Benjamin's Entrepreneurial Journey

Starting a business is a Journey no matter how old you are! This is Benjamin's story from choosing his product, the trials and errors of perfecting his product, to making game day decisions to increase his sales and success!

"My name is Benjamin an my business is called Benjamin’s Bomb-a-licious Bath Balms. The teacher of the class was doing a slide show and none of them really caught my eyes or my focus but when I saw the bath bombs I really felt engaged and I really wanted to do it. It took me a long time and a lot of tries and they always kept on falling apart. We actually made them last minute yesterday 9 to 12. There's a lot of things here that you don't learn at school and I had no idea they ever existed before I took this program. It also, it teaches kids how to fend for themselves instead of their parents buying them stuff and learning to earn money and learning how to do this before they grow up. Well I didn't really get a lot of customers at in the first 30 minutes so I was kind of worried 'cause I didn't make any money, but then my uncle came and he told me to upgrade my elevator pitch and now I have a lot of customers"

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Kid entrepreneur programming is offered by Build a Biz Kids, a local non profit society focused on helping kids to develop and strengthen their essential soft skills. Students gain confidence, and learn foundational skills such as critical thinking, resiliency, financial literacy, leadership, decision making, self awareness, communication, public speaking, and so much more! Find out more about us and our incredible students at http://BuildaBizKids.com


"Those Big Lumps In Your Path" Brynne

Meet Brynne! She had a tough time in her Kid Entrepreneur Program and has to make some tough last minute choices on her business. But her resiliency muscle was flexed and the payoff was HUGE for her.

"My name is Brynne and the name of my business is Wooden Wonders. My favorite part of the program, it was honestly, it was really hard when things kept popping up when I was under a lot of stress during the time where I was preparing. I had to come up with a last minute resort but my favorite part was the best feeling when you overcome that and when a customer comes up, and all you’ve been through is just for this one moment where you're selling. It's amazing! When like yes, OK here's your money, feels awesome because you know all of these things you struggled through. It's the best feeling when you get over them and this customer comes up, not knowing what happened, but they still want to buy stuff from you. There will always be those big lumps in your path and it'll be hard to get through them but you will and it’s the best feeling after that. They should take this program 'cause it teaches them, it's really fun of course, but it also teaches them to get over these big struggles and it will all turn out OK if you just keep working through it."

Click here to view next semesters KidPreneur Program Schedule

*** Like Us On Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/buildabizkids/
@buildabizkids
**Follow on Twitter - https://twitter.com/BuildABizKids
@buildabizkids
*** We are On Instagram!! - https://www.instagram.com/buildabizkids/
@buildabizkids
** LinkedIn Too! - https://www.linkedin.com/company/build-a-biz-kids-bizkids-practical-education-assn/

Kid entrepreneur programming is offered by Build a Biz Kids, a local non profit society focused on helping kids to develop and strengthen their essential soft skills. Students gain confidence, and learn foundational skills such as critical thinking, resiliency, financial literacy, leadership, decision making, self awareness, communication, public speaking, and so much more! Find out more about us and our incredible students at http://BuildaBizKids.com

 


Practicing Decision Making

Did you know that Decision Making is a Skill? It falls under Soft Skills but it is anything but soft, it's critical!

When kids are given the space to make decisions, and do so, it's important that we use that moment to credit them with that. Not the topic or actual choice that they made, but the action of choosing, making a decision, is one we want to encourage.

For my son, I want to encourage him to try new things. New food, new clothes, hair styles, friend, sports, and so on. You can see that moment in your kids eyes when they over think something and it becomes a really big, painful deal. An easy example for us is trying new food. Our son is not a fan of new food and, when we tell him he has to try it before declaring he doesn't want it, you can see the panic start to rise the longer he thinks about whether he will actually put it in his mouth or not.

The other week he asked if he could try something we were eating. That is an action we want him to do more.

Another example is what he is going to do to keep himself occupied while we work. Often it is a struggle to get him to do anything other than watch his iPad, which is very limited in our home, so when he made a quick decision to take his scooter to the skate park, we were elated!

