TIME curiosities

These Are the Cutest Pictures Ever Published by LIFE

Decades before YouTube gave us cat videos and giggling babies, LIFE already had the cute animal/adorable kid formula down pat with this photo essay featuring 30-inch horses and their toddler friends

The days preceding LIFE’s December 22, 1952, issue made for a slow news week. The editors could have chosen a photograph of U.S. steel mills or a harrowing image of violence in French Morocco for the cover, but—this being Christmas week—they went with the cutest photograph they could possibly find.

On the cover, three-year-old Cynthia West stands beside three-foot-tall Chauncey, a miniature horse imported from England by animal trainer Willis Parker. Parker’s Lilliput Ranch in California supplied animals for movies and television, and the four 90-pound horses he had transported from Sussex were sure to be a hit not only among producers, but also among neighborhood children like Cynthia.

As LIFE reported, “In California, where everything is usually bigger than ordinary, an animal trainer named Willis Parker decided to reverse the usual situation and establish a ranch where all the animals would be smaller than average.” Once he built corrals for the mini horses, Parker planned to get “miniature deer from East Africa, tiny dogs from Mexico and small ducks from England to provide the horses with suitable company.”

Miniature horses have historically served a purpose beyond cuteness: their small stature made them a good fit for coal mines in 19th century England and America after child labor was outlawed. The horses came to be prized as show animals and pets during the 20th century. While some work as service animals for people with disabilities, they have a few disadvantages. Unlike, say, dogs, the mini horses are livestock animals that fare better in outdoor stables.

Cedric, Chauncey and Ronnie had little Cynthia begging her mother to buy her a mini horse for Christmas. Parker’s animals, alas, were not for sale, dashing yet another girl’s dreams of owning her very own (if very tiny) pony.

Life Magazine Cover, December 22, 1952

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Parenting

16 Clever Ways to Entertain a Child Who’s Home Sick

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Watching Frozen isn't the only way to brighten up the young one when they're feeling under the weather

Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
Pull out your child’s baby book or family photo albums and leaf through them together. Children rarely tire of remembering vacations or hearing about the day they were born—and thinking about the good times can distract them from their sore throat or crummy tummy.

Create a Secret Hideout
Forts or special nooks are cozy places for kids to pass the time while they’re recovering. Drape blankets over chairs or create a tent in a corner. Fill the space with a sleeping bag, pillows, favorite stuffed animals, a child-safe camping lamp or flashlight, and some books or toys.

Play Hospital
Misery loves company, and so do most sick kids. Set up a doll or animal hospital and let your child play MD, tending to stuffed patients and dispensing Band-Aids with abandon. Just say “ahhhh”!

Hit the “Spa”
Run a hot shower and let your child sit in the bathroom, soaking up the steam, for 15 minutes. The warm, moist air will help alleviate coughs and soothe the nose and lungs. Plus, misty mirrors are great canvases for budding Rembrandts. Warm baths can also help, and bundling up in pajamas and fluffy robes afterwards brings extra comfort.

Close Your Eyes and Listen
If your child isn’t up for much activity, try listening to audio books. Pick a favorite story and hear it in a new way, or find the latest book everyone’s talking about at school and settle in. If stories aren’t your thing, try lullabies.

Stick With Magnets
Pull out a cookie sheet and fill it with magnets, so bedridden kids can play without running around. Younger kids can use letters to make words; older kids can use poetry sets to unleash their inner bards.

Make Ice Pops
For sore throats, nothing says “I love you” like popsicles. Try some of these recipes to soothe swollen tonsils. Or use the Zoku popsicle maker to make frozen treats in minutes.

Pull Out the Play-Doh
Make homemade Play-Doh and let your child create mosaics, mazes, and a mushy multitude of other options. You only need flour, oil, salt, cream of tartar, food coloring, and a stove. Essential oils are great additions (try peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus to help clear the nose and lungs).

Give Presents
Next time you’re at the dollar store, pick up a few toys or games your child might like. When your son or daughter is sick, you can wrap one up and give them a “Get Better” present.

