LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the recent holiday season, scores of youngsters (and their parents!) tore away wrapping paper to find a computer or touch-screen electronic device waiting underneath the tree. If your family's festivities featured a new web-browsing gadget, be sure to give your child an extra gift by bookmarking the Molly Moccasins book series site, which offers a digital library of nearly 70 animated story adventures (complete with text highlighting and narration), as well as games and activities that emerging and new readers can enjoy throughout 2014 -- and beyond.
Parents -- especially those whose wallets have been hit hard by the holiday frenzy -- will love Molly Moccasins, too. Because the series' creators are passionate about keeping the spark of curiosity alive in as many children as possible, they have made the entire website free to use. More importantly, though, parents will love that the interactive, story-driven, and safe digital play space of Molly Moccasins teaches children to lead their own adventures, both on and off screen.
"All children are born with limitless curiosity, but, unfortunately, as many kids grow, that curiosity becomes dulled," says Victoria Ryan O'Toole, creator of the Molly Moccasins story, game, and activity book series (along with the accompanying advertising-free website, www.mollymoccasins.com). "Parents play a key role in helping their children learn to actively understand, shape, and delight in the world around them, instead of merely going through the motions necessary to make it through each busy day."
The urgency of this issue was underscored by a recent study, which puts American students behind many of their global peers in applying science, math, and reading skills to solving real-world problems. The Molly Moccasins series can directly help to address this imbalance, because its story themes help young readers explore the blended skills of inquiry and creative problem solving with the integrated subject matter approach of STEAM. (STEAM refers to an education that embraces the intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.)
However, according to O'Toole, simple curiosity (which is the cornerstone of the Molly Moccasins series) is perhaps our greatest tool in bridging the problem-solving gap. Not only does a healthy sense of curiosity foster the creation of innovative solutions, it also motivates children to become lifelong learners -- both of which will be crucial for them to survive (much less thrive) in the 21st century global economy. And books, O'Toole says, are the perfect way to help kids strengthen and flex their curiosity muscles.
"When many of us were children, story time was one of our favorite activities because books opened up whole new worlds," O'Toole points out. "The same thing is true for youngsters today, even though many of them are reading from screens instead of paper! Stories empower their imaginations, help them to broaden their dreams, allow their vocabularies to become richer, make their communication skills stronger, and instill in them a lifelong love of learning."
Enter engaging protagonist Molly, whose "magical" toe-tingling moccasins lead her toward problems and mysteries to solve. As this positive and imaginative character makes her way through backyards, museums, farms, libraries, forests, and more, Molly finds the answers to her questions and gleans a little wisdom along the way. Children around the world can now tag along in her moccasin-prints at www.mollymoccasins.com on their own or with parents, free of charge.
As we move into 2014, plug in to engaging your child's curiosity and help your young adventurer recapture the excitement of story time. As you read, play, think, imagine, and investigate together, you'll probably be surprised by how much fun you'll have in the process. As Molly herself says, "A curious mind is never bored!"
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