Books Reviews, Children's Books, Education, Holiday Gift Guide 2017, STEM Learning

New Children’s STEM Book – Veronica and the Volcano

I was sent a copy for feature

New Children's STEM Book - Veronica and the Volcano

New Children’s STEM Book – Veronica and the Volcano

By: Geoffrey Cook

In August we moved to a new town here in Washington State. Our town lies beneath Mt. Rainier, a volcano. With a 9 year old son who now has to get used to lahar siren tests the first Monday of every month and has lahar escape drills he has been very curious about volcanos. This book may have been written for STEM learning for girls but Anthony is thoroughly intrigued. He has already agreed to donate his copy of this book to his classroom so other 4th grade kids can read it to in our town.

The Story

Ten-year-old Veronica lives in a high-tech, gadget-filled house on the slope of an active volcano. When she leaves on a quest to find rare white volcano pearls on the far side of the biggest volcano of all, Mount Mystery, she leads her father, her best friend Maddy, and her friend’s dad, the blustering Captain John, into a series of incredible adventures. But when the colossal volcano erupts, fears wins an election, and Veronica must square off against a fear-mongering villain: the Man-in-White.

Want to read Chapter 1? Follow this link to the book site!

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, Gift Guides

Build Your Own Marbleocity Mini Skate Park

I have partnered with Play Monster for this feature


Ready to build? Who doesn’t love tinkering, gluing and creating? These Marbleocity sets one is for the older kids, age 9 (with some help) and older will have fun building their own marble run in the theme of a mini skate park. The standard Skate Park set is a step up from this one. You can also find the Marbleocity Dragon Coaster and Mini Coaster. Whether mini or the standard size sets you are actually building with wood and glue.


Build Your Own Marbleocity Mini Skate Park

Inside the box are all the pre-cut pieces and instruction booklet with a fun comic story to motivate your child to begin the build. Like the wheels of the skateboards in the story, their marbles will do jumps, lifts and slides through the set once complete.


He is 9 1/2 and needed some help but the instructions were common sense. We did our own mods like gluing in extra spots and using small clamps to really make sure glue dries well overnight where the gears are placed.


You can find these building sets at Toys “R” Us stores and are a great STEM-based play and build set.


Education, Gift Guides, Kids, Reviews by Anthony, STEM Learning, Video Reviews by Anthony

Playing with Mega Construx Despicable Me 3 Building Sets

Thank you to Mega Construx for partnering for this feature. Opinions are all my own

Playing with Mega Construx Despicable Me 3 Building Sets

Are you excited for the June 30 debut of Despicable Me 3 movie? We will be in the theaters that weekend seeing it because my husband is a bit of a minion fan. To get into the spirit, Mega Construx has a line of Despicable Me 3 building sets. full of building and learning with characters we all love.

Very similar to other building sets you get the pieces in bags and an instruction booklet with picture guides. It was easy to build. We love building and construction sets as they really require many skills to complete the build and your kids hardly know they are learning while they play.

Mega Construx is a branch of of Mega Blocks and have sets in the familiar characters we all love. Find sets for American Girl, Barbie, TMNT, Halo, Monster High, Pokemon, Spongebob and Power Rangers to just name a few. You can see all of the building set themes on their product page.

 Let Anthony show you about all of the Despicable me 3 sets he built below:

Find Mega Construx on Amazon and other retailers near you.

Education, Kids, Parenting, School, STEM Learning

DMA STEM Summer Camps Filling Fast – Save $75

DMA STEM Summer Camps Filling Fast - Save $75

DMA STEM Summer Camps

Digital Media Academy technology summer camps allow kids and teens to discover their passion for STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) through fun and exciting hands-on courses and collaboration at a location near you.


It’s our mission to foster a learning community of diversity and excellence through memorable and innovative educational experiences led by the highest-quality instructors; building skills and confidence to empower lifelong learners to follow their dreams and make a lasting impact.

We also know that, girls may shy away from subjects like science, technology, engineering, and math because they are often seen as male-dominated fields. To change that, Digital Media Academy is committed to increasing girls’ confidence in coding and STEM subjects through immersive courses taught by role models and mentors dedicated to empowering all learners, creators, and makers. DMA’s Made By Girls initiative aims to build tech confidence in young women, and was created exclusively to support early positive experiences with technology.


Learn the skills of tomorrow this summer at a location near you! With hands-on summer camps for kids and teens ages 6-17, there is no limit to what you can create this summer at Digital Media Academy.


Popular courses include Intro to Java Programming, VR & Game Design Academy, Wearable Tech & Fashion Design, and the Filmmaking Academy, and much more!

Save BIG on summer camps for a limited time! Use discount code TECHFUN17 for $75 off each summer camp registration. The savings is $35 off our Jr. Adventures courses. Don’t wait – with limited seats available, summer camps are filling fast! Offer expires 5/1/17.

DMA Summer Camps Contact

Question? Call us at 866-656-3342 or send an email to to speak with a Camp Advisor.

Apps, Education, Kids, Parenting, STEM Learning

Use the Game of Minecraft to Build Your Own Computer with Piper

Sample sent for feature


If you have a child, chances are Minecraft has made it into your home. We have 3 boys ages 8-24. When the 2 older boys were young the games were simple, mind numbing or combative and we had strict rules on when they could play or not play and time limits. As our youngest grew into gaming age he wasn’t as engaged or interested until Minecraft. Piper saw that too and has developed a DIY STEM learning kit that uses the game of Minecraft to build your own computer.

piper minecraft 5

I immediately went into time limits and rules until……

I realized that Minecraft was genius in every possible way. This is more than a game, it is a step into an engineering and mathematical world that is brilliantly instilling these skills in our youngest children as they play, or build. My son knows rock types, building matter, stone types and properties. He can calculate building with height, weight and durability. He knows what withstands storms, fire and keeps intruders out. He has built rooms that would blow a standard home blueprint out of the water. He even build an elaborate Goosebumps Mansion in his game of Minecraft world. Now this STEM activity has turned into a passion to learn coding.

Piper mineraft3

I have all boys so I only know boy stuff. His school offers fun after school programs and the last set offered a coding class. He did not win the lottery to be in that class but other kids did and the amount of girls volunteering was amazing. They know and love Minecraft too. Nothing excites me better then when a common love for science and math between both boys and girls develops and gaming and schools have encouraged this genuine passion for building. Piper obviously sees the passion growing as well with the DIY computer.

Piper Minecraft

Inside the Piper box:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • laser-cut case
  • wires
  • buttons
  • lights
  • switches
  • sensors
  • breadboards
  • everything else needed to start exploring DIY electronics

Piper Monecraft2

In order to successfully complete Piper, users must build components and circuits to advance through Minecraft which rewards the user with power ups and special abilities throughout the game. Piper gives real-time feedback to ensure each component is built correctly and is completely safe since there is no dangerous soldering.  It is a start for this world of building and inventing. Once built they will proudly have fun with Piper using the contents from their build to perhaps invent home devices or power and charge things around the home. The possibilities are there.

Piper Mineraft7

Once you construct the actual box and complete the blueprint instructions, you will power on the computer to a version of the game of Minecraft. We had no issues as it turned right on and it will walk your child through a set up of the remaining items and a bit of education so they know what they are and why they are connecting such pieces. We had a blast and I believer every classroom needs this for STEM learning. My son stayed thoroughly engaged through every screw he turned. Visit to learn more