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May 22nd Is National Sunscreen Day

May-20, 2020

family playing in the sand with kids in summer

Photo created by bearfotos www.freepik.com

Memorial Day weekend usually means fun in the sun, time with family, and a preview of the summer to come. But it also means the observance of National Sunscreen Day, aka Don’t Fry Day. Created by the National Council on Skin Care Prevention, National Sunscreen Day is always observed on the Friday before Memorial Day. So, this year we will observe the holiday on Friday, May 22nd, 2020.

The Council provides promotional materials and resources to promote this day. Many local businesses and municipal organizations also get involved to promote awareness. But why is the Don’t Fry message so important? Isn’t going outside and enjoying the sunshine good for our bodies?

Sunlight is essential for the human body. When sunlight shines on our skin, it motivates our bodies to convert cholesterol to vitamin D, a very important vitamin for our bodies which is hard to come by in our diets. It’s estimated that 40% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. So, it certainly seems like we could all do with some serious time in the sun.

However, exposure to sunlight can also expose us to serious health risks. The UV radiation found in sunlight damages the skin cells. Over time, this damage can accumulate and create skin cancer. It will also cause spotting, wrinkles, and rough patches on the skin. There is no such thing as a safe tan, even from tanning beds, anyone is susceptible to sun damage, no matter how much melanin naturally occurs in their skin. This problem is so prevalent that currently, 1 in 5 people will develop some form of skin cancer by age 70. So much for a “healthy glow.”

Don’t Fry Day aka National Sunscreen Day is the perfect opportunity to teach good habits to kids regarding sun exposure and protection. Parents can teach proper application techniques, how to limit sun exposure, and how to recognize warning signs. Here are a few tips from us at Best Brains!

  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout your time in the sun, at least every two hours, and again after excessive sweating or swimming.
  • Do not use tanning beds. Ever. They are very unsafe for your skin and there are alternatives like spray tans which can give you the same effect.
  • Check yourself and your family’s skin every week in the summertime, and report any moles or dark spots to your family doctor. These will have to be monitored over time to check for growth or discoloration.

The most important message of National Sunscreen Day is that the risks posed by sun exposure can be mitigated with sunscreen and mindfulness. So, get out there and safely enjoy the sunshine!


Breakfast Solutions: Sheet Pan Pancakes

May-13, 2020

pancake fruits Serving tray

Photo created by KamranAydinov www.freepik.com

Whether you call them flapjacks, griddle cakes, or pancakes, everyone gets excited for this breakfast staple. Pancakes turn breakfast into a special occasion, but they can also be a lot of work. Between making the batter, adding special ingredients, and usually cooking one at a time, pancakes can be a time-consuming meal that’s hard for the whole family to enjoy at once. But no fear, there is a solution: sheet pan pancakes!

Unlike pancakes cooked on the stovetop, a sheet pan pancake is cooked in the oven, much like a very thin cake. Not only do these cook quickly as compared to a normal cake, they are also very easy to customize. Similar to a build-your-own pizza, all members of the family can add special flavors to their section of the pancake. And since the pancake finished cooking all at once, the whole family can sit down together and enjoy their special breakfast without any hassle.

What do you put on a sheet pan pancake?

Any topping you enjoy on a regular pancake can go on a sheet pan pancake. Fruits like blueberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced bananas are all great choices. You can also add crushed nuts like pecan, walnut, or macadamia. Morsels and swirls are also a sweet addition to the sheet pan pancake. Try peanut butter (chips or spread), cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, or fruit jelly. Since sheet pan pancakes aren’t cooked by direct heat, you can even try ingredients that might burn in a pan like mini marshmallows. And if you’re craving the distinct flavor you get from fried bananas or nuts, you can always give those a quick toss in the pan before adding on top of your batter.

How to make sheet pan pancakes:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line your sheet pan with parchment paper and coat with melted butter. Mix up your favorite pancake batter and spread evenly in the pan. We recommend adding an oven liner or tray to catch potential spills the first time you try this recipe. Add your toppings to the batter and bake for 5-7 minutes, and then broil the top for 1-2 minutes.

Practice makes perfect with this recipe, but the whole family will love joining in for that practice. Be sure to show us your pancake creations on the Best Brains Facebook page!

Tags Food

Five Facts About the Moon

May-07, 2020

Night sky Fully moon

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amoré!” While there is a lot to love about our beautiful moon, there is still so much to learn about our celestial companion. Let’s learn more about the Moon together!

  • While there are several theories as to where the Moon came from, the most popular theory is quite volatile. Scientists hypothesize that a Mars-sized mass collided with the newly formed Earth, hurtling debris which, over time, formed what we call the Moon. This would explain what the Moon is made out of as well as where it sits in its orbital path. However, there is no consensus on this hypothesis yet.
  • While many people today equate the moon with more feminine qualities, that wasn’t always the case throughout the world. Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Babylonian, and Nordic traditions all characterize the god of the moon as male.
  • There have been 24 astronauts who made it to the moon, and of those 24, 12 of them have actually walked on its surface. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first to ever walk on the moon, while Eugene Cernan and Harrison H Schmitt were the last. No woman or person of color has ever orbited or walked on the Moon. Yet.
  • Our expeditions to the Moon have left behind several items. The Soviet Union actually did land an unmanned probe called Luna 2 back in 1959. Since then, other probes and spacecraft vehicles sit on the Moon’s surface. Some things were brought specifically to leave on the Moon, most notably two medals commemorating Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov, who perished in an accident furthering the study of space travel. Additionally, the NASA Apollo missions used their different moon landings as a way to get rid of their trash so that they could lighten their ships and make the trip home easier. Interplanetary littering!
  • While our moon is the largest moon in the solar system relative to its planet, it’s only the fifth largest over all. (Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, is big enough to be considered a planet if it orbited the Sun!) The Moon’s size means that its gravity is only a sixth of Earth’s. So, if something weighted 6 lbs. on Earth, it would weigh only 1 lb. on the Moon. The effect of the Moon’s gravity on astronauts has inspired both moon bounces and moon boots, both designed to make you jump with serious airtime!