Teaching moments are all around us, but it is so important for us, as parents, to be aware of WHAT it is we are wanting to praise. Praising results, even if the results are exactly as we wanted them to choose, are not the actions we want to praise. That is what can develop into people pleasing, low confidence adults.

Instead we want to praise the process of how they got to those decisions, the action of deciding what they wanted or thought was best, whatever that may be.


Are You Winning or Losing? Does It Matter?

Imagine your child won a Nobel Prize for giving one big idea to the world, through taking action. Do you believe this is possible? Do they have it in them to be exceptional?

I really hope you said yes, because it's true. No matter what intellectual, physical or other limitation they may have, giving the world a great idea and taking action on it is in all of our power and control, but it can be a tough road.
Developing a Growth Mindset is not just about helping them do more or become smarter kids, it's about developing their coping skills and having a healthy attitude towards difficult obstacles they will face in life.
Why is it that we love to watch biographies or hear stories about incredible people who have done incredible things? Do we just enjoy hearing about the part where they won the medal or their book was published, or they climbed the mountain? Of course not! That part is only satisfying when we can hear the "story" of how they did it.
It took how many years to write that book? And she was how old? And so broke that she was behind on rent?
Oh my gosh! You mean she broke her leg but managed to win an Olympic Medal in Figure Skating? How??
They got the idea for how to plant more tree's faster by watching their daughter play in the sandbox? So cool!
It's the story of how the band Queen came to be formed that is interesting. It's how someone like Oprah ends up becoming Oprah. It's the story of the invention of the first light bulb and Michael Jordan's rise to fame that keeps us in ah. But why?
A part of all of us believes we are capable of more than we currently present. When we hear stories of "success" and their grass roots, we are reminded that everyone starts our the same. In diapers, curious about the world and falling over and over again as we learn to walk.
Yes, we all have different upbringings. Some of us have incredibly supportive parents and others were in households of abuse. Some were encouraged in sports and had the means to pay for expensive equipment and coaches, while others had none but always loved to play. For every story of success where someone "had", there are just as many stories from someone who "had not" but still become a success.
Why weren't we those exceptions? Life is tough. End of sentence. It really is, but I don't mean in a physical sense. Bills need to be paid, yes, and that person cut you off in traffic that caused an accident, that really sucks. But when I say life is hard, I mean that no matter where you come from, the have's or have not's, we all fight battles in our heads.
"Did I do that well enough?"
"I know I could do more but I don't feel like it"
"Why are they doing better than me? Why can't I have that as well?"
"What am I doing wrong?"
"I wish I had said something differently back there. Now it's too late"
Man, it's exhausting being in ones head. Whether you appear confident or not, whether you can afford things or not, our brains are constantly questioning what we are doing and trying to convince us of false truths. It's an animal with basic needs to protect and survive. It does this to help but it is mental torture for many.
So, let's bring this back to a growth mindset in our kids. Why is it so important?
Because the commentary in a growth mindset sounds more like this:
"Wow, that didn't go as well as I thought. Now I know what they want to hear for next time"
"I'm tired today but I have almost reached my goal. I can't wait!"
"I wonder how they got all of those things? I should ask and learn from them"
"What am I doing wrong? I should ask someone experienced for help"
"I missed an opportunity to say how I felt. Next time I will remember to express myself more clearly"
Well I'm inspired. And Excited! A growth mindset uses energy to grow, not beat down and dwell on things that no longer matter.
This Weeks Growth Mindset Parent Challenge is, "I love that you didn't quit on this, even though it was tough."
The key to instilling a Growth Mindset is to keep their self identity and "pride", if you will, in the process of doing and trying, not on the results. You will notice that the phrase doesn't specify if they got an A or not. It doesn't say, I love how you won the game and didn't give up. This isn't about winning! Every top athlete has lost many games before they won. Every successful business owner has failed at numerous things before succeeding.
Encourage them never to quit, even when it get's tough. Get their brain to attached to positive emotions and chemical stimulation when they encounter something tough. That's their cue that something satisfying is here and now. Not when they get the A. The process is the exciting part.
Try using this phrase and add it to your collection from past weeks. Like all things, practice takes perfect, mom and dad. That goes for you too.

