All posts in Education

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

How to Make Origami Shirukan Throwing Star

My son was obsessed with learning how to fold an Origami Shirukan Throwing Star. He had trouble cutting perfectly square pieces of paper so I handed him My First Origami Kit which I received from a publisher to review.

Unfortunately, the book did not include instructions on how to make a Shirukan Throwing Star but the origami paper was beautiful and just the right size. The kit comes with a book, 60 papers, 150 stickers and 22 projects.

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PARCC Resources for Parents

PARCC Resources for Parents

My kids have been taking the PARCC standardized test for the new Common Core standards this past month. They do not enjoy standardized tests but the upside is that the elementary school Physical Education teacher opens the gym early on test days and has them play Pickle Ball. He says the research shows that exercise before tests helps them perform better so he’s happy to come to school early to run games for them.

In Massachusetts where I live, there was concern that the Common Core standards would be lower than the current ones. This concern is in the minority for most states but Massachusetts students score among the highest in the world in reading, math and science. Still, I can attest to anxiety among kids, parents and teachers when it comes to standardized tests. I know that my kids get stressed out even though they are well prepared. Read more…

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Arctic Egg Science: Books, Experiment and Videos

Now that the snow is gone after Boston’s Snowmaggedon, I can finally appreciate the cold again so I’m combining some newly published non-fiction science picture books with some videos on the artic. I hope you are ready to face the cold again too!

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern 

Two guiding thoughts about the Artic today: protection and eggs. Here’s how they all tie together …

A Children's Guide to Arctic Birds eggs

Bird Eggs from A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds
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Being Creative 15 Minutes a Day (no matter what)

Being Creative 15 Minutes a Day (no matter what)

I wanted to review this book thinking Grasshopper and Sensei would like it, but instead I found it was perfect for me. I used to take a lot of art classes before I had kids. And while I have tried to paint from time to time, even managing to complete a hand painted set of plates before PickyKidPix was born, it never seemed to be the right time to make art. Either my workspace needed to be cleared off for a meal — I used the dining room table for my art — or I didn’t have a chunk of uninterrupted time, or inspiration, or the right materials …

Art Before Breakfast is a zippy, inspiration with the conviction that we all just need 15 minutes before breakfast to bring out the artist within us all. I am not a morning person, so I’d rather sleep the extra 15 minutes but I applied the principle and found 15 minutes in my day — sometimes less, sometimes more — to be creative. And I’m really glad I did.

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory Read more…

Create a Protective Device for an Egg Experiment for Kids

Create a Protective Device for an Egg Experiment for Kids

Here’s an easy and fun experiment to do using simply hard-boiled eggs. Regular chicken eggs will do nicely, but I found these really cool Ostrich and Emu eggs from the Saveur Instragram that are sold at Whole Foods somewhere!

Ostrich and Emu Eggs sold at Whole Foods Market

Ostrich and Emu Eggs Sold at Whole Foods Market (not mine though!)

You can give your child cardboard, paper, clear tape, scissors but my son just ransacked the kitchen drawer and that worked fine too! Read more…

Getting Kids Published with Erik of This Kid Reviews Books

Getting Kids Published with Erik of This Kid Reviews Books

I am so thrilled to be co-posting with Erik of This Kid Reviews Books today at the request of Erika of Urth Mama:

Do you have any interest in doing a blog post (or series) about career pathways for children/young adults to become children’s book authors?

I ask because my 8 year old daughter (aka Paprika) has wanted to be a children’s picture book author and illustrator since birth (practically).  She has read every children’s book – knows all the Caldecott and Newberry winners – and in general, is just obsessed with Children’s Literature.  She has taken a few classes on Craftsy about Children’s Book Authoring – and beyond that, I don’t really know how to guide her.  She is just set on this (and has been for years) – and overall, it’s her mission in life.

The first person I thought of to help Erika is Erik because:

Nancy Yi Fan is another published kid author. She wrote the series Swordbird which was accepted for publication by HarperCollins when she was 11-years-old.

My advice on how to get published as a kid is: write, write, write! Take art classes as well if you are so inclined. Being able to write and illustrate is a powerful combination. Do writing challenges like Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 picture book challenge which also gives away critiques by children’s book agents. Start a blog as both a writing experience and to build your audience. As a published author, you will be expected to market your book and social media will be your friend! Finally, be persistent. The road to being published is paved with miles of rejection letters.Without further ado, here’s Erik! …—————–
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Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Do you have a child interested in science competitions? If so, you must read on! If not, just read the next paragraph because the PRIZE money might motivate your middle school child!

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students. Ten finalists in grades 5-8 will be selected from around the country to compete in the challenge and the winner will receive a $25,000 prize and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist”!

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The Hawaiian Ukelele? All About the Ukelele for Kids!

The Hawaiian Ukelele? All About the Ukelele for Kids!

Two of my kids are fascinated by the ukelele. My son, who plays guitar, was inspired by musician Jake Shimabukuro that he showed the video to his guitar teacher, and watched Jake’s videos on technique that he can apply to guitar later on when he gets more advanced.

Grasshopper and Sensei is learning the ukelele on her own after coveting a beautiful handmade ukelele found at a shop on vacation two years ago. I figured that after one year of asking for it, she must be serious, so I bought it for her the following year we returned.

grasshopper and sensei ukelele

My husband played golf for the University of Hawaii so Hawaii has a special place in his heart and he is equally surprised to learn that the ukelele is not actually from Hawaii!  Read more…

Happy Pi Day

Pi Day Humor: Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! Get it? March 14th is 3.14! It’s especially appropriate this year, 2015, as the first few number of pi are 3.1415!

To celebrate, I dug up Pi Day cartoons! I hope you enjoy Pi Day today!!

The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi“.

Pi Day humor Read more…