Best blocks and play structures for open ended creative play.
Gift guide for artistic kids (and adults). I’ve steered away from arty kits towards more open ended high quality materials and interesting toys with an artistic twist.
Best educational math, science, STEM toy gift guide.
Toys to keep kids active this winter and all during the year. This gift guide includes tricycles, pogos, sleds, luge sleds and more.
These toys, books, games and devices help make reading fun. They make great birthday gifts too!
I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.
My brother-in-law turned me on to the Golden Apple Toy Awards, from GreatSchools, which are really great educational but fun toys vetted by kids, parents and teachers. I added a few more time-tested toys that we’ve used over and over for the last decade at my house.
Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.
Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!
I found this list of math apps from TouchReviews.net that I didn’t know about. You know me, I love math and apps so it’s a match made in heaven particularly if my kids will play them thinking that it’s fun. And one day, when I review enough great math apps, I will do a Top 10: Math App list of my own!
Parenting Advice for ADHD Kids
When I think of troubled kids — drop-outs, drugs, and delinquency — who’ve made good, I invariably think of certain celebrity chefs who also happen to write beautifully. Tony Bourdain of the TV shows No Reservations and The Layover. His first book No Reservations was supposed to be his fifteen minutes of fame. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough though because he’s that perfect balance of funny, snarky and soft-hearted.
Gabrielle Hamilton, chef owner of Prune, also comes to mind. Her poignant memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, chronicles her improbable climb from waitress and drug dealer to chef and author.
My latest discovery via my husband is bad boy Eddie Huang of Bao House. His memoir is a laugh-out-loud kind of book but you might have to be Asian to revel in the uncomfortable and meant-t0-be-secret Tiger Parenting antics that we’ve all endured.
L. Todd Rose’s book, Square Pegs, is a book — part memoir, and part parenting book — that the chefs’ parents might have benefited from. Rose challenges us to rethink education constructs. Square pegs, he argues, are also innovators and visionaries. They are exactly what the U.S. economy needs to compete in the new global economy.
Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, & Out-of-the-Box Thinkers by L. Todd Rose with Katherine Ellison Read more…
Discount Educational Toys and Games
Educents is a daily deals website featuring educational products at 30-90% off!
They are about to launch their site and to get the word out, they are offering a free $15 gift card to my readers if you sign up before launch! Click here to sign up.
They will have programs such as foreign language, reading, math, science, art, and more including educational toys and games, as well as books and other items. Basically everything you can think of in terms of educational materials to help kids learn. I asked about exact brands and items but the paperwork is not quite done yet so they can’t disclose it.
I received a small stipend to help get the word out. I am personally excited to buy educational products at a discount! I just signed up myself.
What is Pi?
Today is Pi day!
3.14. March 14th. 3/14.
Yes, a math joke!
I wanted to celebrate Pi day by showing the relationship of math to the world around us including circles, pyramids and great works of art!
p.s. I have a post on the math of spirals if you want more math in nature.
Pi is a name given to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. That means, for any circle, you can divide the circumference (the distance around the circle) by the diameter and always get exactly the same number. It doesn’t matter how big or small the circle is, Pi remains the same. Pi is often written using the symbol and is pronounced “pie”, just like the dessert. from Math.com
Another way to think of Pi. You can measure Pi by constructing a physical wheel and rolling it out. Read more…
May The Force Be With You Renn!
This Kid Reviews Books alerted to me to the blogging tour to cheer up 5-year-old Renn who is undergoing extensive testing for epilepsy this week. Bloggers are joining forces, under the leadership of author Susanna Leonard Hill, to send our best well wishes and posts to entertain and cheer him up.
I offer Renn this clip from the Star Wars section of the new YouTube Lego Channel.
Can we send Renn a lego kit to share with his siblings too? Star Wars, of course! Read more…
Top 10 Books to Empower Kids About Their Bodies
The stats on child sexual abuse are alarming. I met author and mom, Jay Dale, on Twitter and she asked me if I was going to cover this issue. I usually post lists of books but wasn’t familiar with books on this topic, and honestly, I struggle with the Birds and the Bees Talk. Still, this is a really important topic and I am delighted that Jay agreed to guest post for me.