Labeling Your Kids to Shape Their Identity

Parents Growth Mindset Challenge Week #2!
How did it go last week? Did you practice using the Growth Mindset Phrase?
It takes practice but WOW! What a difference you will see in your kids.
Try to actively use this weeks phrase. This Growth Mindset statement is doing 2 things.
Firstly, it is positively reinforcing great behavior, which in this case is asking for your opinion. Kids, and all of us, want to do good things. We all want positive attention and be praised for good behavior. Asking for other peoples opinion is a great skill to have. It demonstrates leadership, helps others feel valued, and can build incredible teams who can do incredible things as a strong unit. Humble people ask for others opinions; Insecure individuals and those with inflated egos do not.
Secondly, this phrase is labeling them as a "Considerate Person". We are helping to ground their identity into a positive personality trait. By pointing out that they are in fact a considerate person based on the action they just displayed, it is not an empty comment. They will feel like the compliment has been validated in their minds and, therefore, must be true. When humans can tie their identity to a trait, they act in accordance to it naturally without effort. New connections are made in their minds to display this behavior and every time they act in accordance with it, it reinforces it further. It becomes who they area.
But be careful, it works both ways. If you label your child negatively, the same thing will happen. We never mean to do it, but it does happen. Perhaps they are playing with another child and take the other child's toy away. You want to immediately correct this behavior but stay something like, "Don't do that. You aren't not a good sharer." That statement is just as effective as the positive label. They will believe you and find opportunities to prove that phrase is correct.
Or perhaps you ask them to clean their room for the 10th time and finally say, "You are a terrible listener!" or "You are so messy!"
We never intentionally mean to hurt their identity, but it happens. Everything worth doing takes conscious practice until it becomes an unconscious, positive habit.
Try this weeks Growth Mindset Parent Challenge. Intentionally use it. Find opportunities to use positive labels with your child and watch them develop almost overnight.
Stay tuned for next week!

How to Instill a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is one that enjoys a challenge, doesn't give up and believes that they can learn and accomplish anything with the right effort, focus and practice.
As a parent, you have a significant amount of influence on whether they will develop a strong growth mindset. No Pressure, right?!
We want to help. Using the right language is one of the biggest, if not the most effective, method for instilling a growth mindset in a child. When done consistently, the results can be almost over night! Watching them grow and take on challenges is one of the most fulfilling things I can watch my child do.
So how do you do it? What are those magic words?
Like a any new skill, it takes focus, effort and practice. So here's what we want to do. We are going to provide 1 new Growth Mindset phrase each week for you to mindfully use with your children at every chance you get.
Practice and be present when the opportunity strikes to use one of these Growth Mindset Statements. Soon, it will become natural.
To see our Weekly Parent Growth Mindset Statements, Follow Us on Facebook or Instagram

Prepare Them for Anything!