Try Out Tattoos
Face paint might be too much for a sick day, but temporary tattoos (favorite superheroes, dinosaurs…even glitter hearts) are an easy way to make a dull afternoon a little more colorful. And if your kids start looking like Kat Von D, they can wear long sleeves when the fever breaks.

Get Into Graffiti
With Crayola Window Markers, your child can create designs or doodles on any glass surface—from cups and windows to picture frames. She can play graffiti artist to her heart’s content, but her masterpieces will wash off easily with soap and water.

Travel Back in Time
Travel back in time with nostalgic toys and games like Smethport magnetic boards, Shrinky Dinks, Mr. Potato Head, Cooties, Operation, and Silly Putty. They’re all readily available in stores and online, and (a blast from the past) none of them involves staring at a screen.

Tour the Globe
Use a globe or map to pick fantasy trips—from Disneyland to Denmark. Talk about why you want to travel there and what you’d do, even if you’re just making it all up. Check out National Geographic’s website for stories and stunning pictures of destinations both far-flung and domestic.

Make Astronaut Tea
Mix equal parts (roughly 20 ounces each) powdered Tang and powdered sweetened lemon ice tea in an airtight container. For an extra kick, add one teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground cloves. Shake well. Add 2-3 heaping teaspoons to hot water and enjoy. It’s full of sugar, but your little astronaut will probably be over the moon.

Create a Scavenger Hunt
If your kid is up to it, ask him find 10 things that are blue or 20 things that start with the letter S—or hide his favorite stuffed animals around the house and give him 20 minutes to find them. Reward him with Popsicles or tomato soup with goldfish crackers.

Take a Short Walk
Sure, it’s tempting to stay in bed all day, but so long as your child is comfortable and not running a fever, a short walk can do wonders to clear out a cough and get the blood flowing.

If all else fails, go ahead and pull out the movies or turn on the TV. Sometimes, mindless entertainment is truly the best medicine.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

More from Real Simple:

TIME Research

There’s a Growing Health Gap Between Rich and Poor Teens

International efforts to improve health for the under-5-year-olds are not being matched for older children, a new study reveals

Disparities in health between rich and poor adolescents grew globally during the first decade of this century, according to a survey conducted in 34 countries in Europe and North America.

The study, published in the Lancet, reports that “socioeconomic differences across multiple areas of adolescent mental and physical health increased between 2002 and 2010.”

According to the research, adolescents from the most impoverished socioeconomic groups are more likely to suffer from poor health thanks to diminished physical activity and larger body mass indices.

“A strong international focus on reducing child poverty and mortality in children under five years has not been matched by a similar response in older age groups, resulting in widening socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health,” says Frank Elgar, a psychiatry professor at McGill University in Montreal.

Researchers behind the study relied on data compiled from 500,000 young people from across Europe and North America who participated in a World Health Organization survey.

[Science Daily]

TIME App

Now Your Kids Can Watch 6-Second Videos That Match Their Attention Spans

Resistance is futile

Vine has unveiled a new kid-friendly app that will allow your children to constantly scroll through six-second videos of silly characters on your iPhone while you wait in line at the bank.

The new app, called Vine Kids, is the same as Vine except it’s loaded with age-appropriate content, such as cartoon animals who make funny sounds. You scroll left or right to switch videos, and you tap to hear sounds.

Here’s how much kids love the idea:

Resistance is futile. Say goodbye to your iPhone.

TIME Television

Meet Disney’s First Latina Princess

PRINCESS ELENA OF AVALOR
Disney Junior Princess Elena of Avalor

Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in 2016

There’s a new Disney princess in town – and for the first time, she’s Latina.

On Thursday, Disney Junior announced that Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in 2016 on a special episode of Sofia the First, the network’s hit show for preschoolers.

Princess Elena is “a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairy tale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore,” the network said in a statement.

After her introduction on Sofia, 16-year-old Elena will star in her own spin-off series, Elena of Avalor, also set to debut on Disney Junior in 2016.

Dominican Republic-born Aimee Carrero of ABC Family’s Young & Hungry, 26, will voice Elena, whose backstory is connected to the magical amulet Sofia wears on the show.