Here’s a few more books:
Do You Have a Secret? (Let’s Talk About It!) by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, illustrated by Marta Fàbrega
A very gentle book describing the difference between good secrets and bad secrets and what to do if you have a bad secret. [picture book, ages 4 to 7]
No More Secrets for Me by Oralee Wachter, illustrated by Jane Aaron
In four separate stories on the theme of sexual abuse of children, young victims are able to articulate their feelings and defend themselves, often with the help of another person whom they trust.
Laurie Tells by Linda Lowrery, illustrated by John Eric Karpinski
It’s been two years since it first happened when Laurie was nine-years-old and she still can’t understand why her dad is hurting her.
But now it’s not monsters and spooks
that scare me.
Now it’s my dad.
The first time it happened,
I was nine.
He was saying good-night,
scratching my back.
And then he reached
under my nightgown
and touched my body all over.
I hated what he was doing to me.
I began to cry.
[advanced picture book, ages 9 and up]
We teach our children water safety and road safety — it is equally important to teach our children ‘body safety’ from a very young age. As both a teacher and a mother, I strongly recommend to all parents that ‘body safety’ become a normal part of your parenting conversation. The sexual abuse of children has no social boundaries, and providing children with body safety skills empowers them with knowledge of what is good and bad touch. Read more…
School Wide Reading Competition: March Madness
I blogged a lot about our elementary school’s March Madness reading competition and have tried to answer emails about the rules of engagement. The rules have changed over the last 8 years since we’ve first started. Also, my recollection is hazy at best. All I know is that my kids read like crazy to win that extra P.E. session and we all win in the end, no matter what place their class ends up in.
This year, the competition has started again and I am posting the rules in hopes that it inspires your school to pick up the torch and try this reading competition next year. It’s a lot of fun and I do really notice a marked improvement in my kids’ reading abilities after just one month of reading madness!
MARCH MADNESS READING CELEBRATION
- The Peirce School March Madness Reading Celebration will begin on Friday, March 1 and run through Thursday, April 4.
- The kickoff will take place at our town meeting on March 1 and each classroom will be randomly assigned the name of an actual NCAA basketball team.
- Students will earn points for their team based on the number of minutes read daily at home during March Madness.
- Each student will log their daily reading onto the paper reading log and enter their WEEKLY MINUTES read into an online database AT HOME every Thursday evening.
- Students will hand in the paper copy of their reading log to their classroom teacher every Friday morning and should begin to log their weekly minutes read into the online database on Thursday, March 7. Students should continue to log their weekly minutes read every Thursday evening up until Thursday, April 4.
- Team points earned will be tallied and recorded every week onto a large graph in the main hallway.
- Books read in school are not eligible for points.
- Books read as part of nightly reading can be counted. (March Madness reading does not have to be in addition to regular home reading, although we hope students will be more inclined to read).
- There will be a separate point system for grades K-1 and for grades 2-5.
Getting into College Search Engine
From the creators of the Princeton Review, meet Noodle.org. It’s a personalized recommendation engine in Beta geared towards education. It’s focus is on the best way to help users — from parents and adults to high schoolers — to find the best schools and programs to fit their needs. Think of it as an interactive Princeton Review library of all their published works plus everything collectively in their brains.
Stressed about getting your high school student into college? This is a good place to start your journey. Noodle.org is FREE and allows users to search colleges, graduate programs and K-12 schools, find study abroad programs, identify the best local tutors and test prep programs, search for a guidance counselor or education consultant, and access hundreds of thousands of free learning materials.
- Noodle.org features data on over 130,000 schools and hundreds of thousands of education providers
- Noodle.org offers content from the most credible sources, including federal and state education departments and agencies, LinkedIn, Forbes, Newsweek, YouTube Education, and US News & World Report
- Users can select from over 350,000 interactive learning materials covering an expansive range of subjects, compiled from noteworthy sources such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian, Khan Academy and BigThink
- With over 120,000 K-12 schools, 2,900 4-year colleges, 5,000 graduate programs,135 study abroad programs and 80,000 tutoring listings, Noodle.org has the largest compilation of education resources found anywhere on the web
- Once users narrow their search selection and want to engage with friends, family and others who have shared experiences, Noodle.org enables them to share their findings from the site via Facebook and Twitter, and save their results for easy access Read more…