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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Democratic rising star Jason Kander on voting rights, Missouri politics and the 2020 presidential race.

While he may have lost his 2016 bid to unseat Missouri's Republican U.S. Senator, Roy Blunt, Democrat Jason Kander certainly hasn't disappeared from the political stage. Today, he tells us why he's turned his sights to expanding voting rights. Plus, Steve Kraske asks him why he's spending so much time in Iowa and New Hampshire lately.

Steven Depolo / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Keeping kids engaged, fed and healthy during summer months.

Most students are overjoyed when summer break rolls around. But what about the families who rely on school for access to meals, health care and mentorship? Today, we learned about what local school districts are doing to minimize the downsides of students being away from the classroom during the summer months.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Alissa Eckert / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Segment 1:  Recent local cases of the highly-contagious virus have some parents on edge.

With at least eight recently-reported cases of measles in Johnson County, Kansas, many parents want to do everything they can to ensure their little ones aren't at risk. Today, we got advice for limiting a child's exposure to the virus, even if they're not yet old enough to be vaccinated against it.

Segment 1: How do you learn how to read?

Reading is an important life skill that starts at an early age. But how do kids actually learn how to do it? There is research, of course, but implementing the findings is more complicated that you might think.

 

Segment 1: National School Walkout Day.

This morning, students around the country walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence and to demand action on mass shootings. We hear about what happened in KC and examine whether schools have a role in fostering student activism.

fdecomite / Flickr -- CC

The game of marbles harkens back to a different era.

And the National Museum of Toys/Miniatures in Kansas City is bringing it back — at least through next January.

“Playing for Keeps” features artifacts from the national marble tournaments that the Veterans of Foreign Wars organized for boys.

In addition to the exhibition, the museum is also hosting regular game nights for grown-ups and training sessions for anyone who wants to be a “mibster” (a master marble player).

Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton / U.S. Air Force

A particularly severe flu season is a good reason to refresh our series on children's health and development. In this latest installment, we get advice from metro medical experts for keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy through the winter.

fdecomite / Flickr -- CC

Can marbles come back? Inspired by an exhibit at the National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, we take a look at the history and appeal of the game.

Then: a conversation about I, Tonya, the movie that shines more of a light on Tonya Harding's story. We discuss class, gender, abuse and fame on the ice rink.

Guests:

Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Have a little last minute shopping to do for the young bookworms on your list? With a visit to your local bookstore, and these recommendations from the Johnson County Librarians, you'll be all set. Today, the librarians give us their reading pics for tots to teens and all the kids in-between. 

Guests: 

  • Debbie McCleod, retired librarian.
  • Elena McVicar, youth collections librarian.
  • Dennis Ross, youth services supervisor.

Books:

mliu92 / Flickr - CC

Tummy troubles, belly burdens, gastrointestinal grievances — call them what you will, but no one likes having a stomachache. That goes double for children. Today, Drs. Natasha Burgert and Craig Friesen help us figure out when a soothing word is just what's needed to settle your youngster's upset stomach, or when it might be a harbinger of something more severe.

Patrick Doheny / Flickr -- CC

At many metro parks, you'll see players from around the world playing cricket. We take a closer look at the growing culture of the sport in Kansas City.

Then: a recent article in Time Magazine stated that kids' sports is a $15 billion dollar industry. With the rise of club teams, is the way that kids play sports good for them? Or is it a sacrifice — not only for them, but for the whole family?

Guests:

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Kansas scores 15th among the 50 states for overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 “Kids Count” report.

The state’s relatively high overall ranking is driven by its No. 7 ranking for kids’ economic well-being, based on indicators like housing affordability and employment security for parents.

But the state fares less well in three other categories: health, in which the foundation ranks it 20th; education, 26th; and family and community,  23rd.

Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Summer break is here, and for students that means sunshine, fresh air and months away from school. For youths looking to keep the heat from melting their minds, there's nothing like a good book. Today, our panel of librarians have reading recommendations that are sure to divert young eyes from the television, and keep young brains active and engaged.

For preschool through 2nd grade

Andrew Turner / Flickr - CC

Parents want to know their kids are on track when it comes to hitting key developmental milestones. At what age should your child be able to perform certain tasks — feeding themselves, walking, or talking, for instance — and when is it time to worry? We talk with pediatric experts about gauging your little one's progress, and how to keep an eye out for potentially critical delays.

