How to Learn a New Skill – 5 Secrets to Mastering any Skill

Learning a new skill can be a rewarding and enriching experience, and there is always time to pick up something new. Whether you’re looking to improve your career prospects, pursue a hobby, or keep your brain active and engaged, there are plenty of ways to learn a new skill as an adult.

One of the best ways to learn a new skill is to find a class or workshop in your area. Many community centers, adult education programs, and private organizations offer courses and seminars on various subjects, from cooking and art to technology and finance. These classes are typically taught by experts in the field and provide a structured and supportive environment for learning.

Another option is to find an online course or tutorial. The internet is a wealth of resources for learning new skills, and there are countless websites, videos, and other materials available for free or for a fee. Many of these resources are self-paced, so you can learn at your own pace and schedule. Check out platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and _______. 

Consider finding a mentor or tutor if you prefer a more hands-on approach. This can be an incredibly effective way to learn a new skill if you want to improve in a specific area or have a particular goal in mind. A mentor or tutor can provide guidance and support as you work to master the skill, and they can offer personalized instruction and feedback.

Did you know that many libraries offer members a LinkedIn subscription that has classes you can take for free? They do! Plus you’ll receive a certificate to display on your LinkedIn profile.

No matter which method you choose, it’s essential to be patient and persistent when learning a new skill. It takes time and effort to master something new, and there will be times when you feel frustrated or discouraged. However, with practice and dedication, you can learn just about anything.

To help you stay motivated and focused as you learn a new skill, it’s a good idea to set specific goals for yourself. This might mean setting a deadline for when you want to master the skill, or it might involve breaking the skill down into smaller, more manageable goals. Whatever your goals may be, tracking your progress and celebrating your achievements along the way is important.

Finally, feel free to ask for help when you need it. Whether you’re learning a new skill through a class, online course, or mentor, resources are available to help you when you get stuck. Feel free to reach out and ask for guidance or assistance when you need it.

In conclusion, there are many ways to learn a new skill as an adult, whether you prefer a structured class, self-guided online learning, or one-on-one instruction. You can learn about anything with patience, persistence, and the right resources. So why not try something new today?

8 Tips for Managing Screen Time

I threw my hands up and said, “I need five minutes!” Whether you’ve got one, four, or more, sometimes us moms just need to eat, shower, get dressed, talk to our partner, and invest in ourselves all in five minutes. Screen time has saved my life more than once on a hectic Saturday when the snow has trapped everyone inside. 

Parenting is overwhelming and often very challenging, even if we never say that out loud. We’ve all been overstimulated and desperate for even a thirty-second breathing break. The funny thing about motherhood is that the moment that tablet or video game controller leaves our hand, the mom guilt punches us in the gut for needing a break. 

Our goal here at GameTruck is to support and equip families as they navigate raising kids in the digital age. Every family and child is unique, so what works for your child may be very different from someone else’s, and that’s ok. Screens are a relatively new thing that past generations didn’t have to worry about. We’re navigating a new area in this realm of parenting. What does success with screen time look like to you?

Still trying to figure out where to start? Whether your child is dancing away with their friends at their GameTruck party or watching Fortnite videos on Youtube, here are eight tips to help you succeed at managing screen time.

Be an example with screen time.

This hurts. While we desire the best for our kids in limiting screen time, one of the best ways to help them accomplish this is to model the behavior ourselves. For many adults separating from the phone is a struggle. By monitoring our device usage, we can emotionally relate to our kids and show that we are doing this as a family. 

Set limitations for everyone.

It’s easy for us to get overwhelmed and too tired to enforce a new family standard, but the consistent application is essential. If there are no phones at the table, ensure that this expectation applies to everyone.

Keep distractions at a minimum.

When the screens are put away, maximize the time. Keep electronic distractions at a minimum. Turn off the sound for notifications if you can. Creating healthy space from screens can promote relaxation and help you detach from stress. 

Not all “screen time” is the same. 

How our kids utilize technology and what they engage in are what matters. There’s a difference between video calling a friend or grandma and mindlessly scrolling on Youtube. While both can be good, the examples highlight two different ways we can use technology. Devices can help us research, create videos, draw, and more. Creation, connection, entertainment, and work are a few ways we use screens. This fact can help you develop a screen time policy that differentiates between digital activities that engage the brain positively and those that don’t. 

Connect with each other.

Screens can be a connection opportunity even if the content you’re consuming isn’t “educational.” You can intentionally get those little gears turning by asking transformative questions about things you’re watching or playing. 


Here are some example questions…

  • To what extent do you believe in second chances, and why?
  • How do you like to be comforted when you’re sad?
  • If you had to learn a new skill, what would it be? Why is that?
  • What’s a career you think you’d love?
  • What positive trait in the main character reminds you of someone? 
  • What do you look for in a good friend? 

