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, 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!

Back to School 2017, Education, Gift Guides

Become a Scientist with Dr Beaker from Blue Orange Games

This feature is in partnership with Blue Orange Games

 

Blue Orange Games has long been a favorite game brand in my home. The games are fun and engaging all while creating a learning environment especially with games of strategy, critical thinking and judgement. Here is a new game called Dr. Beaker.

 

Dr Beaker will bring out the beaker-stirring Scientist in your child. Your beaker is full of ‘molecules’ and it rotates on a turn table inside the beaker. The challenge is to pick a challenge card and with only the stir stick, you have to move the molecules into the same order on the challenge card. It is harder than it looks.

Skills involved:

 

  • Visual Perception
  • Focus & Attention
  • Problem Solving
  • Fine Motor
  • Processing Speed

Visit Blue Orange Games and for the complete line of games. The newer games have the NEW logo attached. You can find these games at many retailers including Amazon. Think end of summer learning! This is a great way to introduce science.

Books Reviews, Children's Books, Education, Reviews by Anthony

Children’s Book: Kobee Manatee Shipwreck Sea Friends

Children's Book: Kobee Mantatee Shipwreck Sea Friends

We have done many book reviews on Parenting Healthy and so far the series that my son would say is one of his favorites is Kobee Manatee and his adventures. I would say it is because this series does a great job incorporating weather and science into the story. Each page offers some science facts in an illustrated brown tag within the page. This newest children’s book is called, Kobee Manatee: Shipwreck Sea Friends

Kobee Manatee

Kobee Mantatee Shipwreck Sea Friends was written in collaboration with world-renowned oceanographer and documentary filmmaker, Fabien Cousteau, oldest grandson of legendary ocean pioneer, Jacques Cousteau! How exciting is that? Anthony will tell you more about the story in the video below:

This is a children’s book that makes a great teacher and classroom gift for the end of the year-collect book 1 and 2 of Kobee Manatee also.

Books Reviews, Children's Books, Education, Reviews by Anthony

Will It Blow? Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens book review

Sample copy sent for feature

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Will It Blow? Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens (revised)

by: Elizabeth Rusch

This book has been a unique level of fun reading it to my son. Anthony is 8 and is loving science. I knew a book about a volcano, especially one right down the highway a few hours from us would intrigue him. As we left page 1 is was evident this is a book packed with so much information and lessons in a very well-organized way.

volcano

It starts off with a letter on you need to know and consider as a volcano detective. You learn facts, history of the mountain, how volcano mountains are formed and timelines. In the end it is your guess as to if and when Mt. St Helens could erupt again.

~ Anthony’s Review ~

Here is Anthony’s opinion of Will It Blow?

~ Where to Buy (think end of year teacher gifts) ~

Find the book on Amazon and book stores near you. It is a fantastic book for kids as they are introduced to science and for the classroom. Makes a great class gift for Teachers at the end of the year.