Books, Children Books, Education, Parenting

Freddie the Fly Motormouth: A Story About Listening – Book

I have partnered with Boys Town Press for this feature

 

 Freddie the Fly Motormouth: A Story About Listening - Book

Freddie the Fly: A Story About Listening

By: Kimberly Delude

 
When I hit middle school I was told by my parents and some friends that I was a motormouth. I talked and (perhaps it’s the Italian influences from my Grandparents who were the same way) I talked fast! I would here “Calm down, you’re talking too fast” or “My! You have a lot to say!” I learned and grew put of it in High School and like, Freddie the Fly am better off for learning to control my speech.

 
Kimberly Delude is a Certified Speech and Language Pathologist and this is her first children’s book. Freddie is told he is a motormouth and after meeting other just like him they work together to learn ways to pause and listen. It is in learning these new skills he finds out some pretty neat stuff about his friends all because he stopped to listen.

 

 
Freddie the Fly will be available in October on Amazon and you can preorder it now.
 

Back to School 2017, Education, STEM Learning

Creation Crate – A Tech Education Curriculum Subscription Box

I have partnered with Creation Crate for this feature

 

Creation Crate - A Tech Education Curriculum Subscription Box

 
Science and technology. It is all around our kids from the games they play and devices they hold to them watching us with our devices and even making our homes smarter. This is their world and will ever gain in momentum for their future. They need technology and they need the concepts, the earlier the better. Creation Crate is a subscription box, only it is an actual tech education curriculum that will walk them through tech in fun games and projects.

 

Creation Crate monthly

 
The 12 Month Curriculum builds on each previous month. So this is a plan where 1 box is sent each month and you need to hold onto all previous months boxes to use and build from. It is like an entire tech course for kids with pieces arriving a bit at a time so they keep paced and focus on one dynamic at a time. It is rather clever.

 
The full curriculum in order beginning with Month 1:

  1. Mood lamp
  2. Memory Game
  3. Distance Detector
  4. LED Dice Game
  5. Optical Theremin
  6. 2-Player Reflex Game
  7. Weather Station
  8. Audio Visualizer
  9. Lock Box
  10. Digital Multimeter
  11. Handheld Balance Game
  12. Strength Gauge

 

creation crate reward

 
Oh and the stickers can be proudly worn at the completion of a project. Now I had my 9 year old son try this out. We got box 1 and needed some help. It is rated for 12 and older and we were only stuck on a wire placement. I contacted the brand and they were helpful in helping us understand why we were stuck and how to fix it and move forward again.

 

 
Will a child you know enjoy and benefit from this plan? You can buy month to month, but if you commit to multiple months you will save quite a bit in the end. Even if all you can commit to is 1 month for now they will still learn a lot as they build themselves a mood lamp like ours. Start HERE!
 

Back to School 2017, Education, Parenting

Are You First Day Ready For School?

There is no mistaking that if your kids aren’t headed back to school now, they will be soon – the stores are filled with supplies and sales and ads for back-to-school. The beginning of a new school year can be an especially challenging time for parents and children both, although for totally different reasons. For parents, making sure that kids are equipped with the supplies and everything they need to get organized and have a good year is usually the first challenge. Then meeting the teachers, checking out the classrooms, and assessing the curriculum for the year is next on the list.

 

We just completed our school shopping this week. We also moved to a new town this summer so yesterday I dropped off all papers to register my son in 4th grade at his brand new school. He is excited but also nervous too. The next step for us is to wait for the call on what teacher he gets and if it is the same of some new friends he has met in our neighborhood and on his soccer team.

For kids, the stress of the new school year can be a little different than what we experience as parents. Did you know that one in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia? Children with these types of challenges – many of whom have never been formally diagnosed – can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers and schools.

As the new school year approaches, we were excited to get personalized tips from the First-Day Ready Guide to help our kids make a great start. The Ad Council and Understood.org have partnered to promote ways children and their families can be First-Day Ready. Understood.org is offering a free First-Day Ready Guide to help parents with students at every age successfully manage back-to-school transitions. Understood.org is a free, easy-to-use online resource and community designed to support parents and caregivers of children with learning and attention issues.

Having a guide is so helpful. My stepsons are 19 and 24 so it’s been some time since I have sent a fourth grader off to school.

 

These back-to-school tips from the Understood.org website are an invaluable resource for getting on track and starting the year of on the right foot.  They helped my family; hopefully they can help yours too.