The story goes that Elena was imprisoned in the amulet by an evil sorceress, Shuriki, decades ago while Elena was trying to protect her little sister, Princess Isabel. Decades later, Sofia “discovers the truth . . . and sets out to restore Elena to her human form and help her return to the kingdom of Avalor.”

In 2012, Disney executives responded to questions about Sofia’s heritage after early hints that she had Hispanic roots.

“Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world,” said Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. “All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

Read next: How 7 Disney Princesses Could Change the World

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME celebrity

Kim and Kanye Working on Difficult Second Child

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arrive to Soho House New York.
James Devaney—GC Images Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arrive to Soho House New York.

The celebrity tells People she and Kanye West are "trying for another kid"

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have unveiled their winter project — a younger sibling for baby North.

“We’ve really been trying for another kid,” Kardashian, 34, told People. More kids can’t come soon enough.”

The newlyweds had their first child, North, nineteen months ago.

This has been a busy 12 months for Kardashian. Not only did she break the internet, but Kardashian also got married, launched a mega-successful smartphone game, wrote a book (about selfies), and starred in a Super Bowl ad (also about selfies.)

Read more at People.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

Violent Psychopaths Don’t Register Punishment, Study Says

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Violent psychopaths seem to have abnormalities in the parts of the brain that learn from punishment, according to a new study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. Knowledge about these brain differences could one day be used to help children whose brain makeup puts them at risk for psychopathy.

Using fMRI imaging, a team of researchers looked at the brain signaling of 50 men: 12 violent offenders—all people with antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy who had been convicted of murder, rape, attempted murder or grievous bodily harm—20 violent offenders with antisocial personality disorder but not psychopathy, and 18 non-offenders.

While their brains were being scanned, the men completed an image matching test that measured their ability to change their behavior and choices based on feedback they were getting from the game. The psychopathic men had a much harder time with changing their behavior, and they took significantly longer to adapt when the game changed its rules.

Scans of the psychopaths’ brains looked different from both non-psychopathic criminals and non-offenders, showing noticeable abnormalities in their white and gray matter—both of which are involved with connecting brain regions. The abnormalities were observed in areas of the brain where emotions like guilt, embarrassment and moral reasoning are processed. Some of those abnormalities were linked to a lack of empathy.

Prior studies of psychopaths have shown that rehabilitation efforts often fall short, which is why the researchers looked into the underlying mechanisms.

The authors write that many of the characteristics of psychopathy appear very early in age, and if caught early enough, interventions could alter brain structure. The researchers hope their findings could lead to the development of programs for parents who observe callousness and repeated violent behavior among their children early on.

“As most violent crimes are committed by men with this early-onset stable pattern of antisocial and aggressive behavior, interventions that target the specific underlying brain mechanisms and effect change in the behavior have the potential to significantly reduce the rate of violent crime,” the authors write.

TIME portfolio

Meet America’s Young Fight League Kids

Photographer Miikka Pirinen debunks the commonly held beliefs surrounding these cage-fighting children

Miikka Pirinen’s photographs provoke strong reactions every time they’re seen. “People often think that these kids have been forced to fight,” the Finnish photographer tells TIME. “People think that they get hurt a lot or that their families are after the money.”

Pirinen stumbled upon these “cage-fighting children,” as they are sometimes called, when he chanced upon a video online of six-year-old kids fighting in a competition in California. “I started to follow the topic online through videos posts by these kids’ proud parents and spectators,” he says. And while he read many condemnations of the sport, Pirinen had to see for himself.

“As a journalist I was strict not to form an opinion before seeing it all,” he says. “After spending over a month, day and night, following the kids, the parents and the trainers in gyms around Arizona and California, I started to have a pretty good insight of what the sport really is about for everyone involved: Community.”

Pirinen found a community based on respect toward one another, with kids of all ages helping each other, and parents working closely with trainers to offer a safe environment for their children. “It’s not like we’re hanging out in a bar,” Clay Carpenter, the father of three young fighters from Phoenix, Ariz., told Pirinen. “Instead we come here to support our kids.”

