Tag: educational

Thank-you cards that your kids will love to write

My mom was amazing with personal notes–she always produced the loveliest card, written just-so, perfectly on-time, for every occasion.  Her mastery of the art form skipped a generation. But the good news is that means my kids have a fair shot at note-writing expertise–and these adorable new educational cards can only help. Letter Learning is a line of educational greeting cards for kids, invented by teacher and mama Ellen Richard. There’s a card for every occasion–from birthdays to party invites to “just because,” with cute illustrations and pre-made words that kids trace out so that they’re “writing” while learning to write...

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Math is hard? No way.

No sooner did Team Umizoomi launch on Nick Jr. last year that my preschooler fell in love. Madly and deeply. Let’s say she occasionally insists on being called Geo, her favorite color has gone from purple to blue, and best of all, she’s excited about math. That’s the kind of TV influence I can get behind. With one DVD out and another launching in time for your kid to get back-to-preschool, it’s a good way to help get your kid excited about “mighty math powers” too. While I don’t think every Noggin show lives up to the “preschool on...

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A Street Through Time : Timeless

It is rare to find a book that all three of my boys can enjoy together. With such varied interests, I long for something captivating (and non-electronic) that has the ability to sustain their attention long enough for me to take a shower. DK Publishing has answered my prayers. A Street Through Time is a beautiful book, and educational to boot. The premise is simple; each page follows the same street through thousands of years of history using hyper-detailed illustrations. The book begins with stone age hunters, and each page that you flip takes you to another era in...

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Pop art for tots

If you know kidrobot, then you know its team of artists create masterpieces of culture. Lots of words have been used to describe the appeal, and I love all of them: quirky, pop-art, Warholesque, cartoonish, comical….the list goes on. There are even a few of their toys on display at MOCA in NY. Well, now it’s your child’s turn. My kids dig Dunny, kidrobot’s creature (monster? robot? animal?) that absolutely takes on a life of its own once the artist gets her hands on it. Now there’s also Munny, Dunny’s friend with smaller ears. With some markers and a...

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Teaching kids to read just gets more and more fun.

When my kids were younger, I used to leave the Closed Captioning up on the television so they could get familiar with the words coming out of the mouths of their favorite cartoon characters. Taking this idea one step further and more effectively, in my opinion, are the Readeez series of DVD’s and downloads that we’ve featured both here and on Cool Mom Tech. Now, there’s a new one out that’s totally worth a look for parents whose kids are just learning to read. {keep reading for a great giveaway and a special discount on anything in the Readeez...

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Celebrate Black History Month in good company

Having just observed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day last month, my kids are familiar with this major figure in black history. But I want them to know that history goes well beyond one man (or woman), and the fact that February is also Black History Month gives me a good excuse.  To give me a hand, I’ve been turning to the Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD series, always a great resource for finding age-appropriate and smart stories for my kids. Here are a whole bunch that are perfect for starting conversations around Black History Month. Duke Ellington and More...

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Getting Meryl Streep to read your child to sleep

I’m pretty sure that most mamas will agree that there’s nothing–nothing!–like a good children’s book. Or a box full of them. Or, if your kids are anything like my 3-year-old, a bedroom that is basically Book Central. But my kiddo is also quick to swipe her dad’s iPad or my iPhone and settle in with the educational games we’ve downloaded for her. So the new children’s story app we’ve found is right up her book-loving alley–and some of the celebrity narrators make it even more delightful. [ADDED: don’t miss a great giveaway after the jump!] The new children’s storybook...

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The Clever Detective sneaks some math into gametime

As a homeschooling mom, my kids know that I’m often trying to sneak learning moments into our day. Unfortunately, they are now old enough to resist my attempts to shove some factoids down their throats; often they aren’t trying to be mean, it’s just their way of saying: Lighten Up Mom. But today we played a game that had us all giggling and smiling. Oh, and doing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  The game that got us to combine fun with math—something my nine year old would swear is impossible—is Young Learners’ The Clever Detective by Italian game company Clementoni. The object of the...

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Read, write, learn, wipe, repeat.

I was absolutely blown away when my four year-old, in a single day, suddenly mastered lowercase letters. No thanks to me, of course. This time, all the credit goes to the new Brain Quest write and erase alphabet book. Filled with 40 pages of coated, wipe on/wipe off pages and complete with one of those dry erase pens (which argh, just make sure your kids keep it away from the couch), it’s such a clever new format from the folks who make some of the best workbooks in the world. The whole thing is the perfect size to tuck...

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The perfect gift for bookworms with authority

It was a red-letter day in our household when each child was old enough to get his or her own library card. They love picking out books, handing their card over to the librarian and then skipping out with their new reads. What they don’t love is listening to me hound them to find those books under their covers, inside the couch cushions or off the floor of the car when it’s book-return time.  But, now they’ve got a cool new kit that let’s them play library whenever they want, and it’s missing just the thing that bugs them...