Resiliency takes practice. So does Critical Thinking, Communication, Decision Making, Empathy and Adaptability.
We can hope that they learn it in school or by accident, which they often do to a degree, but to continue their development we must provide real world opportunities for them to exercise these skills & learn from their results. Then, practice it again in a new way with new results.
Build a Biz Kids uses Entrepreneurship as a medium to practice Real Life Skills in Real World Interactions. But of course throwing students into a situation without preparation wouldn't set them up to succeed.
Students attend 10 weeks of programming designed to prepare them for these real world interactions. Step by Step, they role play scenarios, plan and make BIG decisions, gain confidence through leadership and develop empathy for their customers who they will meet very soon.
As adults, we are cut off in traffic on a regular basis. Sometimes by accident, sometimes by overconfident people who believe their schedule is more important than ours.  How do you react?
For me, sometimes I'm glad not to have my son in the car with me, lol. It really get's to me. Other times I really impress myself by how little I react and that I empathize with the driver that they must have someplace important to go; or how sad for them that this is how they feel in control by making power moves that are dangerous and disrespectful. Aren't I the bigger person today?
Which was the better response? To be honest, it doesn't matter. No one was around to know about either of my possible reactions, unless they are in the car with me. The other driver doesn't know. My parents don't know. My favorite teacher who would be so disappointed in one of the responses, also doesn't know.
What matters is whether I did either one on purpose. Did I stop and reflect on how one reaction made me feel over the other? Did I question if one was more right or appropriate than the other? Did I even ask WHY I reacted differently from one occasion to the other in an objective manor?
Here is why these ACTIVE thoughts and reflections matter.
Just in this one situation, I had an opportunity to practice self control, empathy, leadership, self awareness, body language, conflict resolution, personal branding, adaptability, self confidence, resiliency, and possibly depending on the situation, time management and planning. All of the skills that I listed are known as soft skills. There are actually 87 of these skills, each one important in their own way. I prefer to call them Practical or Essential Skills myself. According to top employers in virtually every sector, that's exactly what they are; even superseding technical skills in many cases.
That is an entirely separate write up so let's jump back to the road rage (or not) situation. Everyday we are presented with opportunities to develop skills but instead of being "active" in our approach to practice and be aware, we work on autopilot and fall into habits that are already ingrained and getting deeper by the second.
The statement, "This is just the way I am" has always been one that has made me cringe. It couldn't be further from the truth. In actual fact, that statement is more accurately read, "This is the way I choose to continue to be".
The reaction in the car could be a reaction you are happy that you made. It made you feel good and therefore you just continue on your way. Or perhaps you didn't like your reaction and the rest of the car ride you feel embarrassed or scold yourself for not having control or more self worth. Again, both reactions are not helpful.
During either moment where you feel either reaction, the only thing that can ensure progress and growth, is to be self aware, reflect and contemplate what reaction you would like to have. What reaction would help you or someone else the most? What reaction do you envy when others display? And, most of all, what reaction would you like to train yourself to have going forward. What would you like to have as your new Autopilot?
Our reactions are very similar to addictions in that they are cycles that need to be broken and it takes an active, conscious approach to do it. Most of our habits have been developing for years and have deep pathways in our brains that must be filled with something new. However, the only way to do this is with the desire to grow, to acknowledge when opportunities arise to practice, and then to take action in those moments sooner and sooner in the "heat" of the moment.
I want to leave you with one take away example around our kids that I see often. Sports could easily be looked at as a place where our kids can learn resiliency. They missed the ball, missed the goal or they lost the game but tomorrow still came. Yes, they COULD learn resiliency, but are you and the coaches working actively to develop this SKILL in them?
It was the game right before championships. Both teams were great! It was back and forth and I have never seen a crowd so big at a baseball game for 9 & 10 year olds. The final inning and it is close. My son missed a key catch that could have easily knocked one of their out. No prob, we still have another batter up and either we get the 3rd out or they get a run in. That's it. It's as close as it gets.
Well, the other team won. There was a LOT of drama around a pitch with the Umps and I will save you the chaos but that was it. Our team lost.
WELL, I have NEVER seen such absolutely meltdowns of LOUD sobbing and yelling and tempers and tears in all of my life. These kids were squealing through tears saying words no one could make out. 90% of the losing team just lost it! It took me aback. The coaches did their best to say that everyone did an amazing job. That it's ok that we lost because they won so many and there will be another chance next year and so on. But it didn't work. In fact, there was a brother of one teammate who lost who was melting down as well and yelling how my son had lost us the game for missing that catch.
So, how many of the players were developing resiliency that day? To be honest, I have no idea. What I do know, is that each of them were too young and too emotional in the moment to understand that it was an opportunity for them to reflect and grow. All they could think about was the loss. That is where coaches and parents must come in to lead them through that.
Some parents consoled and said they did great, that it's ok to lose and that they are proud. Kind words, and I'm sure it helped a little to help them with perspective in some way, but it hasn't help them to be active in their thinking. Instead, these words are your attempt to implant positive thoughts in their mind but that's not how new habits are formed.
Other parents were disgusted in the behavior and told their kid to "Stop it! That's enough of that", which most likely came from a place of fear that their child would always act this way to a loss, or the parents were just embarrassed to have one of their own kids meting down.
So what could be helpful? What could start them on the trek to developing positive habits around loss?
Asking insightful, non leading questions. Questions where their answers have no right or wrong answer. The objective is getting them to Think Through their emotions and options with the desire to create a positive outcome.
In the first parent reaction, the parent is trying to implant positive thinking into the child's mind; to think for them about the situation and try to make the child see it their way. The problem is that the next time they lose something it might not be a baseball game where the same thinking applies and their parent might not be there to tell them how to feel again.
Instead, ask them how they are feeling?
Why do they feel that way?
How would they feel if they won and how would the other team feel?
Did they do their best? Was there anything they wished they had done more?
What actions could they take now that would give them a better chance next time?
Lastly, emotions are tough sometimes; especially in moments where we feel defeat and major loss. So keep this in mind when asking these questions. They may still give answers that are considered "not appropriate" or immature. That's ok. This is practice. This is simply helping to equip them with questions they can ask themselves later that night once they are calm and have time to reflect.
**On that note, give them time to reflect. no iPads, no TV. those are escapes. Give them time to reflect and process. that is where the magic happens.
Happy Practicing!!

