Yes, Virginia, there are some holiday events Check out the plans for Holidays on Main, the Old State House Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, The Little Italy Arkansas Heritage Society and Museum, Historic Washington State Park, Lights of the Ozarks, Camden's "North Pole Fantasy" ... and more. Garvan Gardens aglow Christmas lights are shining again at Garvan Woodland Gardens, but they're glowing this year in broad daylight. Students lagging in math, firm finds Overall, NWEA's fall assessments showed that, nationwide, elementary and middle school students have fallen behind in math, while most appear to be progressing at a normal pace in reading during the pandemic. Sign up for ADG Families updates Receive ADG Families updates directly to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter. 7-Day Menu Planner Incredibly, the family still wants to eat. Here’s a week's worth of menus and recipes. Fall Foliage Photo Contest Check out the gallery of photos readers submitted. Ghost town in the hills A few time- and weather-worn structures, foundations and walls are all that is left of Rush near the National Buffalo River in Marion County. ASK THE VET: ALS-like dog disease has new treatments Degenerative myelopathy is a progressively debilitating disease caused by deterioration of the spinal cord. READ TO ME: Scarlett O’Hara evicted for the 20th anniversary edition of ‘Winn-Dixie‘ The heartwarming novel “Because of Winn-Dixie” is about gentle people valued for their goodness despite past mistakes. It has been slightly revised for its 20th edition. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: State Capitol walking tour It's only a slight stretch to call the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock an outdoor sculpture garden. More and more Elf on the Shelf Beyond the Netflix specials, the Elf on the Shelf company’s expecting festive sales this Christmas, with more elf clothing options, an “enchanted” talking cookie plate, a second vanilla candy cane cookie cereal, an advent calendar with a Christmas train and "Merry Mini" figurines ... OPINION: 'The Croods: A New Age' "The Croods" (2013) was a listless movie, but in this PG-rated sequel, the cave clan wanders out into a bigger world of creatures that are missing from the fossil record, and their quest for survival shows more imagination. SAVE YOURSELF: Save, don't spend, during student-loan virus reprieve Federal Student Loan borrowers could misunderstand the extra cash piling up in their bank accounts since March. Don’t blow that money. MASTER CLASS: Age is for real, y'all A few years ago, I turned 40 and thought "it's just a number" because I really hadn't faced any significant physical challenges up to that point. Well, numbers do add up. READ TO ME: ‘This Is Your Time’ Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges urges young people to believe in America in this “letter of peace.” When big, young dogs develop a limp Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of front limb lameness in young dogs. Stay home, health officials urge Arkansans With almost 1,000 Arkansans so sick with covid-19 they’re in hospitals, health officials urge Arkansans to cancel holiday travel. Active listening can lessen tension, especially in covid lockdown Paraphrasing is one of the components of active listening, a helpful technique based on simple therapeutic practices that turn away wrath. Jumble for Kids Unscramble the letters to spell real words and use those words to solve the Jumble for Kids. Study the picture for a hint. You can color the picture, too. Junior Sliding Puzzle Slide the puzzle pieces around to reveal the image. Junior Memo Build your memory skills by uncovering the matching picture cards. Pass the new roles Over the years, my Thanksgiving role has expanded to wife, mother, daughter-in-law and the white American at a Mexican table. 7-Day Menu Planner Yes, Turkey Day requires a lot of planning, but what’s your family going to eat the rest of the week? REVIEW: “Sackboy’ is a delightful game, but it’s missing something "Sackboy: A Big Adventure" is a lustrous romp of carnival fantasy and rated E for Everybody. ASK THE VET: Withhold attention to keep dog down Don't make eye contact; don't touch him, and don't speak to him. Turn your back if that makes it easier to ignore him. Right Time Right Place: Class ring When Charles McLemore told Patricia Love he wasn't dating her friend, she didn’t believe him, even after he showed her he had his ring back. MASTER CLASS: A park full of rocks is a fitness find There is something primitive and workmanlike about exercising in the outdoors. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING More communities are stitching together their own Quilt Trails, giving tourists a reason to drive all over their counties. Math x music x dance = learning At Hall High and other schools in Little Rock, Arkadelphia, Camden, Clarendon, Danville, Greenbrier, Springdale and West Memphis, a program described as “like ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ on steroids” is being used to teach math. Safely grateful Experts say Americans underestimate the risk of private get-togethers. Homes are now a main site of coronavirus transmission. So how do we manage a healthy Thanksgiving? Warning: Holiday delivery delays ahead Unless we’re planning for a merry little New Year’s, we need to order holiday gifts and decorations pronto — because everybody else is. MASTER CLASS: Jumping Chin-Ups in the park Every time we hop over to the playground instead of staring at a screen, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for some deep breathing instead of a whole bag of cookies ... our readiness, physical and mental, improves. Right Time Right Place: Computers! A lot of things went wrong with Anastasia