We’re still learning things about our beautiful Moon. Selenography, or the study of the Moon, still occurs to this day. Will you be the next person to find some new lunar secrets? If so, you know where to start looking!


Is Summer Education a Good Idea?

Apr-28, 2020

Two smart girl students with glasses

Photo created by jcomp www.freepik.com

Summer is traditionally a time when kids get to relax, play, and pursue non-academic pursuits. But summertime just might be the best time of year to focus on education. What makes summer education so appealing? Let’s take a look.

Summer Learning Loss

It’s a quantifiable fact that children do forget Math and English skills over the summer. This can lead to several weeks at the start of each school year working back up to the correct level. Over a period of years, this extra time can add up. Not to mention the extra frustration during an already stressful back-to-school season. Continuing Math and English studies over the long break combats summer learning loss and positions your child ahead for the next school year.

Routine

While every student deserves to relax and enjoy their summer break, this does not mean that abandoning all routine is healthy. Without structure, days and weeks can blend together. Not to mention, summer assignments like novel reading become easy to ignore, leading to cramming in preparation for back-to-school. Keeping a schedule that includes summer education keeps your child’s mind engaged. The comfort of a routine balances work and play and allows us to appreciate both.

Good Time Management

Without huge blocks of time in your child’s schedule taken up by school, summer break can be an excellent opportunity to let your child create their own schedule. What do they need to accomplish each week? What times of the day are available to work towards that goal? Let your child self-guide their own education, with your supervision and advice, and use the summer break as a way to learn responsibility and time management skills. Your child will be ready to go back-to-school calm and confident, knowing that they are fully prepared. Summer education gives your child weekly goals to work towards, and the extra time with educators can mean extra advice for your whole family.

As you can see, pursuing summer education for your child still allows plenty of fun and enjoyment of the long break between the end of one school year and the beginning of another. But the benefits to your child’s overall education and growth are many. Want to learn more about your options for summer education? Follow this link to set up a meeting with a qualified education provider in your area! www.bestbrains.com/locations


Celebrate Earth Day with a Haiku

Apr-22, 2020

hugging earth cartoon

Photo created by pikisuperstar www.freepik.com

What better way to honor Mother Earth than with a lovely haiku poem ? This traditional Japanese style of poetry is a favorite all over the world, so let’s write one together!

As you may know, as traditional haiku has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. This 5-7-5 scheme represents simplicity and calm. A haiku can capture the briefest moment and make it beautiful. Scientists estimate that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. That’s a lot of moments, and a lot of potential haiku!

When creating your haiku, choose a moment in nature which meant a great deal to you. A beautiful sunset, or a bird landing in your yard, or the way an icicle drips when the sun comes out. You can look around outside for moments like this to add to your memories. Breathe in the fresh air, walk between the trees, look and listen to the natural world around you.

Paper and Pencil

Photo created by jannoon028 www.freepik.com

Now that we have the subject of our haiku, let’s construct it. A haiku doesn’t need fancy words, complex metaphors, or witty jokes. Let the haiku express your honest and true feelings. Here are some examples.


A bird on the lawn,
Rests only a moment here.
I hope he returns.


Winter can be cold.
But when I think of summer,
My memory warms.


This tree is a home.
I see the squirrel within it.
Be safe, little squirrel.


Haikus take practice to create, but can so perfectly capture a memory or a feeling. Let’s write haiku this week and save some memories we can share with others. If you would like to share your Earth Day haiku with us, please comment below!


My First Planter Box

Apr-16, 2020

mother and daughter

Photo Credit - www.freepik.com

Whether you call them a planter box, window box, or raised garden bed, these small, self-contained patches of earth are perfect for a younger gardener to develop their green thumb. A planter’s box can be an ideal tool to teach basic life science, responsibility, and an appreciation for nature. When designing your planter’s box, here are some of our recommendations.

What should I plant?

Choose plants that will grow strong without crowding one another. Mint and chives are excellent indoor herbs, as are bay laurel and thyme. Other plants ideal for indoor gardening include Chinese money plants, jade plants, echeveria, and peperomia. Looking for a splash of color? Anthurium, kalanchoe, oxalis, polka dot plants, and peace lilies all have visual appeal.

Variety!

Plan out your box with a variety of different plants, just try to match their moisture and sunlight needs. Place your sun-loving plants near a window and your shade-loving plants in an interior room. Tending different plants at once can be a challenge, but gives valuable experience in less time, plus puts your design skills to the test.

Take notes

Plants are living creatures, and no two are totally alike. With the convenience of a planter’s box, a young gardener can observe their charges all at once, make notes on their progress, and test the effects of a new method all at once. How much water is too much or two little? Do my plants prefer direct sunlight all the time or a rotation around the house? Which prefer fertilizer or compost over dirt? Learning which plants thrive under different conditions gives your young gardener a baseline for growing their skills and comfort to tackle more difficult plants in the future!

Do you feel inspired to being your own indoor gardening journey? Show us the plants you’ve been nuturing on social media a www.facebook.com/bestbrainsinc