Forget Gen Z, This is Generation Auto-Play

For parents and teachers…There’s a new adversary in town. It’s the auto play.

Entertainment and indulgence have become an automated activity with countdown clocks to the next episode on Netflix, to the next match in online gaming, to the next YouTube video. Even our meals can become automated with the delivery apps that recommend your preferences.

There’s benefits to this automation. It frees up our minds from having to make too many decisions as well as the time of manually completing the task. “Be Kind, Please Rewind” is a phrase our kids will never know.

Our kids are growing up with access to instant gratification from very minimal effort. And yet as parents we know that self-esteem and confidence are derived from overcoming challenges and success can be determined by ones ability to delay gratification.

How can we instill the work ethic in our kids that will set them up for challenges later in life?

Do they need to earn their time on video games? Do we treat time on electronics as a currency that we pay them in exchange for chores and good behaviour?

For us, the greatest thing we can teach our kids is the joy of skill acquisition. The confidence they gain from being able to do something they once were incapable of is empowering and hopefully inspires them to want to learn another skill.

The electronics we see as a distraction can also be used as tools. But like I told our son this week, tools, like a hammer, can be used to build a house but also take one down. It’s about deciding the outcome we want to use the tool for and then utilizing it to best meet that outcome. In our home, and through Build a Biz Kids, we are looking for ways to use these tools to learn new skills.

What has worked for you? What tactics, strategies and communication models have you used to get positive results from your kids when addressing technology for good?

We would love to hear from you. It takes a village and an open network of knowledge sharing to trial and error each child (and parent) as individuals to reach the desired results.

Stay tuned as we share assorted strategies that Build a Biz Kids, and Parents, have utilized with success, as well as those that crashed and burned.


How To Ensure Your Child Get's a Great Job

How can you ensure your child get's a great job?

Well, a magic ball would be a lovely answer. And yes, we can certainly push them to succeed in ways that we have been told will prepare them for a successful future, but what WILL their future look like?

Let's take a walk back about 40 years and see how the future can help us to "predict" the past.

When I was born in 1981, industries were booming, working in the trades was steady, and getting a corporate job where you could move your way up was the best possible outcome. Plus, everyone was unionizing. Even Safeway had a union and was easily able to entice fresh high school grads to work for them and make "loads" of money today and have job security rather than go to school. Or, you could go to school, that cost money, with hopes for more financial security and health benefits later.

Then, 10 years later, those 80's babies grew up a little and went to school and we were told, Baby Boomers will be retiring in droves! Prepare yourselves for any job your want so get as much education as you can to ensure you get the best, secure job. So we did. In fact, in my final high school year they introduced CAPP, Career And Personal Planning. AKA, how to write a resume and how you can earn the most money having the most number of letters after your name on a business card.