Gladysheva's computer back in 2004, but the guy who repeatedly repaired it was just right. How to take better pet photos with your phone Many recent phone models include all the hardware and software you need to take a great picture of your friend. SAVE YOURSELF: Set a plan for the season of giving I propose a few options that you can do today that are actually within your control. I want you to make a financial plan for holiday gift-giving. Daniel Tiger to the rescue Like most Americans — furry and otherwise — Daniel has never endured anything like 2020. This summer, he was devastated to learn he wouldn’t be going to the annual carnival. Fat cats and dogs can develop diabetes Diabetes is most often seen in older cats, particularly those that are overweight or male. Do-it-yourself filter uses a box fan to help clean air This easy home project can improve ventilation in closed rooms, for instance, classrooms in aging school buildings. READ TO ME: “School” invites middle-schoolers to see other people This wonderfully illustrated book is narrated by a friendly girl who simply notices other people at her school. No use crying over spilled milk Unfortunately, I was the one who gave her the milk that she spilled all over my laptop. Right Time Right Place Little Cindy Cameron was sad when she learned the cute spiky-haired boy who popped into her preschool class to say hi to his mom, her teacher, wasn’t going to be at recess. OPINION: Who we are changes where we are The name of the game for our family is warding off tedium. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: Find your Muse in Heber Springs The sign above the front door of Muse’s Country Store sets the tone for the jumble of merchandise inside: “Come share a memory!” Chance photo sighting ignites his nerve to woo her Drew Liles was passing through Little Rock on his way to camp at the Buffalo River when he saw a picture, tucked away in the stairwell of a little store, of a woman he had met a few years before. READ TO ME: A driven little girl, three horses, one fierce old lady Bonny is dedicated to bike racing and living out her parents dreams — until she meets her first horses. Arkansas-born mom releases 'Music Makes Me Happy' On "Music Makes Me Happy," we meet "Pete the Potato" and "Rosie the Hippo," get to "Dance Like a Snowflake," go on a "Jungle Safari" and sing a "Silly Word Song." Is it covid or just a cold? Here’s expert advice for parents who really can’t afford to quarantine every time their kids’ allergies make them sniffle. 'Over the Moon' brings Chinese myth to Netflix When a grief-stricken teen named Fei Fei builds a rocket to the moon, the curtain falls to reveal Chang'e, an unfathomably fabulous pop star. Series tracks how the pandemic is affecting Arkansas schools Two newsrooms join forces in reporting what is going on with covid-19 and Arkansas schools. Check out the podcast. OPINION | READ TO ME: There is such a thing as ‘Too Many Jacks’ The outrageous escapades of Jack make reading big fun for beginners. Tour your town alphabetically, with a toddler Inspired by a concept called location-based learning where you use a place to teach a child, I explore our city with my 3-year-old daughter by focusing on one letter a day and safely visiting a neighborhood starting with the letter. 'Catios' and cat tents let fuzzy pal live large If you want to let your indoor cat go outdoors sometimes, there are a few ways to offer him an independent but safe adventure. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: Lonoke County Museum A journey to a sunny view of the past is only a day trip away to the Lonoke County Museum, on U.S. 70 in Lonoke. MASTER CLASS: Slalom Jump in the park Here’s a family-friendly exercise idea for a chilly outdoor workout. OPINION: Strapping in to feel less confined Trapping my kids in the car for even a short trip used to make them go to sleep. Those were the days. The tag-along that lasts 'til death do they part Arleshia Blackmon was the tag-along little sister, and then Cedric Jones realized he wanted to tag along with her. Pandemic Pod could get you through the winter Teaming up with family or friends who follow the same covid precautions you do could solve a lot of problems; but experts advise choosing that quaranteam wisely. Stuffed peppers as jack-o'-lanterns Instead of merely filling up on candy, why not also make a miniature version of the candle-lit pumpkin for dinner? Arkansas teachers say they’re tired and stressed out "I think a teacher motto is, 'we can do anything for a year,'" said Holly Howard, chairwoman of the English department at Bentonville High School. Substitute teachers harder to find during pandemic The pandemic has made it harder to find substitute teachers. "Our teacher absences haven't increased, but we just don't have the subs to fill the spots," one assistant superintendent says. READ TO ME: Kids earn points as they save the planet from plastic This jaunty, heavily illustrated chapter book is full of positive projects to help kids lord it over younger siblings and, possibly, drive clueless parents nuts. (Kidding!) OPINION: What remains when we are gone As we passed the cemetery next to our city's oldest church, I called out, "Who wants to go see a cemetery?" "Sure," said the kids. "Sure," said the husband. Sweetener in some peanut butters can kill a dog Xylitol is very common and sometimes not listed on labels. It is found in sugar-free gums, chocolate candies, baked goods, vegan alternatives, vitamin-mineral supplements, over-the-counter and prescription medications, toothpaste, mouthwash, mints ... some peanut butters ... even some T-shirts and other clothing. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: Nature center brims with wonders Aptly located just a robust pebble's toss from the Arkansas River, Little Rock's fish-flavored visitor attraction is open again in the River Market District behind the Museum of Discovery. Parents make desks for kids learning at home These parents have shared simple and inexpensive ideas for giving children a place to do their schoolwork. Mom was determined to fix them up Janet Akins tried for three months to strike up a romance between a guy she met through her bowling league and her daughter, Julie. 'Awe walk' can do wonders for your health and well-being Consciously watching for small wonders during an otherwise ordinary walk could amplify the mental health benefits of the stroll, according to a new psychological study. Don’t ignore a dog's aggression at the vet’s office Most dogs that react aggressively at the animal hospital are actually anxious or frightened. Just having lots of pets doesn't mean neighbor’s a hoarder You could have a lot of cats and not be a hoarder, but it’s common to see caregivers overwhelmed and unable or unwilling to give pets proper care. And that’s a problem. Tiny Chef almost loses his cute little mind Our 8-inch-tall stop-motion pal Tiny Chef wants to make his first-day-of-fall veggie stew because it is the first day of fall. But he can't find his recipe book. OPINION: Self-care in the time of covid This personal opinion column written by a mama of a certain age will appear in the Style section every Monday. Arkansas parents pool their resources to form education pods Microschools come in many forms. Some groups hire private tutors, babysitters or licensed teachers to supervise learning. Others rely on parents and grandparents. 71 years of marriage and the toaster's still hot For their wedding 71 years ago, Frank and Gloria Witt were given a toaster — a 1949 Sunbeam T-20 model, a two-slicer so shiny you can see yourself in it. They use it every day. Right Time Right Place Little Cindy Cameron was sad when she learned the cute spiky-haired boy who popped into her preschool class to say hi to his mom, her teacher, wasn’t going to be at recess. Remote learning has schools struggling to account for kids Thousands of Arkansas students never finished the spring semester online after the pandemic forced schools to close, and although parents and educators agree schooling has improved, many who have logged on this fall are struggling and some never re-engaged. Books to help kids cope in the age of coronavirus Children's authors and illustrators have found time under quarantine to produce stories about not just wearing masks but also social distancing, managing germs and simply understanding the scope of a pandemic. Kids scam Zoom class Say you're a high school student in class online when the teacher calls on you. You don't know the answer and don't want to look dumb. What do you do? Ballerina writes a kids book about her childhood in dance Misty Copeland has long told the story of "Miss Bradley," the teacher who recognized her talent. Now "Miss Bradley" is a key character in "Bunheads." Millennial Money: Debt settlement can do more harm than good Before you hit a moment of crisis decision-making, understand how to think through debt relief options. READ TO ME: When midnight strikes, they creep out of the deep A ludicrous attempt to blame someone else for writing on the walls inspires this delightfully spooky children's story. Doctors suggest ways to keep Halloween spooky — but healthy Is it safe to take candy from strangers during a pandemic? Is it safe to hand out candy? Is it safe to go to a Halloween party — indoors? Enola Holmes is on the case A family-friendly mystery about Sherlock Holmes’ little sister? Count us in. The game’s a-foot! Pinnacle Mountain Monument Trail opens 14 miles of off-road bicycling excitement The new Monument Trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park have paths for many levels of mountain biking skill, including the eager young athletes in NICA. Pros and cons of springing for ‘Madden 21’ The simulation of live football has never felt or looked better than in "Madden NFL 21," but it was already pretty wonderful in "Madden 19" and "20.” Destination weddings hindered in 2020 In a normal year, up to 25% of couples getting married choose a destination wedding, and for U.S. couples, around 40% of destination weddings take place internationally. 2020, obviously, is not a normal year. Arkansas Sightseeing The scenic stretch of highway known as The Pig Trail is highly photogenic in the fall. Kid craft: Lure birds with a snack in a milk carton feeder Here's how to create a carton bird feeder filled with a chirp-worthy snack. Pandemic has fewer kids getting meals at school In a state where many children didn't get enough to eat before the pandemic, changes to kindergarten-through-12th-grade education threaten to widen the hunger divide. Mystery remains why covid-19 only rarely kills kids and teens As the U.S. covid-19 death toll moves beyond 200,000, only about 100 children and teens have died of the disease, and it is not yet known why. Kids like the challenge of simple Alternating Stair Climb This week's exercise is easy to learn and appropriate for nearly any fitness level. One couple’s pandemic project: Bagging the county seats When things started going sideways in the pandemic, people took up baking, sewing and made masks or became gardeners or started a fitness routine. Todd Norris' pandemic project involved a quest. We like to rhyme most of the time Rhyming teaches kids how language works. It helps them learn the rhythms, sounds and flow of words. GAME ON: Protect allies and find killers in whodunit game ‘Among Us’ This video game is based on party games like Mafia. READ TO ME: There’s more to ‘Invisible Alphabet’ than meets the eye This clever ABC book won’t put Mom or Dad to sleep. For teens and older, ‘Spiritfarer’ lets you befriend and serve stranded souls In this sensitive video game, you are a girl who becomes a ferrymaster for the deceased in a fantastical world, guiding spirits to the afterlife. Stung by a bee, this child developed business acumen Fifteen-year-old Mikaila Ulmer's memoir tells middle-schoolers how and why she became the CEO of a bigtime beverage business and founder of a charitable foundation. Pediatricians say flu shots are especially necessary this year Here’s expert advice on when to get kids their flu shots. Internet access is a test for the whole state education system Online education relies on three primary technologies: the home device, its internet connection, and the program that communicates from student to teacher and vice versa. Arkansas school districts report deficits in all three areas. ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: Louisiana Purchase State Park Looking for a weekend drive to give the kids a sense of state history? This swampy park could be just the ticket. What to do when ‘Sadness Is at Your Door’ A calm, quiet book about sadness offers comfort for adults and a useful lesson in self-care for kids. 'Fall Guys' is a wacky, silly game with loads of fun Games such as "Fortnite" and "PUBG" might have popularized the battle royale genre, but it has been perfected by the beautifully silly "Fall Guys: The Ultimate Knockout." Science for kids: Fireflies delight us with 'living lights' A chemical reaction gives fireflies their magical glow. People still need boundaries, even when we’re all stuck inside together When pandemic-related shutdowns started, people rushed to rescue loved ones. Five months later, relationships are fraying. Cooped-up couples fighting about politics For many couples, fighting about politics has become more common. How to tell your kids what the pandemic has done to family finances Parents can try to hide fears about having enough money for rent and food, but children’s eyes and ears are sharp. How to protect children’s eyes during remote learning More time in front of screens — for school or for fun and connection — can result in eye strain, fatigue and headaches. Experts offer simple ways for parents to protect children's eyes. Opinion/Review: Mulan While many have expressed disgust at Disney Plus charging subscribers an additional $29.99 to watch "Mulan," the film itself is worthy of its heroic protagonist. REVIEW: Energetic 'Battletoads' update has some warts "Battletoads" (2020) looks like a playable cartoon in the style of "Ren and Stimpy" or the "Fairly OddParents." Kids can make these yummy treats Banana Pretzel Pops can be put together in a few minutes with just a handful of ingredients. The best part? The stick is edible, too! MASTER CLASS: That outdoor workout is just a staircase away Arkansas in October is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and one that presents an incredible opportunity for outdoor exercise. MASTER CLASS: Finding family togetherness in active outdoor play As the father of a 7-year-old, I am beginning to understand how regular exercise enhances family time. MASTER CLASS: Take a progressive approach to all-around self-improvement Young father Matt Parrott says exercise isn’t the only self-improvement project that benefits from a progressive approach. MASTER CLASS: Take the stairs to a higher level of fitness Fitness opportunities can be found almost anywhere. MASTER CLASS: Move past this summer’s lethargy with a 12-week plan No one would blame a person for letting go of health and fitness goals in 2020, given the circumstances. But fall is a perfect opportunity to recommit to your fitness for the next 12 weeks. MASTER CLASS: Single Leg Superman is a super tough balance-builder for sitters For weeks 5-8 of your 12-week "goodbye, foul summer" get-in-shape program, this exercise challenges the core and back while working the shoulders. MASTER CLASS: Customizing your workout assures best results Although there may have been a time when any exercise program was good enough for modest goal achievement, today's exercisers have higher standards. MASTER CLASS: Good Morning Squat Combo gets fibers firing Most people understand that a proper warmup can make or break an exercise session. Most people know there's more to it than 5 minutes on a cardio machine. And yet, most people don’t do a proper warmup. Kids’ decor doesn’t have to be childish or garish Decorating a child's room? Here are some tips for creating a space that will celebrate your child, grow with them and reflect the style you've established in the rest of your home. GAME ON: Turn-based 'Battle Brothers' is rewardingly difficult Leading a mercenary crew is a risky job, but for the few who survive, glory and honor await. Also, the guys are weird little chessmen-like dudes. Birthdays are still a chance to shower a child with love I grew up in a family that observed birthdays with only a cake. No cards. No presents. No parties. Just “Happy birthday, pass me a hunk of that cake.” That cake mattered. How to gather together socially and safely Although sitting at home with a bottle of sanitizer is safer, it is possible to entertain. To avoid sharing more than your hospitality, here are expert tips for hosting a safer get-together: Movies for discriminating future adults Here's a list of kid-friendly films that parents also can enjoy if they're coerced into sitting on the couch with their teeming offspring. Early Access version of 'Ooblets' game is cute but needs work Your main goal in "Ooblets" is to catch Ooblets — tiny monsters that roam the world in cute herds. Easy, fancy, fruit-based ice pops Juice or iced tea, fresh or frozen fruit are all you need. But you could add milk, chocolate or even the last of the bourbon. Non-alcoholic ice pops are a good kiddie cooking project, too. Drift gently along