 

  • Planning early is important to help relieve stress.  Creating structure and routine around the start of the new school year—with checklists, calendars and other organization systems— helps prepare kids for class expectations. I loved browsing the Printable Back-to-School Downloads. I am a paper person so this helps me a lot. I also enjoyed the 9 Apps to Help Kids Manage Back-to-School Challenges so we can use them to have mini discussions at bedtime leading up to the first day of school.

 

You can also take your child on a school tour to help ease fears by showing them how to find their classroom, nearby bathrooms, the cafeteria and other important places the first week of school.  This can be a huge stress relief whether the child is new to the school or not. Just knowing where to go can help them feel more comfortable.  

 

  • Connecting with your child’s teacher early on benefits everyone and creates a great starting point for the new year.  This will give you an opportunity to share your child’s needs or learning style while expressing your support for the teacher and the challenges he/she may be facing with a new classroom full of students.  You will help create an atmosphere of cooperation while speaking up for your child and his or her challenges.

 

  • Finally, get support!  Many parents and students are going through the same experience. Understood.org and Understood’s Facebook page connect parents across the country to share information and learn from each other. You can also ask around your community and school to find other parents you can connect with.

So, no matter your child’s age or needs, this Back-to-School season can be a seamless transition and positive experience for both you and your children!  

If you could use some help getting started on the right foot this school year, Understood.org is a great place to start.  

All kids learn in different ways and at different paces. With the right support, all kids can thrive in school and in life.

Back to School 2017, College Bound, Education, Parenting

3 College Dorm Room List Essentials #ShopPurple

 
Last year we sent our son across the state for his first year of college. It wasn’t until dorm move-in day that I realized the things I overpacked and with time I also realized the things I did not think to pack. Being first time college parents was new and so overwhelming. Year 2 is a breeze. In fact he has taken total control and we are left with not much needed from us. As hectic as the process is of sending them off and settling them in, enjoy every moment because once they are settled their neediness seems to fade fast. Well, except for breaks when they bring home a stinky laundry basket of a much needed chore from you.

 
I remember being in his dorm and we were so hot on that 12th floor in the heat of summer with an A/C unit still broken. We were discussing where to eat dinner and I needed to freshen up. There was no mirror in his room so I head to the bathroom. “Where are you going, Erinn?” Asks my stepson. “That is a mens restroom for the dorm, the girls would be 1 level up or 1 level down.” I had forgotten they have the floors separated. I had no mirror and I knew I was a hot and sticky mess.

 

He needed a mirror in his dorm, but he’s a guy and his restroom is 3 steps from his dorm room. I knew that any female student would want a mirror in their room but it can’t take up space and you can’t put nails in the dorm walls. Learn from my story and then head over to the Jet Back to College Dorm Furnishings and Decor to find the standing mirror style your daughter (or son) may like. These don’t leave holes in the wall and push flat for a narrow fit in any corner.

 

The first 2 weeks were a lot of back and forth by phone making sure he is settling into classes and dorm life. At one point I get a call from him asking for some grocery money in his account. He wanted some cans of soup and protein bars. He said that because his first am class is on the other side of campus and he walks he needs breakfast that he can take and walk with.

 

He wanted protein bars and in our home we buy Premier Protein so I hopped online and ordered him some to be shipped. Premier Protein bars have no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners and are gluten free. Other brands out there may contain artificial ingredients and synthetic nutrients so we really do our homework and choose wisely.

 

The third essential that comes to mind is electronic chargers. Of course they won’t forget those but are they long enough? Most dorm rooms have a real silly set up and limited plugs so getting one that has a long reach and can charge off their computer or laptop will keep their phones nearby and take up less outlet space. There is a brand at the Jet Back to School page called Fusebox that we have used and it holds up well with its braided cord and 6 foot length.

 
Send them off with the essentials including these items I mention here that didn’t even total more than $75 all together on Jet. Enjoy this life stage of theirs while you are at it.

 

 
NEW TO JET.COM? You get to save 15% on your first 3 orders when you use the promo code SAVE15 “see site for details”.

 
New customers only. Min. $35 in eligible merchandise per order required. Max. discount $20 per order. Offer expires 9/1/2017 at 12:00 AM PST; if any of your first 3 orders are not placed by this date, they are not eligible for the discount. Excludes products marked as ineligible for promotion on the product display page. Offer cannot be applied to previous orders and cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Offer is subject to change or cancellation. Void where prohibited. Brand, category and other restrictions may apply.