Grad came and, low and behold, the boomers all stayed put. They couldn't afford to retire. No jobs were to be found. Some industries were starting to fall backwards a bit, but all was still fairly stable in the job economy. We had the choice of starting at the bottom of a union seniority list in hopes of moving up after many years and some of those Boomers started to retire, or become career students until things got.... well... better. Trade Schools looked really appealing to my generation. They made good promises and taught a lot of content in a short period of time so many of us managed to get decent jobs after completing a couple years of hands on education.

Fast forward a bit and next was my sisters generation. Millennials. She was born 13 years after me. Don't worry they told her. The boomers are all definitely retiring now and those Gen X kids are all out of the way to make room for you to walk into all of these job vacancies. But, the boomers were STILL around. AND the jobs that they did have were becoming obsolete in place of tech jobs instead. Who could have seen that coming?!? Jeeze, I wish they had been teaching technology and coding when she was in school... Wait, they still don't do that?? Anyway....

Now it takes us to today. My son is 10 and at this point, no one knows what the heck things will be like when he graduates high school, or even why there is high school. I think many economists prefer to guess, I mean "Predict", what happens next in oil and gas rather than education.

Being that I am "Technically" a cusper of Gen X & Millennial, or so the book "Y-Size Your Business" told me, I like to think I can speak wisely from 2 generations experience about market conditions, false promises, and overall, teach those who come next.

PREPARE FOR ANYTHING!

Sorry, that got a little over dramatic but seriously, prepare for anything. How? Well it sure as heck isn't learning about WW1 (unless you want to be in the military or a history professor) and it sure as heck isn't learning about Geology (unless you love rocks and want to be a scientist or teacher). I have nothing against learning these areas of education if someone is curious but I would rather you Learn HOW to Learn and about the brain than content that traditionally, from experience, is crammed in and spewed out onto a test to determine how much value we have in this world.

Science and Math and History and English and Art, this is ALL needed in this world. But if we don't teach kids HOW to learn and expose them to all that this world has to offer, and where the world needs help, how will they ever be able to grow up to be contributing adults who can pivot and take action in ANY scenario that arises?!?

The lessons that need to be taught are those that can't be graded with an A, B or C+. They are areas that are ALWAYS in development. Area's that we all have different levels of to begin with but all need to understand and be conscious of. They have been called by many "Soft" skills but in my opinion, they are the hardest and most critical skills to acquire, on purpose, in today's education system.

Unfortunately, this blog is already incredibly long and I want to finish my original point so I will leave diving into these Critical (Soft) skills for another post. But picture this;

Your baby is now 17 years old and about to walk up on stage and collect their high school diploma. In that moment of joy, you feel that moment of fear seep in as well. What's next? What are they capable of? What has school prepared them to do? I mean, 12 years is a LONG time to have taken them away and taught them "things", but what can my child actually do to take care of themselves while also feeling fulfilled and happy throughout their life???

Do they have to go to college now and possibly take on debt? Do I have to take on debt for them?
What will they take in college? And what if they don't like the field they choose? What if there are no good paying jobs in that field when they graduate?

So many questions. What are the answers?

The answer is this, and it's not all on you, but you are the one in a position to take action. Before their graduation, help your child gain experience and expose them to as many experiences and topics as possible. Help them find out now what they like and don't like. Help them help others and feel what real contribution and internal fulfillment feels like. Give them the chance to develop and practice these Critical Skills (soft skills) so they can start to develop them before it becomes more difficult for them to adapt.

From 7-17 years, focus on giving them 10 years of real world experience so they feel like college is an empowered choice, not a mandatory debt. Help them to be capable of self care before they become adults. Allow them to hit the ground running.

I promise to go deeper into these Critical Skills (soft skills) next. For now, I just want to prepare you to prepare them for the unexpected future that they will have a hand in shaping.