LitFestKC

Today, Jon Scieszka and Javaka Steptoe, heavy-hitters on the kid's lit scene, talk about promoting literacy and how the environment for fostering it has changed since they were little. They also reveal the creative processes behind some of their best-known works.

Andrew Goloida / Flickr - CC

Some symptoms of allergies are easily recognizable: itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion and coughing. But excessive ear infections and sore throats — even snoring — can be a harbinger of sensitivity in some kids to the environment. Even doctors can be challenged to suss out whether little ones have a run-of-the-mill cold or something more. Today, pediatricians offer guidance for dealing with kids suffering from allergies.

Nic McPhee / Flickr - CC

For parents who have a picky eater in the house, mealtime can feel like a battle. Today, we get tips from health professionals — and from listeners with front-line experience — for encouraging good routines in the kitchen and at the table. We'll also explore ways to get your kids interested and involved in preparing the food they eat.

She recently made history as the first transgender person to be featured on the cover of National Geographic. A chat with Avery Jackson and her mom.

Penguin Random House

Are you looking for a special book for the young people in your life? If so, our panel of Johnson County Librarians have their holiday gift recommendations ready for you — and just in time!

From the story of a boy who finally connects with his distant father through the unlikely language of music, to a tale of some ragtag kids, and a loyal greyhound, escaping 13th-century France, these titles are sure to get your children through what could otherwise be a long winter break. 

For preschool through 2nd grade

Late October is a time for matchups, showdowns and playoffs of all sports. We continue our series on childhood development with some tips for keeping your kid-athletes in the game by avoiding repetitive motion stress and burn-out. Also, Bill Brownlee introduces Berwanger in this week's Local Listen.

Ruth Hartnup/Flickr -- CC

Racism can be difficult to confront, particularly if it appears in a classic children’s book. We explore how diversity was represented in children's literature of the past, and how it's being redefined in the future.

Guests:

Health officials say about 30 children in Saline County have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Jason Tiller, director of the Saline County Health Department, says more cases could be discovered as public awareness of the health threat grows.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Mayor Sly James joined city leaders and educators from Missouri and Kansas Saturday at the Kauffman Foundation for the Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning to discuss the importance of after-school and summer programs for students.

James says once students are out of school for the summer, there’s not always a lot for them to do — which he says puts them at risk for participating in dangerous activities.

James said across Missouri and Kansas, only 14 percent of school-aged kids participate in after-school events.

You know the story; with a good education, hard work, and a little stick-to-itiveness, you can make a better life for yourself and your kids. It's quite literally the American dream. Political scientist and author Robert D. Putnam wonders, though, if that narrative is becoming less attainable.

Courtesy Historic Kansas City

“Adult" coloring books are hot right now. Some 12 million coloring books sold in 2015, up from just 1 million the year before, according to the Nielsen Bookscan.

Some claim coloring is therapeutic. It’s undeniably nostalgic, but no matter the reason, The First Kansas City Coloring Book resurfacing now is certainly an example of good timing.

Sole custody of children became the court's model when divorce became frequent in the 60s and 70s. In recent years, however, co-parenting has made headway as an alternative to the current model.

Guests:

  • Tiffany D. Taylor is a Kansas City, Kansas resident and author of the children’s book, 2 Halves Make Me Whole which tells her own co-parenting story through the lens of her young son
  • Dr. Ned Holstein is the founder and chairman of the National Parents Organization.

Every kid has temper tantrums and grumpy days, but what do you do when those meltdowns become commonplace? We look at how to deal with everyday childhood misbehavior— without losing your cool.

Guests:

Tammy Worth / Heartland Health Monitor

One of the first graders in Lori Williams’ classroom is clearly restless during the students’ morning community circle.

As the children discuss their weekly goals, how to be a good citizen and what integrity means, the young girl is distracted. She wriggles and shifts, pulls both arms through a shirt sleeve and eventually checks out, turning her back to the group and walking her hands up the chalkboard.

Kansas Action for Children

An annual report on child well-being in Kansas shows some positive trends, but they’re overshadowed by persistent problems.

Among the improvements cited in the 2015 Kansas Kids Count report: There are fewer uninsured children in Kansas.

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