the high seas with your ‘Raft,’ your pals — and sharks Here to trigger everyone's thalassophobia, or fear of the sea, is the open-water survival and crafting video game "Raft." A paleontologist’s guide to your dinosaur-obsessed kid A lot of kids fall in love with dinosaurs, and the romance goes extinct somewhere in adolescence. It doesn't have to. It could evolve. Smart financial moves when you have more time than money Creating a family budget is about finding money to spend on things you care about and cutting ruthlessly on things you don't. READ TO ME: A glowing tale for middle-schoolers Everything a landmark middle-school story can be — inspired, inspiring, humorous — "A Wish in the Dark" is a story that whispers, "You are important. Everyone is important." READ TO ME: This animal doctor never sleeps Here’s a snappy, amusing and informative picture book about animals for ages 4 to 8. READ TO ME: Grumpy bear doesn’t enjoy rain — or sun This picture book presents a chance to get kids thinking about the power of attitude and the wisdom of paying attention to other people. Some colleges penalize current students who skip a year Taking a year off after you've been enrolled in college is not “a gap year.” It's a “stopout.” Parents are drinking more during the pandemic Alcohol sales surged across the country between February and April, and people who didn't formerly drink to excess reported drinking more. OPINION: Girls on the Run inspires joy, health, confidence Jessica Wurst, Girls on The Run of Northwest Arkansas event planner, talks about her organization. How pediatricians are talking to their kids about covid-19 How will children make sense of the times we are living through? How can parents help them form — and understand — the narrative, even when they themselves feel worried, overwhelmed and unsure? ARKANSAS SIGHTSEEING: 'Benton Mural' shows early history of Saline County The earliest Europeans known to have set foot in present-day Arkansas are depicted in downtown Benton's huge outdoor mural. GAME ON: Nostalgia can't carry 'Might & Magic: Chess Royale' This game is easy to pick up and play, but it doesn't take too long to start noticing some serious flaws. The first is microtransactions. READ TO ME: Entomologists rallied to defend The Bug Girl from the anti-bug bullies in first grade This happens to be a true story about a little girl whose passion for insects made her famous — for being a little girl with a passion for insects. And who was bullied. Is blowing out the candles on cake hazardous? Visualize a gathering of loved ones, hovering shoulder-to-shoulder, cheering as someone forcibly exhales a blast of aerosolized germs across the surface of a communal dessert. “Townscaper”: Pretty villages, cities, castles pop-pop-pop into existence Not so much a video game as a digital toy, “Townscaper” lets you create fanciful floating buildings, from sheds to villas and whole villages. Dogs are not safe in the bed of a pickup truck The safest way for a dog to ride in a pickup is buckled into a seatbelt harness in the cab. Take a knee to lift this shoulder exercise into a different realm The cool part about this exercise is that the half-kneeling position will feel really different, a little unstable at first. But over time you master that feeling. Spooky snacks Spider eggs, jack-o’-lantern quesadillas, witchy potato fingers, toothy apple bites, mummy hot dogs ... Aeegh! Homemade Halloween Here are ideas for crafts, games, treats and pumpkin carols to keep the big bummer that is this whole pandemic away from your house. Halloween happenings Listed here is a sampling of Halloween activities, and while we've tried to gather them all into one place, this list is by no means comprehensive. From glue to boo: How to make glowing slime creatures Give your home a spooky vibe this Halloween season by creating glow-in-the-dark slime creatures. — with very little help from adults. Baby names must not be too weird, says world Around the world, parents have plenty of freedom in naming their kids, but lots of limits do exist. OPINION: I’m ready for this election to be over So, so ready for this to be over. READ TO ME: It's amazing what you can do with a jar These 40 projects use Mason jars as beakers and cylinders, but also as planters, terrariums, prisms, composters, birdfeeders and vacuum chambers. LR and partners continue grab-and-go meals program The grab-and-go meal program that has been feeding children and some elderly people continues. An interactive map of meal site locations at littlerock.gov/covid19 includes sites outside the city in Pulaski County. Pokémon Go, Pokémon stay: Popular mobile game adapts to the pandemic When gatherings could prove disastrously hazardous to public health, and the act of wandering your city is discouraged, how does a game based on those mechanics survive? It evolves. Kids in psychiatric facility seek pen pals to lift spirits Methodist Family Health is looking for pen and prayer pals to lift the spirits of children and teenagers who are cooped up at the facility during the covid-19 pandemic. Freedom from fear As FDR suggested, we should fear the power of fear itself. Here, professionals suggest steps parents and kids can take to build an empowering sense of security. Kids who did: Jane Goodall, 86, still fighting for a better world Jane Goodall was a 10-year-old with a dream. History lessons await those who travel the Arkansas Civil Rights Trail Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, closed for three months due to covid-19, is a riveting stop among the three dozen locations on the city's Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail. You could be pandemic pen pals with a goat in Pennsylvania Sanctuaries will also read letters from children to Ronnie the steer, Chester the steer and Rosie