Build a Biz Kids hopes that through our programming, and utilizing entrepreneurship as a medium for learning, we can be an option to parents to help them develop and practice these Critical Skills. We are also in development for what comes next. Stay Tuned. You will be hearing more about The Fuel Academy over the coming months but know that we are in your corner, a part of your village, and here to support you and your child on their journey.


The Power of Gamification with Your Kids

It's no big surprise that most kids love games. In fact, most adults do as well when we have time to play them (as experienced at a recent bachelor party that ended with a bunch of guys playing board games. Getting married after 40 is much different than in your 20's lol)

So the question is this. Are we fully utilizing the power of gaming to inspire action in our kids?

The logic runs as follows.

Gaming:
- We all want to win the game
- To win, action must be taken
- Strategy must be determined, planned and executed on
- Winning or losing can still be fun as it truly is the journey that is so exciting

Life:
- We all want to be happy in life, often achieved by working & achieving goals
- To reach our goals, action must be taken
- Developing a strategy can help us achieve more goals faster
- Ideally, achieving a goal or not, the happiness should be found in the journey

So, why not teach kids when they are young to gamify, well, everything? And for that matter, let's encourage adults to "play the game" of life as well so we can demonstrate authentically how fun personal, professional and social development can be?!

Here's an example of what I mean. Today we completed one of our Inventor's Paradise camps and it was phenomenal! It's set up to be a fun and innovative boot camp of learning how to see & solve problems in multiple ways and then take action to innovate and develop real, live prototypes. It's so much fun to see what these young minds come up with!

Anyway, one of the modules is designed to get them seeing outside of their day to day bubble and out into the BIG world they live in to find solutions to remove or prevent plastic in the ocean, supporting charitable organizations doing great things to clean water or feed the homeless sustainably, as well as designing a community gathering place (pictured) where people of all ages can come together and form true community bonds.

**Quick side note - I was SO impressed with what the students did in this camp but this particular exercise was mind blowing! They did it in just a few hours as a team and everyone was only 8-12 years old! I get excited for the future of our world when I see things like this.

  

But back to Gamification and how to utilize it, one of our other lessons was designed to teach them to look at the details of what's around them; literally. We designed a scavenger hunt and they decided they wanted to compete in teams. This scavenger hunt had items like, find someone who could use a hand and, if safe, help them; Find something that is broken and needs fixing; Find something that you could improve and make work better through innovation; And of course, find 3 pieces of garbage and pick it up.

WELL, they took this scavenger hunt and RAN with it, to the tune of massive bags of garbage collected. When there was some extra time at the end of class and the facilitators asked what they would like to do, they all said, "Can we go pick up more garbage?" Mission accomplished!

Although we are not able to be at each camp all the time, we always try to be there for graduation so we can meet the students and hear about their experiences throughout the camp. It's also a great opportunity for us to speak with the parents and hear their stories of development they have noticed within their own children throughout the week.

One week I spoke with a mother of a student who took our Lemonade Stand Challenge. Her son was somewhat easily distracted during lessons and often gave answers that were silly when asked questions. He is a lovely young man but a little hard to keep engaged at times. What was fascinating to watch, however, was once the Lemonade Stand Challenge begun, he was FOCUSED! I couldn't believe the change in his demeanor and how serious and on top of things he became. No silly words; no going off topic or wandering off. He wanted to sell and he wanted to win the challenge!

When I spoke with his mother I told her how impressed I was with his performance during the Lemonade Stand and that competition really seemed to drive him. She laughed and said, "Oh Yes! I learned that a while ago." In fact, she uses it. To get him to clean his room. Rather than saying, "can you clean you room?", she says, "I bet you can't clean your room in 15 minutes". His competitive nature engages and his room is clean within 15min!

I get it, I'm sure many of you are saying, my kid would never fall for that. Well, perhaps, but all kids engage in different ways and have different triggers and that is the point. Gaming is a common thread among all of us but the types of games we like to play are different. Our kids didn't come with instruction manuals, unfortunately, but through trial and error and engagement, we can figure out what get's them going.