 
NOT NEW TO JET.COM? You still get all of the benefits and great prices they have to offer. I just got a birthday card from them and it had a promo code for me. Let me remind you of the advantages of shopping J:

• Free shipping over $35
• 2-day delivery with no membership fee on thousands of items
• 24/7 U.S.-based customer service
• Jet shows you items that can ship together so you can save money
• Buy multiples on Jet to save
• Waive returns on Jet to save”

 

Do you plan on doing some online Back to School shopping this year? I challenge you to head on over and browse Jet! Let me know if you find what you were looking for in a quick comment below! 

 

Back to School 2017, Education, Kids, Parenting

Fun Summer STEAM Activities For Preschoolers And Young Children

STEM/STEAM education started out as a nice idea, but now that technology and the web are involved with everything from online schooling to solar-powered electronics,  STEM education is becoming a global requirement. So, whether our children are destined to be Computer Engineers or Forest Rangers, exposing them to STEAM activities will only help them in discovering opportunities and make the most of their education.  

Fun Summer STEAM Activities For Preschoolers And Young Children

Pulling this at-home STEAM education with young children sounds like one heck of a project, but there are some fun and simple activities that are up for the job. All of these are great for tots and kindergarteners, and they work for older children too!  

 

Science a la Casa

The great thing about these activities is that they offer teaching moments while encouraging creativity, flexibility, and independence. They’re also a great way for kids to develop their own natural strengths (and an excellent way for parents to become aware of them). Independence, inherent skills, creative, and critical thinking are quickly becoming valued business and leadership skills, so the more parents can promote these in their kids, the more we can set them up for success as adults. Here are some ideas how!

 

  • Pulley Play: Science is all about weights and measures, and the properties of matter. Being a parent is all about giving your best to your child while maintaining some sort of sanity. Make your own pulley using the tutorial from Little Bins For Little Hands, and you can accomplish both. Pulleys are amazing because they keep our children’s mind active as well as their bodies. They can be used to explore weights and measures, weight versus mass, the properties of matter (ie. liquids versus solids), and the force of gravity.

 

  • Plant Projects: Dirt is free, pots are cheap, and you’re sure to have a steady supply of seeds on hand in the kitchen (like, say, dried beans and cilantro/coriander seeds). Throw ‘em all together for some real-life science. Some of the awesome plant science projects Live Science recommends include comparing/contrasting fruits and their seeds and doing well-spaced potted seedlings versus crowded potted seedlings. They also have the good old fashioned seed-in-a-wet-paper-towel experiment, except their variations include planting a variety of seeds that have different sprouting rates and variances in color and size, so these things can be witnessed and discussed as they grow. You can take this plant experiment even further by having kids plant seedlings and using different growing mediums, watering habits, and amounts of sunlight. This all can be used to teach kids about the importance of soil nutrients, water, and light, and how too much or too little will affect plants.          

 

Technical Fun & Engineering Games

This realm is not my personal favorite, and that’s precisely why I’m dumping it on my kids. Engineering and technical fields are exploding with exciting growth and job opportunities. However, after just two minutes of trying to read up on this stuff, the only thing I see exploding is my brain. It’s not my cup of tea, but if I can help my kids build these skills slowly and naturally, then I’m gonna put my time and money into it. And who knows, maybe one day they’ll be able to teach me what all today’s tech-jargon blogs can’t.    

 

  • Techy-Toys: There are some amazing new toys on the market, but many of them are geared towards older children. However, there are two that are really worth checking out: the Think And Learn Code-A-Pillar and Microduino’s mCookie. These toys are both techy and, conveniently, promote tech competency in kids. Their goal is to teach kids simple and basic coding, from toddlers to Elementary-aged children.

  • Building a la Nature: Code-a-Pillars and LEGO mini computers are cool and all, but if you’re looking for something simpler, natural, and budget-friendly engineering, we have just the thing for you. You can get your kiddo building and designing with nothing more than ice cube trays, water, and dirt. Combine the dirt and water, then fill the ice cube tray. Let them set until they’re at the desired consistency. Dump them out of the tray, and you have your very own mud bricks! They’re sure to meet all your kiddos building and water-dissolving needs.    

 

  • Engineer-Worthy Apps: It’s not hard to find an app, but finding a good one? Pulling that off puts parents at risk of falling into a black hole of reviews and Google searches. Luckily, Geeks With Juniors put together a great list of top apps for kids. Their picks for engineering-worthy apps for kids 3 and under include Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem, Labo Paper Plate, Lipa Pirates, Sago MIni Toolbox, and Shape Gurus. They all promote skills with either problem solving, building, creativity, spatial reasoning, or all four.    

