New Twist on 'Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work' Day

By Kerri Winick,

When I was young, I always looked forward to Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day. Whenever the April "holiday" rolled around, I literally begged my mother to bring me to the office. Her office was a television station, and I craved the fast-paced newsroom, packed with the adrenaline rush of deadlines and breaking stories.

Fast-forward more than 15 years. After working at several TV stations, I'm so thankful to have had the chance to sit among those typewriters (yes, typewriters!) and television sets for so many years. They truly helped me realize what I wanted to do…be a writer!

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Today, Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day (it's on April 28 th this year) isn't just taking place in the "real" world…it's taking place in the virtual world, too! A new generation of websites is letting children explore career opportunities with the click of a mouse. They focus on everything from fashion design to publishing to architecture. Not only are they a great option for those who can't take kiddos to the office, they're perfect for children who don't necessarily want to follow in mom's or dad's footsteps.

The sites also encourage creativity and self-expression. On, girls 5-12 years-old design their own threads…and then wear them! From tees and jeans to dresses and tanks, budding fashionistas pick the style and color of their choice. Then, they can bling it out with rhinestones, ruffles, ribbons and more. Even the label can be customized with their name. Within three weeks, their design is at the front door.

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"Kids spend so much more time learning online these days, and they are so much more comfortable with it. We have found, from speaking with our customers, that parents are much more open to having their children learn and explore through online tools," says Sarah McIlroy, CEO and Co-Founder of FashionPlaytes.

How can you get involved? McIlroy recommends pulling up a chair at the computer. You'll spend some quality time together and it will open up the lines of communication. Mother-daughter teams on FashionPlaytes talk about everything from clothing trends to the cost of different designs.

"Designing outfits with their daughters provides parents with a great intro to discuss both fashion design and other career options, share stories about careers they were interested in as a child, etc. The conversation topics are endless!" says McIlroy.

Here are some more web sites to check out with your children:

AUTHORS/ILLUSTRATORS: Tikatok is an online platform where parents and their children can write, illustrate, and publish original stories into professional-quality hardcover and paperback books.

ARCHITECTS: Architect Studio 3D lets young architects discover the exciting process of designing a home - hands-on. Starting as real architects do, with a client who has lifestyle preferences and "virtual" land that has its own environmental considerations, kids can use their imagination to design their own architectural solutions.

EDITORS & JOURNALISTS:My Pop Studio provides a creative play experience that lets kids become television, music, magazine and online media editors. For example, the magazine studio lets children design a magazine layout featuring themselves as celebrities, write an advice column, and even explore digital retouching.

MUSICIANS:The San Francisco Symphony website includes a component called "the composerizer." It lets kids make their own tunes by combining different measures of music.

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