Schools are also noticing gaming as a trend and now do math problems on iPads for points. My son's teacher last year even introduce a monetary economy of "money" for completing things that cashed in for pencils or stickers, etc.

Of course, what we really want is for them to WANT to make their bed and WANT to clean their room but we actually force anyone to love something that isn't fun. In fact, we as adults don't even enjoy many of the tasks that we do on a daily basis which is why gaming as adults can make mundane tasks fun and feel purposeful again!

Here's an example of game boards I have made for myself over the years. (pictured below) What I did was take a magnetic whiteboard and divided it into 3 categories of "Adulting" Tasks (things that need to get done like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc), Physical & Mental Health (going to the gym, meditating, eating well, going to bed on time, etc), and Personal & Academic Learning and Development (reading, learning a new skill, writing, puzzles, etc).

Over time I kept adjusting the board depending on what was working and what wasn't and modified the points accordingly. If something was REALLY hard for me to "want" to do but was really critical that I get it done, then I would give it more points to make it more enticing. Each day I had a goal for points that I had to hit. If I was above that threshold, I was moving life and myself forward. If below, I was falling behind. It helped me with gaining perspective on my life goals and ensuring I made time for the things I enjoyed doing, as well as getting the stuff done that needed to get done quickly and with less resentment.

It also totally got me doing WAY more of the things that I would often procrastinate on such as learning skills that I always wanted to learn. On my board I would get 3pts if I spent 5min working on a goal learning something I always wanted to learn. During this time I learned how to do the 3x3, 4x4 and 5x5 Rubix cube, how to juggle and many other little things that I always wanted to learn. As I would add points to my board each day, I would find myself feeling excited about my progress that was starting to feel so simple. I would end up looking for other things I could do, but wouldn't normally, just to get more points. Laundry needs folding? Sure! I can fold the one load that is done and get 3 more points. No prob!

Going to the gym? Perfect! I would get points only for the actual sets I would complete, so, doing that one extra set became easily encouraged knowing I would really be excelling that day.

As it progressed, and only as it progressed, I started to introduce negative points when I would do behaviour I was trying to quit such as binge watching TV or being on Facebook to long. To track my progress, I had magnets that I would place next to each item I accomplished for the day and then reset at the start of the next. It was so much fun and got me into some really critical habits. I used this board for about 2 years.

Back to the kids. So, while the list below is only a fraction of ideas you can try with your kids, or even yourself, it might be a great start. I have used many of them myself, some that work and some that didn't. It's important to note that not every game needs to have a prize, although sometimes that can help. Just remember, prizes can be something intangible like, they can choose dinner or the movie that day, or they get to sleep with the puppy tonight, extra iPad time, or other things they enjoy but perhaps don't always get to do.

  • A Game Board of Points and Progress - Get a white board and list the goals for each day with a point value next to them. Perhaps, making their bed, making breakfast, reading for 15min, creating a craft or building something unique in Lego, and so on. If your goal is to get them off their iPad, list things with them that they have always wanted to learn how to do, like playing a guitar or skateboarding at the park on the list. Mix in daily chores and reminder of what they need to do each day. List points and then a prize column. 25 points might get them tickets to the movies, 50pts might "buy" them new runners or sunglasses, etc.
  • Dice! - Dice can be used in so many ways! Roll a 6 and mom or dad will do one chore on your list for you. Otherwise, it's up to them to get what's done on their daily chore list. Or have a list of what each dice number represents. 3 Means an outdoor activity, 5 means they can choose the movie, or whatever their incentives are. As long as they get their chores done, they get what's on the dice.
  • Race Them! Set up challenges where you race them to complete your daily chore list. Maybe they have to match all the socks while you fold the laundry to see who wins! Maybe they have to clean their room while you clean the kitchen. Who will win!?
  • Basketball! - Yes, it will take longer, but tossing items that need to be washed into a basketball hoop hamper or toys into a bin can spice it up quickly.

How about you? How have you been able to add gaming into your child's world to get them excited to learn or complete tasks?

Happy Gaming!