I still remember when my son’s then first-grade teacher asked if they could test him for the gifted program in our school district. I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure?” I just thought my sweet, curious boy asked a lot of questions. Like, a whooooole lot. But gifted? Even after he was identified as qualifying for our program, navigating next steps was extremely challenging. I had to understand my rights with the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan); find him educational support outside of school; and then figure out how it would impact his siblings and whether they should be tested too....Read More
Tag: educational kids’ activities
If this gorgeous spring weather has you itching to get outside with your family, we’ve got the perfect excuse to head out to one of our national parks this weekend: it’s free! This year, the National Park Service turns 100 years old, and to celebrate, during National Park Week (April 16-24), admission at all national parks will be free. As in, totally free. For everyone. Whoo! Related: 22 National Parks and Sites you can visit without hiking boots. Maybe even without a plane ticket. Of course, we’ve been motivated do whatever we can to support to the awesome National Parks program lately, as...Read More
When I look back at some of my biggest parenting fails, most of them have occurred when I haven’t taken the time to consider my kids’ emotions or help them process their worry, anger, fear, or whatever else it is they are experiencing right in that very moment. That’s why I’m loving the beautiful new card game illustrated by Jaime Letourneau, A Penny For Your Thoughts, created to help kids talk about emotions. I spent some time this week playing this game with my most passionate — read: unpredictable — child at bedtime, and I saw an almost immediate positive impact in his (or her,...Read More
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve been sharing so many ways to help get our kids excited about historic female heroes both past and present. It made me think to take some time this past weekend to browse through my bookshelf and pull out some inspiring books about historic women for my kids. And that includes my sons too, because it’s so important to me that my boys grow up with the inherent understanding that women are an important part of history and will continue to change the world in so many ways. From Malala to the Queen of Katwe to the underrated women of...Read More
One of the great ways to get our kids excited to learn about anything at all is through crafts and coloring pages. So for National Women’s History Month this year, we searched the web to find some of the very best printable coloring pages featuring groundbreaking American women. We tried to stick with really good renderings of the women; so these are more lifelike than cartoon-y. Also, wow. It was hard to stop at just 16. A follow-up may be in order! Some of these famous women coloring pages are free, and a few cost a little bit to support the...Read More
I adore almost all children’s books, and thank goodness for that since I am a mom of four kids. But there’s one genre — the ABC book — that makes my eyes glaze over. Hey, you can only read “A is for apple” so many times. Over the years, however, I’ve found some really cool and modern takes on the typical ABC books for kids that (gasp) even I sometimes choose when it’s my turn to pick a book to read to my kids. If your child is learning their letters — or even if they’re already reading chapter books — these ABC books will...Read More
We’re big fans of supporting quality journalism, especially in this age of where fake news is running rampant. Because, facts matter. (Not that this is a big stake in the ground, mamas. I mean, is any normal person really like, “Whoo! Fake news! We need more of it!” Let’s hope not.) So when I learned about The New York Times Sponsor a Subscription Program, I was so excited to share this with other parents and educators who feel the same way. Related: 10 free educational online resources for curious kids that every parent should know. A donation of just $2–4 provides a free subscription...Read More
My printer is no stranger to the many free printable coloring pages it churns out for my kids, and if you know what I’m talking about, then joy of joys! You can currently get access to dozens and dozens of free printable coloring pages from top libraries, museums and cultural institutions, allowing kids to color in real artwork and vintage illustration to make them all their own. The one catch: This global coloring fest ends Friday, February 10 so hurry! Related: 21 of the coolest coloring books for adults The effort is called #ColorOurCollections and while lots of options probably fall more into adult coloring page territory, I’ve...Read More
Well, this isn’t something we get to share everyday: A new, never-before-published Mark Twain story will be released this fall. (Can you hear us cheering from here?) The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine is a fairy tale that Twain left unfinished, but Philip Stead and Erin Stead, the brilliant Caldecott-winning duo behind A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Lenny and Lucy, have stepped in to finish the story and illustrate it beautifully. We couldn’t be more excited. Related: 9 lovely children’s books about the immigrant experience to help encourage more kindness and empathy Related: This new book for girls has us shouting, WOW! Twain...Read More
Last week, we introduced you to 3 cool kid inventors who we actually got to meet and chat with on behalf of our sponsor Autodesk. Well, since then, my tween Quinlan, who actually interviewed the inventors on Facebook Live (so fun!), has been learning how to use Tinkercad. She’s been playing around with this free web tool, creating 3D designs the same way those remarkable kids created their own inventions. I’ve been so amazed seeing how my daughter can just take an idea from her own imagination, design it, and use a 3D printer to print and hold it in her hand. And did I mention it’s fun? Take...Read More
I’m all about supporting our nation’s National Park Service in any way we can, especially because of the myriad ways they support us right back. So I’m thrilled to share the brilliant initiative to get even more kids to our National Parks and Monuments around the country: Every Kid in a Park. Created by President Obama to get more children excited about science, nature, and understanding the beauty and history of our nation, the program will grant your family totally free access (yes, free!) to all Federal lands and waters. Plus, you’ll get a massive discount on Amtrak tickets for kids if you’re training it there....Read More
An excellent list of MLK books, videos and resources to help kids understand the reason for the holiday.