the chick. Family karaoke night creates blast-from-the-past happiness Some families do crafts and take bike rides. We bring out the amp and microphone and for a few hours, we croon our multiple cares away. Cool science for kids: Beetles that blast foes with boiling-hot chemicals With 1.7 million known species of insects to consider, the bombardier beetle might not be the world's most interesting insect. But it is very interesting. READ TO ME: This little mess-making cat is actually too cute Live in a house with a cat, a child and a member of the prey species routinely eaten by cats and you do not want a book that pretends there's no harm in a sweet little cat. READ TO ME: Time to celebrate National Regular Average Ordinary Day A boy learns the value of having nothing special to do in this energetic picture book. Mosaic Templars Center asks Black Arkansans to share their pandemic experiences Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock is asking Black Arkansans to contribute to "COVID in Black," a history project documenting how the pandemic affects their daily life. Healthy dogs can have dry, warm noses Veterinarian Lee Pickett explains why, often, a healthy dog's nose isn’t cold and wet. Arkansas guidelines for nursing home visits Some residential care facilities will reopen to visitors July 1. No visitors are allowed at places where a worker has tested positive in the past 28 days. What the data shows about youth suicide Increased suicides among young people have spurred stronger prevention efforts throughout the state, including educating Arkansans to recognize problems and working to remove stigmas surrounding mental health. Arkansas ranks 5th in children’s gun-death rate The newspaper begins a series looking at what the data show about unnatural deaths among children in the state. Granny’s games are blasts from the past Jacks, marbles, Annie-Annie-Over and Lemonade kept future grandparents hopping. Bring out your marbles, Grandpa Grandparents could teach the children of the pandemic a thing or two about having fun when you all your extracurricular activities are unavailable. 10 questions to ask your grandparents If you are lucky enough to have living grandparents — or great-aunts and -uncles, elderly parents, even elderly friends — you have exclusive access to living history. Minecraft’s new spinoff is a fun dungeon crawler An official spinoff of "Minecraft," the world's best-selling video game (with more than 200 million copies sold and 120 million active players), "Minecraft Dungeons" is already starting to top best-seller charts. Not a lot of schooling got done during the 1918 flu pandemic If your school closed because of the novel coronavirus, you have something in common with kids growing up 100 years ago. READ TO ME: Antiracist Baby is a best-seller This board book is marketed as being right for adults "who may feel hesitant or unprepared to have conversations about race and racism." Squint and you might see a silver lining behind having less cash If you're having to scale back on discretionary spending — whether that's shopping, travel or something else entirely — here's how to give up that financial habit without feeling deprived. Cardstacker shares tips for building towering stacks of cards Bryan Berg began stacking cards when he was about 8 years old. Today he holds the Guinness World Record for the largest playing card structure and the tallest house of cards. Teaching teens to drive poses a challenge during the pandemic Teenagers are still eager to hit the road, and it’s still possible to teach them to drive. Arkansas officials: Stay up to date on vaccinations Child vaccination rates have dropped since covid-19 tightened its grip on Arkansas two months ago, prompting concerns of outbreaks of some preventable diseases. MASTER CLASS: Ramp up your exertions Matt Parrott offers strategies for finishing a 12-week conditioning program on a high note. MASTER CLASS: How to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness Delayed onset muscle soreness is the worst. Here are tips for avoiding it. MASTER CLASS: Experience gives us tools to resist time’s incremental larcenies After 30, adults begin to lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass every decade. This slow decline in musculature leads to weakness and reduced mobility over time. MASTER CLASS: Quadruped Raise works for almost all fitness levels This exercise could be a fun challenge for parents and kids, because most parents won't have an edge. MASTER CLASS: Your stance changes the muscles taxed by squats Certified personal trainer Eric Godwin can do these two-stance squat raises, and so can Pinky the clay guy. Garage Sale Race is a fun way to start making that home gym You can add a home gym to the garage and still have room for cars. But first, someone has to clean the garage. MASTER CLASS: Take it outside for more peace per workout Lifting heavy stuff will always be cool. Especially if you do it in the woods. Playing in the sprinklers makes a cool workout The first step toward family-friendly fitness time is finding something that everyone can do. A girl, her dad, a fishing pole and Porch Dips Matt Parrott came up with this arm-strengthening idea while talking about fishing with his daughter on their porch. MASTER CLASS: Feel less alone, work out more often There are ways to bring social engagement into a socially distanced workout. MASTER CLASS: Play like you did when you were a kid This week's activity not only provides the gift of exercise, but it is also a great way to interact with the family. MASTER CLASS: It's like your driveway was built for this workout It's not hard to transform a driveway from a utilitarian necessity to an exercise playground. Treat your dog to a race, and you win a workout The Treat Race combines two things