These conversations are designed to help promote positive connections by getting to know someone on a deeper level. They can also assist in getting kids to start thinking critically about some more complicated topics. 

Be media critics when it comes to digital media.

Encourage your kids to digest the media you are consuming as a family. What makes this movie, video game, tv show, etc. good? Transformative questions can help your child think critically about the information presented, increasing awareness of messages and agendas.

Know when it’s “too much” screen time.

The “managing screen time” conversation is complex, often ignoring the uniqueness of each child and family. Everyone is different. Remember, each child is unique and may have different needs when it comes to technology. 


How do you know what the perfect time range is? Observation. Watch how your child acts online before, during, and after the device is removed. 

  • Is their behavior positive?
  • Is this portion of their life balanced with family time, academics, sleep, etc.?
  • Are they consuming good content?

Implement Common Sense Family Agreement.

During this transition, it can be helpful to create or use a family agreement. This lets everyone know the expectations and boundaries, eliminating any confusion. Common Sense Media offers a free family agreement for Younger and Older kids.

While personal screens may be a relatively new thing, it’s not something that we need to be afraid of. Implement all or some of these tips to help teach your kiddo how to engage with technology healthily! 

Video Game Books for Kids – 15 Books Gamers Love

Which is better: video games or books? The conversation presented to parents often pits these two hobbies against each other. They’re in an epic battle, dueling for your child’s attention, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You want to see your kid succeed and have a wonderful childhood. You don’t have to pick between the two. You can have both for your family. The secret is to make learning fun.

Now, most kids will only do additional homework mandated by their teacher, but as parents, we can make learning fun! You know your kid best. You know what they’re passionate about. You’ve spent hours trapped inside a Minecraft conversation, struggling to understand what’s even going on. In a desperate attempt for five minutes of silence, you hand over the video game controller only to wrestle with mom guilt later for not handing them a book.

Ditch that mom guilt! GameTruck has your back. Maybe you have an avid reader looking for a fun, new genre. Perhaps you have a kiddo struggling to engage with reading as books are “boring.” No matter which group you find yourself in, we’ve got a list of action-packed and educational books to hold you over till your next GameTruck party. Utilize this list to help immerse your child into the reading world.

A Hole New World

Age: 8-12

Summary: Minecraft-inspired YouTube star PopularMMOs brings everyone’s favorite characters to life in a thrilling adventure to save their friend, battle the undead, and escape the hole new world they’ve crashed into with one unfortunate misstep. Read more here. 

Ava in Codeland

Age: 4-8

Summary: A little girl must use her coding skills to save her video-game home in this adorable debut picture book. Ava thinks living in a video game is pretty cool. She and her cat, Pixels, spend their days riding breakfast rollercoasters and heading to underwater discos. And if something isn’t exactly perfect, Ava can reprogram the world to be just the way she likes it. But then the game’s villain, Max Hacksalot, comes along on his magical pirate unicorn and breaks all of Ava’s code. Read more here.

Glitch

Age: 8-12

Summary: Izzy has an incredible secret – she can enter the world of her new video game! She meets Rae, a robot who says Izzy is destined to save Dungeon City from the Big Boss. How is this possible?! And how can she fight for this virtual world when she’s got a whole real life to keep up with: her family (though she could do without her mom’s annoying cat), and her best friend, Eric. Things get even weirder when Izzy loses a life while inside the game, and she starts to worry about what might happen if she gets a Game Over for good. Meanwhile, Eric has been super upset with Izzy since she’s been keeping secrets and bailing on their plans. Can Izzy survive Dungeon City and save their friendship? Read more here.

The Boy Who Thought Outside the Box: The Story of Video Game Inventor Ralph Baer

Age: 5-10

Summary: Crazy about Wii, Nintendo, X-Box, and PlayStation? Meet the inventor whose work made them all possible: Ralph Baer, creator of the first home video game system! Today, the video game industry keeps growing, with ever more platforms available to fans. But how did the very first system come about? Read more here

Excellent Ernesto Cousins 3/Wrestlevania

Age: 10-14

Summary: In this next installment of the new play-your-way adventure tale, players encounter a haunted arcade on a deserted boardwalk. Upon entering, the reader finds themself absorbed into one of two video games in which the reader determines the course of action, ultimately controlling whether they live . . . or die! During a late-night stroll on your boring summer beach vacation, you discover a derelict video arcade managed by a ghostly attendant. Presented with a magical game token, you select one of two games you wish to play, the Excellent Ernesto Cousins 3 or Wrestlevania. Once you place the token in the slot, you have to make choices to advance through the games, and your decisions control whether you beat the game–or die. Both games feature unique challenges and life-like game play that will delight readers, and the most important choice in either game for those now trapped inside them, is the one that will keep them alive. Read more here.