Over the years, we’ve put together so many fantastic ways to help honor the important, impactful work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially to help families be able to discuss how we might all carry on his legacy. We hope you’ll check out these books, videos, websites, craft ideas and activities, with the hope that more of our kids are inspired do their own part to create a world filled with peace, equality and justice for all. 4 Fantastic Books for Kids about Martin Luther King to Help Educate While You Celebrate Here’s his entire I Have a Dream...Read More
As we approach MLK Day, we’re thinking it’s the perfect time to get our kids learning about activism and about how one man, through his peaceful and steadfast fight for equal rights for all, made lasting changes and a huge impact on generations. Inspired by his words — “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — and motivated by his actions, we’ve put together a list of 10 children’s books about activism that we think will inspire our kids, in turn. From stories our littlest readers will enjoy to non-fiction books that motivate our older kids to take action about those things they believe in, we...Read More
We’re firm believers that kids can change the world. In fact, there are kids doing it right now. So we’re sharing three kid inventors we’re absolutely thrilled to know about because their work is so mind-blowingly amazing, it gives us remarkable hope for the future. (Yay, kids!) What’s more, if you love what they’re doing, you can have a chance to “meet” them at the Kid Inventors’ Day celebration on January 17, when we interview them on Facebook Live, thanks to our sponsor Autodesk. If you’re not familiar with Autodesk, check out their free, easy-to-use web-based tool Tinkercad that allows anyone ages 4 and...Read More
Once again, we’re happy to have compiled the best lists of all the best children’s books of the year, curated by the top publishers, reviewers, organizations, and bloggers we respect. And boy, was it a fantastic year for children’s literature and storybooks. You’ll surely find lots of great new discoveries from the New York Times to the American Library Association, from NPR to well-curated blogs like Brainpickings and Brightly and…well, us! So start with our own list of the best children’s books of 2016, then check out some other perspectives. We bet a few of your kids’ favorites will be on here, and you’ll surely find some new ones you’ll be excited to add to...Read More
It’s no secret that parents love finding tech gifts for kids that we can justify as being both fun and educational, but the true test isn’t whether we think they’re cool — but rather, whether our own kids play with them. Over and over again. That’s why we we’re so thrilled to have partnered with our newest sponsor Bitsbox. (And you dedicated Spawned podcast listeners already know just how thrilled!) This clever subscription box gift masterfully and clearly teaches kids how to code their own apps that actually work on smartphones and tablets. Like my 9-year-old son’s Burping Obama app. (Not coming to an app store near you,...Read More
We love how the Internet can help us when it comes to raising a generation of more curious kids. There are just so many remarkable free educational online tools and resources that help support a child’s natural curiosity, and even help push them a little (or a lot) when it comes to learning about all kinds of subjects and sparking their passion about the world around them. That’s exactly what our newest sponsor, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (or CTY, as it’s been fondly known for more than 30 years), does for bright kids and their families. And if you don’t know about...Read More
Move over family movie night — we found 4 fun art activity books the whole family can enjoy together.
In an effort to reduce screentime at home, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks around the bend, I’ve been stocking up on some arts and crafts-type activity books for kids. Instead of everyone sitting on the couch, looking at their own devices, now we sit around the kitchen table and work on these projects together. And yes, of course, it’s blissfully peaceful and it happens every single night. Heh. In reality, though, sometimes I just pass an art activity book over to my kid to keep them busy while I’m working on something else. There’s no craft supply shopping or Pinterest-searching required;...Read More
In a world where a quick Google search can answer even the toughest question in just seconds, we love the delicious act of waiting for a surprise in the mail. But while most subscription boxes give you a pretty good idea of what to expect (makeup and books, hooray!), we found one very unique subscription box for kids ages 9 to 14 that remains just as magical and enigmatic as the Loch Ness Monster, right up until they open the box. Thanks to the geniuses at Wonder and Company, every few months, your child will receive a Kids’ Mystery Box delivered right to...Read More
This election in particular has been a tough one for me to wade through all the issues with my kids, so I’ve been getting creative with how I’m involving them in our family’s political discussions. I’ve been implementing Kristen and Liz’s great tips for talking politics with your children in a nasty election year, and I’m also planning to take mine with me when I vote so they can see firsthand what that experience is really like. I’ve also been looking for some fun political activities for kids to help mine get a little involved and learn a thing or two about our election process....Read More
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