess

http://youtu.be/yLxavlPHjoY

Last week we posted lesson #1 by the amazing Keni Lee Burgess. Here’s lesson #2, with more exercises and tips to get you started playing your Loog.

As we said before, we are really proud to have such a wonderful musician as Keni Lee doing these video lessons and we hope they help you make the most out of your Loog. Spoiler alert: don’t miss Keni Lee’s fantastic slide-guitar demo at the end of the video.