Why Punk Rock is Good For Kids

This summer there will be an empty hole in the hearts of many young kids and former punks as it's the first summer without a nationwide Warped Tour. Warped Tour helped form the person I am. I found my taste in music, clothes, friends, views on politics, even the food that I eat. This year the closest it is coming to me is New Jersey, and it's on my due date. Somehow I don't think I'll be standing for hours in a parking lot, six hours away, in the sweltering heat with thousands of like minded people trying to get close to the stage... even though I'd love to! Even without Warped, punk rock is good for kids... and here's why:

01. It teaches kids to stand up for what they believe in. Punk may be about speaking up against injustice and wrong doing in the government, for animal welfare, or human rights, but kids can incorporate this into their daily lives too. Bully on the playground? One kid taking all the toys? Stand up to him for yourself, or for your friends. A kid hitting a cat? Earth Crisis sure has some opinions about that. 



"What's your plan for tomorrow?Are you a leader or will you follow?Are you a fighter or will you cower?It's our time to take back the power" - The Interrupters 

02. In punk rock, everyone is accepted. Individuality is embraced and celebrated. I'm reminded of this as I see the "Smash the alt right" shirts, the "Make Racists Scared Again" hats and the rainbow flags at punk shows.
"We live our life in our own way
Never really listened to what they say"- Bouncing Souls

03. It teaches you to get back up and try again. How many kids have had a punk rock band that didn't make it big? 99 percent. Most bands live and die in a garage or storage unit. It isn't about that. Even in a mosh pit where kids are slamming each other, if someone falls down they are picked up immediately and keep going. 
04. They support one another. Like I said above, a mosh pit can actually be one of the most supportive and friendly places, despite what onlookers may think. The goal is to keep everyone safe and have fun. Crowd surfers are literally depending on their punk rock family, many of whom they have never met, to support them. It's a family, even if you haven't met.

"No reason why- to beat up on the poser skin, no reason why- to keep the little kid's from getting in, No reason why- to take advantage of the people you know, no reason why- there's just no reason why" Gorilla Biscuits

05. It teaches them about music. Punk consists of lots of styles thrown together. Ska has horns, trombones, and saxophones. There are keyboards, drums, guitars, bass, plus a range of all different kinds of singing. It encourages kids to want to pick up an instrument and play, something that has been linked to higher test scores. It also shows them that whatever you play can be cool if you put your own spin on it. Violin in a punk band? Yup.
06. It teaches kids that if they want something done, they have to do it themselves. Way back before the internet, facebook, and blogs, there were zines. Zines were put together by kids who wanted a source of alternative communication that shared ideas. Kids in the punk scene make their own clothes, stud their own jackets, sew their own patches, record their own music, and make things themselves. Why DIY it? Because you don't want to support big corporations, big record labels, and big businesses that sell their soul to the man. Not always relevant to the real world, but wouldn't it be nice if everything could be this way?


TCC Planetarium


So I totally stole this image from their website, because well.. it's hard to get pictures inside a dark planetarium without ruining the show for everyone else. No one wants to be that person, although I did snap a few before and after the show.
You may not know it, but the TCC Planetarium regularly hosts free shows open to the public. If your little one loves space, this is something you should check out. Reservations are required for the show, and you have to arrive 15 minutes prior to show time to guarantee your spot. It isn't huge but the forty foot dome has reclined seats that allow you to see everywhere across the sky.
(super sneaky during the movie picture)
We saw The Cardboard Rocket which was a cartoon and aimed toward kids, but the shows change. You can find upcoming shows and RSVP here. The next show is February 22nd, and it is about the European Southern Observatory. There are two showings, at 7:00 and 8:15.
When you arrive, be sure to check out the displays around the first floor for some animal teeth and even dinosaur fossils. When you're looking to find the building, the planetarium is marked as building I but it is actually inside of building J, the Science Building. If you are coming from the main TCC entrance, it is the last building on the loop all the way around the campus. If you're coming in from University Drive past the ODU Virginia Beach campus, it will be the first building. You can't actually see it from the parking lot, but if you see the ACT building, park and walk past it and you'll spot it! 

More pictures stolen from their website, but it was too dark out to get anything good! RT has always been really interested in the moon, and he paid much more attention than I anticipated. Even as adults we learned a few things too! This is a great program for any scientist to be! 

Brick By Brick: Lego Shipbuilding

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum isn't a place that most people would associate with kids, but they actually do a lot of outreach for children. They host FREE in-house field trips for local schools (tell your elementary-high school kid's teacher!), and their museum is always free. They do have a small craft area in the museum, but as you might imagine the naval history of Norfolk is... well.... full of information and old artifacts. However, the museum hosts some events that are totally for kids (and adults) to explore. 
Yesterday's event, Brick By Brick, had legos as simple as the duplos all the way up to as advanced as computer programed robots. Starting on the second floor of the Decker Half Moone Cruise Terminal, you walked through displays of intricate lego builds towards tables marked easy, medium, hard, and advanced. Upstairs there was also a sensory room for any kids with alternative needs. Heading downstairs (where Charles Dickens' Christmas Towne is held) toward the free play area, the areas were separated by age and size of legos. They also had crafts and the big train display set up. 
Each family received a bingo sheet upon arrival which had spots for each station. Volunteers signed off as you visited or built different ships, and once a person had bingo they could trade in their card for a prize. The prize was actually a full size batman lego set. 
The event ran from 10-4 and was totally FREE. We got there right at ten and it was already super crowded. I can only imagine it got more so as the day went on. Even so, RT was able to play and make a craft, but be aware that if you attend next year, the crowds are large and it isn't quiet. For a free event, I was beyond impressed. It was organized, clean, and there was a good variety of things to do and space to go. They even had a cafe with food up and running. The security, volunteers, and medical personnel were easy to find and all around. We enjoyed our morning, and RT was so tired afterward that he couldn't make it through lunch! 

Little Houses: Botanical Gardens Favorite Places

If you've missed the first few of this series, we have been going into detail about some of our favorite places inside of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. I was so surprised to hear from people who had been there before that they didn't know about the Airplane Overlook or the Bike Nights. We have also talked so far about the Butterfly House and the Sand Pit, and today I'm focusing on the little houses and tree area inside of the WOW garden. 

Everyone loves the WOW garden in the summertime for the splash pad, But there is lots to do in the cooler months too. This house has a little kitchen play area in it. The boys treated us to "leaf soup"- ahh, plant powered protein? The second house is a little library, full of books on all kinds of things. We even found one of our favorites- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. 
The third house is a tree house. It's got either a ramp or a net to get to the top and a slide to get down. Obviously climbing with a truck makes things more difficult, but trucks are life, so.... 

I know that I always say that we love the Botanical Gardens, and I hope that if you go, you'll check out all of these awesome places while you're there!

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