most dogs love, snacking and being outdoors. Kids run faster when they think about ninjas Fitness guru Matt Parrott offers another backyard workout idea to burn off children’s excess energy. Box Hop Race gets kids exercising (parents too) Here’s a present for parents who might be running out of at-home workout ideas, a routine that's perfect for a parent and child. Older kids will put a parent through a real workout Challenge your parent or older sib to a front yard ball race. Want to keep kids active? Make it like playtime How do parents encourage young people to be more active without making activity another draining chore? Exercise scientists and coaches have suggestions. Tenting in the old backyard Our kids are going to have the weirdest memories of this time, and, ideally, some of them will be beautiful. Or at least comedic. This is where backyard camping comes in. Party out front! Ideas for joyful birthday celebrations With a little creativity, parties in isolation might be the ones kids remember as the best they ever had. Here are a few ideas. Online extracurriculars keep kids baking, dancing and learning Instead of chauffeuring kids to and from activities, parents need only power up the computer or tablet and log in. Cooped-up crafts! Fun projects can keep kids entertained with their own creativity Children who can’t leave the yard soon decide to be happy. Art projects can help. Not just any art projects will do, however. Soapy math adds some STEAM to playtime Here are simple and fun experiments involving math and soap — with helpful videos. Soapy videos about washing hands Here are videos about the importance of using soap to wash our hands. Kids can have fun with these brainy home crafts and science projects Here are some STEAM-related projects that kids won't immediately recognize as "educational." Make a home for teeny succulents In this project suitable for children in kindergarten and older, a glass jelly jar is upcycled into a quiet bit of home decor. One, two, make your own kazoo Making your own kazoo is as easy as one, two, three. Grow your own salt Making a small salt farm and harvesting the salt crystals is an easy science project for elementary school kids. Forks and spoons that say 'clunk' can also ring like chimes These simple but surprising activities can start young scientists thinking about how sound travels. These apps let you make comics even if you aren't an artist Drawing comics can entice children into creative writing. Here's a guide to apps for making digital comics on a "screen" or a plain old piece of paper. Help Mom manage her to-do list with a handy organizer Mother’s Day is Sunday! A handmade, custom clipboard would help Mom manage her ever-changing to-do list. Cats cannot live on tuna alone Tuna is too low in vitamins E, K and the B vitamins that cats require in large amounts. Tuna is low in calcium, too. ASK THE VET: Munching mushrooms in the yard could kill your dog Animal poison control specialists are receiving twice as many calls about mushroom poisoning this year as last. ASK THE VET: Protect pet ferrets from covid-19 Ferrets can catch the virus from their owners, and develop cough and fever. There have been no reports of people catching the virus from ferrets. ASK THE VET: Animal eye doctors can treat cataracts Cataracts in pets can have several causes but often are treatable, like human cataracts are. It’s kind to prepare dogs for their post-pandemic lifestyle Owners can do several things now to lessen the stress dogs will undergo when they return to their regular office. ASK THE VET: Medications can mess with a dog’s sniffer In humans, more than 70 drugs affect the sense of smell. So, it shouldn't be surprising that some medications can reduce scenting ability in dogs. ASK THE VET: Let the cats have their litter box Toilet training a cat is not a good idea. ASK THE VET: Indoor cats need rabies vaccination The cat is the domestic animal that most often tests positive for rabies in the U.S.; the bat is the most commonly infected wildlife species, and even indoor cats meet up with bats. Cat-safe plants for indoor decor Veterinarians recommend houseplants that won’t make cats sick. ASK THE VET: Cats drool, but sometimes drooling is a symptom Many cats drool while purring, and some cats drool when they're stressed. Drooling can be a sign of serious health trouble. ASK THE VET: Even indoor cats need protection from heartworms Mosquitoes can slip indoors, and so even indoor cats need protection from mosquito-borne diseases. ASK THE VET: Lepto lurks in innocent looking puddles Is it OK to let a dog drink from puddles? Short answer: no. Dogs do not understand scolding Yelling at a dog after he's raided the trash only confuses him — he has no idea why this crazy human is shouting at him — and that makes him fear you. ASK THE VET: Fireworks and storms terrify some dogs Here are some ideas for helping a dog endure the panic caused by storms and fireworks. VIDEO: Cats eat grass because they like it; but some grass harms cats As carnivores, cats eat herbivores like mice and voles. Since these herbivores eat grass, the free-roaming cat ingests some vegetables when he eats his prey. Advice for covid-positive pet owners Should a pet owner who tests positive for the novel coronavirus have family pets tested too? ASK THE VET: Distract and redirect a dog that marks furniture The most common negative behavior exhibited by unneutered — what veterinarians call "intact" — dogs is marking. ASK THE VET: Don't allow dogs to swim in green water A pond or creek that suddenly turns green could harbor bacteria deadly to dogs. ASK THE VET: Cats’ compulsive disorder is treatable Like humans with OCD, cats can develop "compulsive disorder," or CD. The word "obsessive" isn’t used because it refers to thought patterns we can't