 

Art Projects

School and government threw art on the backburner, but with all the tech and engineering advancements, creative and abstract artists are finding their work in new high-tech places. With homes to update, electronics to create, and suits to design, young artists have big doors of opportunity ahead  of them. But besides that, art is just awesome! It’s food for the soul (not to mention, it makes for great decor and memorabilia). Get artsy!

 

  • Nature Art: Combine art and science with a nature project! There are so many ways you can go about this, that you can get creative with whatever tools or inspirations you have around. Check out Jean at The Artful Parent for out-of-this-world art projects that are equal parts simple, fun, and gorgeous. Her list of Nature Art projects includes mandalas, suncatchers, mosaics, hammered leaf prints,  “paint brushes” from nature, chalk leaf prints, clay nature prints, shadow tracing, and more. Stock up on chalk, paint, cardboard, and contact paper, and you can pair them with backyard nature finds for daily art projects. The cool thing here is that you can use all of these art ideas to create a project to advance kiddo know-how with seasons, storytelling, counting, life cycles, and more, and more.   

 

  • Color Crafts: Education.com has some amazing and simple activities that turn art projects into science lessons. One of my favorites is their Ice Cube Paint activity. Ice cube trays are filled with pain, stuck with a popsicle stick, and frozen. These frozen stick paints are great since they help keep paint off fingers and clothes. They’re also an awesome science lesson, because they can teach kids about color blending, solids and liquids, and hot and cold. Other fun ones my toddler gives his thumbs-up on include blow painting and paper plate tambourines with beans. If you’re afraid to do paint because of the mess, then we have the perfect option for you: bathtub color activities! You can make your own stain-proof bath paints using cornstarch, water, food coloring, and your child’s own shampoo. Your kiddo can use these homemade paints to decorate the walls of the bath and shower. When they’re done, they can scrub it clean. One less to-do for mom and dad!   

Math-time Playtime

If your schooling was anything like mine, then your childhood math memories aren’t reminiscent of play so much as they are of torture. But thanks to our pain, today’s teachers have swapped out mind-numbing worksheets for education through play-doh, LEGOs, and fun playful activities.   

 

 

  • LEGOS: They’re pricey and they hurt like heck to step on, but LEGOS are an intro to engineering that suits kids of all ages and interests. LEGOS naturally promote STEM skills like creativity, spatial reasoning, building (aka engineering) know-how, and fine motor skills. In addition, they can actually be used for specific educational purposes. LEGOS are perfect for teaching and practicing math skills like counting, numbers, geometry, and more. Younger kids are best off starting with the smaller LEGO Duplo sets. As they get older and more interested in math, they can be moved up to the advanced and STEM-erific sets in the LEGO education series. The Machines and Mechanisms sets can be used for exploring engineering concepts, while their Mindstorms and WeDo sets can actually be used to explore math through engineering and coding. You can even use these sets to create a real LEGO robot. How cool!   

 

That sums up this list of STEAM-erific Summer activities. Have you tried any of them? Do you know of any others that are kid-approved? Share in the comments below!

 

**Ash is a writer who doubles as a wannabe nutritionist, philosopher, psychologist, and shaman. When she isn’t writing her soul out on the web, she’s listening to the great minds (or great comedians) on YouTube, soaking up sunshine, dancing in her living room, or having yet another fascinating conversation with herself (she gives excellent advice, you know). Check out her blog, or find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend!

Brands with a Cause, Education

Backpacks for Kids in Need from Office Depot Foundation

I have partnered with Office Depot Foundation for this feature

 

First, I want to congratulate Office Depot on it’s 17th year of donating more than 4 million sackpacks to children around the world as part of its National Backpack Program. They have 7 different designs and come with supplies inside to get children sent off to school with the basic needs.

 

Back to school is so fun for kids-most get new clothes, shoes and backpacks. Many families, however, cannot afford brand new. So when they seek assistance and get something NEW for the kids, that is so exciting for them. Look at these designs! Lego, arcade, camo, nature and other fun themes that the kids will be proud to wear on their backs.

 

Office Depot has done amazing things with this program. Here are some 2017 news bits about the program:

  • 100,000 colorful new sackpacks to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies across the United States and internationally
  • Their Foundation is hosting Back-to-School celebrations in select cities across the U.S. in July and August
  • Their Foundation has partnered with Captain Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour (America’s first African American female combat pilot) who will make special guest appearances at the Foundation’s Back-To-School celebrations in Los Angeles and Chicago in support of STEM and STEAM in schools

How can you get involved? You can donate and see ways to help at Office Depot Foundation/WhatWeDo page. Follow along on social media Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and show your support on news feeds. You can also join as a business and you will find that information on their page as well.