The children pictured in Pirinen’s photographs are not bullies – in fact, most of them are among the most trusted pupils in their respective schools, the photographer says. “They look out for each other and if anyone uses their skills for the wrong reasons, they are quickly set straight.”

For Pirinen, Fight League Kids is just the latest chapter in a two-year photographic project on the issue of identity among children. “I’m interested in the different ways young people are trying to form an identity for themselves,” he says. Next, the photographer, who started his career as a camera assistant in the film industry before moving to photography, plans to continue this project, focusing instead on motor sports and American football.

Miikka Pirinen is a Finnish freelance photographer based in Helsinki. He’s a member of the Helsinki Street photography collective.

Mikko Takkunen is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

TIME Research

Being Neglected Harms Brain Development in Kids

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Kids put in institutions have different brain compositions than kids in foster care

Childhood neglect leads to harmful changes in the brain, a new study says.

In new research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers looked at brain differences between Romanian children who were either abandoned and institutionalized, sent to institutions and then to foster families, or were raised in biological families.

Kids who were not raised in a family setting had noticeable alterations in the white matter of their brains later on, while the white matter in the brains of the children who were placed with a foster family looked pretty similar to the brains of the children who were raised with their biological families.

Researchers were interested in white matter, which is largely made up of nerves, because it plays an important role in connecting brain regions and maintaining networks critical for cognition. Prior research has shown that children raised in institutional environments have limited access to language and cognitive stimulation, which could hinder development.

These findings suggest that even if a child were at a risk for poor development due to their living circumstances at an early age, placing them in a new caregiving environment with more support could prevent white matter changes or perhaps even heal them.

More studies are needed, but the researchers believe their findings could help public health efforts aimed at children experiencing severe neglect, as well as efforts to build childhood resiliency.

TIME Parenting

This Place Just Made it Illegal to Give Kids Too Much Screen Time

Excess screen time is now considered to be the equivalent of smoking, drinking and using drugs.

Taiwanese parents are now legally obligated to monitor their children’s screen time.

Taiwanese lawmakers approved the “Child and Youth Welfare and Protection Act,” which expanded existing legislation to allow the government to fine parents of children under the age of 18 who are using electronic devices for extended periods of times. The law follows similar measures in China and South Korea that aims to limit screen time to a healthy level.

Citing health concerns, the Taiwanese government can fine parents up to $1595 ($50,000 Taiwanese Dollars) if their child’s use of electronic devices “exceeds a reasonable time,” according to Taiwan’s ETTV (and Google Translate). Under the new law, excess screen time is now considered to be the equivalent of vices like smoking, drinking, using drugs, and chewing betel nuts.

The new amendment doesn’t spell out exactly what time limits should be set on electronic devices (which are called 3C products in Taiwan), but says parents can be held liable if their children stare at screens for so long that its causes them to become ill, either physically or mentally, as Kotaku reports. While that should be O.K. for children angling for 15 more minutes of Minecraft, it’s unclear what is considered “reasonable” under the law— or how the Taiwanese government plans to regulate or monitor screen time.

According to Kotaku, so far the response to the legislation has been negative—which it undoubtedly would be in the U.S. as well—with Taiwanese citizens citing privacy concerns.

There are some parents however, who might welcome a little help prying their children’s eyes off screens. Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention issues, behavioral problems, learning difficulties, sleep disorders, and obesity. Too much time online may even inhibit a child’s ability to recognize emotions, according to a study by the University of California, Los Angeles. Despite these risks, as technology increasingly becomes a part of modern life, children are spending more and more time in front of screens. A recent study found that in the U.S. 8-year-olds spend an average of eight hours a day with some form of media, with teenagers often clocking in at 11 hour a day of media consumption. A 2013 study by Nickelodeon found that kids watch an average of 35 hours a week of television.

So how much is too much screen time? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should have no screen time at all. Entertainment screen time should be limited to two hours a day for children ages 3-18, and that should be “high-quality content.” Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based non-profit, has suggestions for setting up a “media diet” that works for your family.

TIME family subscribers can read our in-depth report on Raising the Screen Generation here. And don’t forget to sign up for Time’s free parenting newsletter.

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