objectively evaluate in cats. ASK THE VET: Second-hand smoke sickens cats Is a veterinarian who advises a cat's owner to stop smoking overstepping his expertise? ASK THE VET: Bread dough is a no-no for the doggo Is raw bread dough safe for dogs? The short answer? No. The long answer? Really not. ASK THE VET: Leave baby bunnies in the nest Would wild baby bunnies that appear to be abandoned make good family pets? ASK THE VET: What to do when the puppy gets skunked Commercial de-skunking products are safe for puppies, or you could try these home remedies. “Mira Does Her Part’ Three mothers who met while their kids attended a Little Rock elementary school wrote this book to answer children’s questions and inspire them during the pandemic. This free digital book answers kids’ questions about covid-19 A new, free, digital picture book will help adults struggling to answer children’s repeated questions about why the world has turned upside down. READ TO ME: Teddy bears go through a lot in this violent, dark fantasy The best middle-school books can move adults as readily as they will affect a child. This is not one of those books. The day all the street signs quit work In this charming picture book, street signs get tired of being taken for granted. Mermaids of the landlocked sort collide in this book In this graceful new picture book with chapters, an independent little girl befriends a rude old woman staying at the Mermaid Hotel. READ TO ME: Brick by brick, this father builds a city With collage illustrations and collage-like prose in English and Spanish, this is a portrait of an immigrant boy's love for his hardworking father. READ TO ME: ‘The Stray’ is a keeper A family out for a stroll happens across a lost little lifeform in a wrecked flying saucer. He or it has jagged teeth and wiry whiskers and eyeballs on eye stalks, but also a curly tail and four dog-like legs. READ TO ME: Reassurance for kids who live in storm country This children’s picture book delivers reassurance, and even though the scenery presents an ocean town, it's appropriate for children who live in landlocked, storm-thrashed places like Arkansas. Yawns are coming, and they are cute In this new picture book, the Yawns catch the kids, the kids don't catch the yawns. READ TO ME: A picture book for kids curious about Mars This is not a bedtime story, at least not the first time you share it with a child. It's brainy. It stimulates thought. Chemist's book has 25 kid-friendly science projects Designed for for children ages 8 to 12, the experiments rely on common products including dish soap and baking soda, with a dash of glitter thrown into the “puffy slime” formula. READ TO ME: Now more than ever, these animals need to apologize In this unexpectedly timely book, little animals say mean, mean things that do not represent their true feelings for each other. A book for Momma What to give the mother who has had everything already? How about a book about her life and family history? Clever Hans amazed the world just by being himself ... a horse This lively picture book about a horse that seemed to be a genius will worry and then please young scientists while also satisfying kids who want to believe in a talking horse. Kinder, gentler billy goats dare to cross the bridge These billy goats are not so Gruff that they can't make friends with a hungry troll. Mom of 8 named Mother of the Year Naomi Meeks, adoptive mother to eight children ... all of whom are under 10 years old ... has been busy during the pandemic. Arkansas moms’ advice: Be gentle, be patient In honor of Mother's Day, we checked in with some Northwest Arkansas-area moms to find out how life during a pandemic is going for them. Eat to conceive? Diet’s a big player in early pregnancy In the Nurses' Health Study II, researchers found that nearly half the cases of infertility associated with ovulation disorders could be traced to poor diets. Butler Center asks Arkansans to share their covid-19 stories and photos The CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies is collecting personal stories and images that show how Arkansans are spending their days during the covid-19 pandemic. UAMS updates postpartum policy Women who give birth at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences can now each have one visitor stay on the postpartum unit for two days, provided the visitor does not leave the hospital. What to do when you can’t pay your bills If you're in a situation where you can't pay all your bills, or likely to be there soon, you might have some options to limit the damage to your finances. Girl Scout uniform gets an update A vest designed for the modern Girl Scout must have pockets, and those pockets must be large enough to fit the largest model of the iPhone. New PBS series features superhero kid with autism The PBS Kids' animated series Hero Elementary, which premiered Monday on AETN, is set inside a grade school where a diverse group of four superhero students is learning to master their special powers. REVIEW: Scoob! For all of its flaws, it's obvious the PG-rated Scoob! was made with love. Home Movies Capsule reviews of recently available movies include several rated PG and PG-13 11-year-old brings koalas into focus on Netflix Izzy Bee stars in the new Netflix series "Izzy's Koala World," which follows the pre-teen Australian as she helps her veterinarian mom and cares for marsupials. Meet the new Muppets, more like the old Muppets "Muppets Now," a six-episode series, is Disney's attempt to re-endow the Muppets with their goofy, "The Muppet Show" manners and interests. Peacock begins streaming with paid or free subscriptions Disney+, Apple+ and HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others, including, as of Wednesday, Peacock. Here are highlights of what the newcomer is offering.