Kimmel Education & Research Center

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

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Mechanical Turk


Great find!

Originally posted on Next Generation Extension:

This morning the Chronicle of Higher Education had an article that indicated that the fees that Amazon would be collecting for the use of Mechanical Turk would be going up.  Many (some) of you might be aware of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website.  The website is designed as an online option for paid piecework.

Over the past several years, social science researchers have been using Mechanical Turk as a mechanism to collect large amounts of data in a very short amount of time (hours) vs. traditional means of collecting data (mail surveys, emailed surveys like links to SurveyMonkey, phone interviews, face-to-face interviews etc.) which range from a few days to months of data collection.  While it’s become the norm for researchers, I have been considering for a couple of years it’s viability for micro-volunteering.

With the change in fees being imminent, I’m thinking if I’m going to try this out, I…

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How Children Learn About Money

Research has shown children learn the most about money from their parents. They watch parents spend or save money every day (observation). They also hear their parents talk about money either directly or indirectly (talking it over). And children learn about money by using it themselves (learning by doing).


Children see what their parents and other adults do with money and they start to understand how their parents feel about it. In turn, this influences how children feel about money. Do parents spend all their money before it’s earned? If so, this may make it hard to teach children about limited resources, planning for spending, and the value of saving. Or do parents save every cent they earn? This attitude may make it hard for children to see that money is a tool, not a goal in and of itself, and can make it difficult for children to spend even for necessities.

Talking It Over money3

It is important to discuss the family’s financial situation with children at a level appropriate for their age. Encourage children to participate in family financial discussions. Communicate about money one-on-one as the opportunity comes up. When talking about money and saving with children, encourage them to set goals that can realistically be reached in the near future. Saving money for a new camera is more realistic than saving for retirement at a young age since retirement is so far in the future. Remember kids live in the present. Also, be reassuring when talking to children about money. If they discover the house they live in is not completely paid for, they may worry. Assure them the family is able to make the monthly payments and they will not be out in the street by morning.

Learning by Doing

Ideas for actual activities to be done with children to help them learn about using money are described below. Choose activities that are appropriate for the child’s age and current interest:money4

  • Play store. Use play money and “price” a variety of items to help children practice using money.
  • Make three banks from jars, boxes or other containers. One bank would be for money to share, a second for cash to spend, and a third for savings.
  • Develop a simple savings plan for something they wish to buy. Create a storybook with younger children. Ask them to draw a picture of something they want to buy. On the next page ask them to draw the amount of money they think it will take to buy the item. On the third page have them draw how they are going to find the money they need (either earn it or save it). On the final page have them draw something that shows when they actually will be able to buy the item they want.

For more ideas on teaching your children about money visit

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Producer Interview: In the Orchard with Tyler Vock


Let’s learn from Nebraska Extension educator Dr. Connie Landis-Fisk as she interviews our neighbor at Kimmel Orchard!

Originally posted on Connie Fisk:

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler Vock, Orchard Manager at Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard north of Nebraska City, Nebraska to learn more about the operation and get his advice for beginning farmers considering fruit production.

Q1: How many acres is this farm?
A1: 98 total.

Q2: Which crops do you grow here?
A2: We grow apples, cherries, peaches, strawberries, vegetables, pears, plums, pumpkins, and sweet corn.

Q3: What is your main crop and why?
A3: Apples – it’s what we’re known for at Kimmel Orchard. About half of the total acres here are planted in apples.

Q4: You grow multiple apple varieties. Can you share which ones are your favorites?
A4: My favorites are Honeycrisp, Jonathan, and Pink Lady. The Honeycrisp are a sweet apple; they’re definitely the most popular apple that we grow here. I like the Jonathans because they’re tart. And I like the…

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The Importance of Play

Play is a crucial part of your child’s development it starts in infancy and should continue throughout his or her life.  When you play with your child it not only helps you to build a positive relationship, strengthen your bond with your child it has additional benefits as well.

Play provides multiple opportunities for children to learn social, communication, and academic skills while building confidence and positive self-esteem.  Through play you can help your child learn to solve problems, explore his or her creativity, and build vocabulary. Children learn important friendship skills like turn taking, sharing, and being empathetic.  Keep in mind that unstructured physically active play may lead to healthier children, especially when it replay1places or helps limit screen time.

Friendship Skills

Some essential benefits of play is that our children begin to learn social and communication skills sharing, turn taking, problem solving, etc. that will help them be more successful when playing with other children.  When children have these skills, it often makes it easier for them to make friends!

Giving suggestions, being helpful, giving complements, and understanding how and when to give an apology are all important friendship skills to model when playing with your child.

How to add more playtime with your child into your busy schedule:

  1. Brainstorm when you would have 10-15 minutes a day to play with your child, be certain to write it down in your calendar.
  2. Ask your child for suggestions as to how they would like to spend time playing with you and make a list of all the ways you can play together.
  3. If you have more than one child you might want to take this opportunity to spend some one-on-one playtime with each child. You can also plan family fun nights that include play or games.
  4. Remember that time spent in the car is another good time to play and to develop skills, you can play age appropriate games that incorporate looking for colors, shapes, letters, and words, etc.
  5. Don’t forget books ask your librarian to suggest books that teach friendship, and play skills!

Follow Your Child’s Leadplay

When playing with your child remember to follow your child’s lead that means to allow for play situations where the child is in control and the adult follows the child’s lead.  It is important that children be the decision-makers during play, choosing what and where to play, choosing roles for each player, and choosing how play will proceed. The following suggestions can better guide you in how to follow your child’s lead:

  1. Follow your child’s lead that means to wait, watch, and then join your child’s play.
  2. With very young children talk, talk, and talk about what your child is doing the adult imitates the child’s play and uses “talk” or “narration” to facilitate language development and this helps your child remain engaged.
  3. Encourage your child’s creativity and imaginative thinking. Display artwork or stories in a prominent place (the fridge) or put them in frames. Create an art corner with art supplies and paper for children to be creative.  Ask children to make up their own stories or create their own endings to familiar stories.
  4. Watch for your child’s cues. Most children aren’t very subtle when they want your attention like tugging at your pant leg or greeting you at the front door when you get home from work. When you plan a specific time to play with your child this may sometimes eliminate them demanding your time when they know that you have set aside time to play with them.
  5. Avoid power struggles remember you can be intentional about what you might like for your children to learn from playing however, keep it simple and allow your child to direct the play.
  6. Most important have fun together!


Lerner, Clair & Greenip, Sharon (2004). The Power of Play Learning Through Play from Birth to Three. Retrieved from

Anderson-McNamee, Jona (2010). The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Development. Retrieved from

Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, The Teaching Pyramid: Promoting Social Emotional Competence – Friendship and Play Skills Birth-Five


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