The Hardy Boys: Trouble at the Arcade

Age: 6-9

Genre: Chapter Book

Summary: The first book in the chapter book refresh of the classic Hardy Boys series. In Trouble at the Arcade, nine-year-old Frank and eight-year-old Joe Hardy discover trouble lurking at the local arcade and decide they make pretty good detectives–just like their dad! Read more about it here!

AlphaBit

Age: 2-4

Genre: Baby 

Summary: Inspired by classic video games of the ‘80s and ‘90s, this clever board book sets out to level up the ABCs. Within these pages lies an alphabet adventure, rendered entirely in striking 8-bit artwork. Young gamers will love guiding their daring hero through the story to learn new words, discover hidden pictures, and find the missing treasure in an epic quest that will have kids and adults ready to press restart! Read more here!

Escape from a Video Game: The Secret of Phantom Island

Age: 8-12

Summary: Young gamers control the action in this interactive new series from the bestselling author of Trapped in a Video Game. With more than 30 endings and an unlockable bonus adventure, The Secret of Phantom Island promises hours of screen-free fun. Cooper Hawke and the Secret of Phantom Island is the greatest video game nobody has ever played. The treasure-hunting adventure was supposed to set a new standard for gaming. Then, just one month before its release date, it fell off the face of the earth. Now, for the first time, you get a chance to play the mysterious game–from the inside. As you outsmart enemies, solve puzzles, and explore the island’s hidden areas, you’ll discover that there’s more to this game than the world realized. Escape from a Video Game is an innovative pick-your-plot story that promises two adventures for the price of one! The main adventure builds critical thinking skills by rewarding young readers for solving puzzles and making sound choices with non-stop action and huge plot twists. Read more here.

Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior

Age: 7-12

Summary: Book 1 of the international best-selling 8-Bit Warrior series that introduces the journal of Runt, a young Minecraft villager who dares to dream of becoming a Minecraft warrior! The first volume of this best-selling unofficial Minecraft adventure series begins with Runt, our 12-year-old hero, about to choose his future vocation at the Minecraftia school. His options are less than thrilling: farmer, crafter, miner. But what this noob really wants is to be a warrior like his hero, Steve. So when he learns that the five best students in school that year will get the chance to start warrior training, it’s ON. Read more here.

Game Over, Super Rabbit Boy!

Age: 5-7

Summary: Pick a book. Grow a Reader!This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. 

Super Rabbit Boy is the strongest, bravest, fastest animal in all the land. . .and he’s also the star in a video game! Animal Town is in trouble! Meanie King Viking has created a dreaded robot army to spread No Fun across the land. On top of that, he has stolen the happiest and most fun animal ever, Singing Dog. There is only one person who can save the day – Super Rabbit Boy! Read more here.

Code It! Create It!: Ideas and Inspiration for Coding

Age: 8-12

Summary: Girls can design the perfect coding-powered project for themselves in this informative, interactive book published in partnership with the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code that guides readers through the brainstorming process, provides inspiration, and teaches basic coding concepts. Illustrations. Read more here.

Secret Coders

Age: 8-11

Summary: Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes! Read more here!

Slacker 

Age: 9-12

Summary: Cameron Boxer is very happy to spend his life avoiding homework, hanging out with his friends, and gaming for hours in his basement. It’s not too hard for him to get away with it . . . until he gets so caught up in one game that he almost lets his house burn down around him. Oops. It’s time for some serious damage control – so Cameron and his friends invent a fake school club that will make it seem like they’re doing good deeds instead of slacking off. The problem? Some kids think the club is real – and Cameron is stuck being president. Read more here

Escape the Underdark

Age: 8-12

Summary: You awaken in an underground cell, stripped of your armor and your sword. Your fellow prisoners inform you that you’re trapped in the Underdark, soon to be taken to the great drow city of Menzoberranzan and sold off as a slave. But word is that demons are stirring in the underworld’s depth. Perhaps you can use that to break free, fighter. Read more here.

Arcade World: Dino Trouble

Age: 5-8

Summary: Two best friends in a town taken over by video games have to outsmart digital dinosaurs in the first book in the Arcade World graphic novel chapter book series. Life in Normal used to be, well, pretty normal. Kids went to school. Kids did their homework and chores after school. And then kids met up at the local arcade, called Arcade World. Arcade World was the weirdest, coolest place. It had a collection of video games that no one had ever heard of, like Dino Trouble or Hot Dog Time. And no one held more high scores than Travis Better and Journey West. But one day, the video games in Arcade World came alive. Now, there’s a whole new normal in town–as Normal becomes a dangerous Arcade World. Read more here.

As you can see, it’s not video games versus books. Just like GameTruck parties, video game books are the cool new thing! Both avid and “books are boring” readers are bound to find a book for gamers like themselves, and don’t be afraid to pick one of these up for yourself too! Happy reading! 

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