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A new app that teaches kids Chinese? Xie Xie! (Thank you!)

Yesterday my son had a playdate with a little Chinese girl, coincidentally the same day I downloaded Chinese for Munchkins to my iPhone. The amazed look on her face when I asked them if they had seen a hóu zi or a lóng (a monkey or a dragon) at school was priceless. The look on my son’s face was decidedly more, Woman, what are you doing!? Stop being a dork! Chinese for Munchkins is an adorable app to teach words for animals and numbers to kids, or frankly anyone who wants to learn a little bit about a language...

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It’s true, fish really is brain food

So it’s become pretty clear that iPhone apps can be God’s technological gift to parents wanting to avoid toddler meltdowns in restaurants and pediatrician offices. Some of my favorite apps for the younger set come courtesy of Duck Duck Moose, which is slowly taking over the “educational app” category with their graphically clever learning games. When your 2-4 year old is ready to take those Sesame Street concepts a little further, they’ll love Fish School which uses funny little fishies, humorous sound effects, positive reinforcement, and an incredibly simple interface to help teach letters, numbers, shapes and more. The...

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U play, U learn, U smile.

I have a true story to tell you–a tale of DOG, and DOG, and DOGGIE, MAMA, DOGGIE. At least, that’s how it began. My 17-month-old son says only four words, but I can tell that he understands a lot more. Now, thanks to the U Play Mat by Play This Way, I am 100% certain that the child is a genius. The U Play Mat is a brilliant feat of engineering by Dr. Jen, mother of two sets of twins. (I know–I’m amazed she can hear herself think at all, too.) Watching her son with a speech therapist, she...

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We built this city on nouns and verbs

The first thing I thought when I checked out the Grammaropolis website is that it’s like Grammar Rock and the Mr. Men books had an adorable love child. You’ve got the catchy music, the little cartoon parts of speech (the verb is a superhero ready for action, and the interjection kind of looks like a cheerleader), and then a variety of ways for kids to get their language on. Watch the video–my favorite part is when Gramma pops up to say thanks for the song and they’re all, No, Gramma, it’s not Gramma Ropolis, it’s Grammaropolis! You’ll only have...

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They Might Be Giants takes on science and like that, a whole generation of future physicists is born.

Hearing my six year old singing songs like Meet the Elements or Photosynthesis makes my geeky-heart’s day, especially considering they are songs from my old favorites They Might Be Giants, on their new kids’ CD & DVD combo Here Comes Science. Normally, anything titled “Here Comes Science” would have me stifling a yawn, but John and John have managed to make educational science songs both brain- and ear-worthy — an instant classic. My 5, 6 and 8 year-olds are the perfect age for this album, whose subject matter is more complex than TMBG’s earlier releases, Here Come the ABC’s...

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Making math fun. You heard me.

My oldest is cursed with two parents are good at math. Yes it’s a curse, because while we can help her with her homework, we also tend to get frustrated at the drop of a hat: How can you NOT understand that? Guilty as charged. So I was relieved that she took an instant liking to DreamBox Learning, a subscription online educational math game for K-2 that is above and beyond any other I’ve seen. DreamBox actually adjusts each lesson — the difficulty, the pacing, the information provided to my daughter as she plays — based on her answers...

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Oh my oh my oh dinosaurs

Kids love dinosaurs and are fascinated with the idea of monstrous animals that roamed the earth and ate each other for breakfast. It’s only natural that they start asking more questions than sometimes we know how to answer– how the dinosaurs got here, what came before them, and how it all fits together. And until now, there just weren’t many science toys that explored evolution on a kid’s level. Founded by research scientist and mom Dr. Kate Miller, the site Charlie’s Playhouse is a wealth of information, toys and games that introduce children to evolution, natural selection, and the...

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Education.com: Just Tell Your Kids It’s Called FunStufftoDo.com

Summer can be l-o-n-g when the weather is bad, the kids are bored and I refuse to turn the television on to pass the time. Thankfully, I have just discovered hundreds of activities on education.com. With a neat feature that lets me choose activities for kids based on grade level (pre-k through 12) I am assured that I’ll pick something that won’t have my kids whining about baby games. My oldest often complains that I try to turn everything into “a learning opportunity” so I’m most happy that the site’s activities teach kids something without being so blatantly obvious...

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Ordering french fries isn’t actually speaking French

Bilingual educational tools are all the rage in the US these days and The Cool Mom Picks editors have certainly come across our share of DVDs, CDs, books and other tools to get kids speaking everything from Spanish to…well, not Sanskrit. Yet. One of the cooler options we’ve found is the Little Pim series of foreign languge DVDs. Their creator, Julia Pimsleur-Levine is both a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of an acclaimed language professor and it’s clear from the quality that she knows her stuff. When my daughter said, "Mommy, panda video again!" after the first watching I...

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