Tag: educational

She’s the First: A charity by girls, for girls, and a total inspiration to us all.

Like many of the world’s greatest ideas, She’s the First began with a cupcake bake sale (okay, maybe not many great ideas begin with a bake sale, but I say it’s never a bad place to start) and from there it’s grown to become an organization doing exceptional, impactful work creating educational opportunities for girls most in need. Let’s just say after reading up on it, I’m left feeling not just impressed, but inspired. Co-founded by 23-year-old Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt, She’s the First grants scholarships to girls in low-income countries to help them become first-generation graduates, knowing this leads to a host of other benefits for the girls and...

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16 essential skills kids learn from LEGO, and fantastic resources to help get them going

Of all the toys that have passed through the hands of my three kids over the past dozen or so years, there is no question that LEGO bricks have been the most enduring and versatile. From their first little plastic bucket of mixed bricks, to those 1000+ piece architectural kits that require hours of concentration, LEGO remains a favorite toy — for all of us — even up against the siren song of video games. But even more than just being fun, I love the important skills that LEGOs can teach. I’ve seen so many of them firsthand as a...

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5 free summer reading challenges for kids. Prizes included!

Even though I’ve got a couple of avid readers in my house, I’m always looking for ways to continue to encourage them to pick up a book. Thankfully, there are no shortage of summer reading challenges that offer kids a little incentive for their participation. Whether you’re trying to give your reluctant reader a little motivation summer, or just want something to reward your voracious book lover, here are 5 free summer reading challenges for kids that you’ll want to check out, all of which offer participants prizes. Related: 3 simple tips from LeVar Burton to get your kids...

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8 of the best teacher appreciation printables to help your kids say thanks

When we asked teachers what they thought made the best teacher gifts a couple of years ago, an overwhelming number of them said a personal note from their students was the one thing that really made their day. Yes, gift cards, classroom books, and handmade gifts are nice (and always appreciated!), but getting a handwritten note of thanks takes very little work and goes a very long way in showing appreciation to teachers after a long year. However, I think we can all agree that getting all kids to sit down a write a thoughtful note isn’t always so easy, so we’ve...

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The 2016 National Spelling Bee winners. And tips for getting your kids excited about spelling.

The 2016 National Scripps Spelling Bee finals ended last night and just wow. For the third year running, two amazing kids tied as winners: 13 year old Jairam Pathwar of Upstate NY, and Austin Texas’ Nihar Janga who is only 11. Wow. To clinch the number-one slot from among 285 contestants, Jairam and Nihar persevered through words like juamave, Biniou and zindiq, finally closing the deal with winning words gesellschaft (Nihar) and Feldenkrais (Jairam). All I can think of is that Rosenkrantz and Feldenkrais are Dead, but I know that’s not right. (Turns out it’s a method of education, like Waldorf or Montessori — two words I actually can...

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Making chemistry more fun with My First Science Textbooks

Anyone of us parents who can still recite the Preamble to the Constitution thanks to the animated shorts of Schoolhouse Rock knows how much kids can learn (and retain) when information is presented in the right way, a.k.a, learning without realizing you’re learning. So, we are so intrigued by a series of beginner chemistry books that hope to make the behaviors of protons, neutrons, and atoms as absorbable as, say, the superpowers of Spiderman. My First Science Textbooks by Genius Games founder John Coveyou is currently blowing up Kickstarter by reaching over 10 times its goal. Clearly, there are a lot of us parents who want...

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Because Of Them, We Can: Where kids honor our Black History heroes, charmingly

To be honest, Black History Month is year round for me. As a black woman, especially one living in the U.S., I’m reminded of and inspired by the endless contributions of black people to the collective betterment of this nation on a daily basis. And now, as a mother raising a brown boy here, I’m even more grateful for Black History Month to help me educate my son about the expansive history of African Americans. One remarkable non-profit campaign that I’ve leaned on to introduce him to new, significant heroes is Because Of Them, We Can. What started as a visual project...

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Festive Roots: Very cool craft kits for kids that help them be smarter global citizens too.

My kids can easily spend an hour at the kitchen table working on a good DIY project, so I’m always on the lookout for cool crafts kits that will pique their interest. Lately, it’s been the globally-minded kits from Festive Roots, which helps teach kids about cultural celebrations all across the world through crafting. Which is such a fantastic idea! Each kit includes three crafts inspired by a holiday from countries like China, India, and Mexico. The trunks come straight to your mailbox with everything — and I mean, everything — you’ll need to complete the craft. There’s no dreaded, Mom, where’s our glue stick? halfway through. The kit we...

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The 2016 Coretta Scott King book award winners: Great reads for MLK Day and beyond

I don’t want to let holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day slip by with my kids thinking it’s just an extra day off of school. So if you’re like me and are looking for some ways to honor the spirit of MLK while you’re home today, we highly recommend you check out last week’s winners and honorees of the 2016 Coretta Scott King book awards which we briefly mentioned in our roundup of all the best book lists and award-winners of the past year. This is a list of winners we share each year because it’s important for us to seek out diverse stories from diverse authors, that aren’t always...

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The ultimate list of the best kids’ books of 2015: All the annual best-of lists and award winners all in one place.

We’ve loved our annual new year tradition of compiling the best kids’ books of the year, thanks to all the major (and not entirely major) best-of lists and big children’s book awards of 2015 from publications, experts, and organizations we respect. We’re talking everyone from the New York Times and the ALA to NPR, and smaller but beautifully curated lists from the likes of Brainpickings and Brightly. While we recently put together our own list of the best children’s’ books of 2015 that we’re quite proud of, there’s no way we could get through every new book released. So we hope you take a look...

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Immerse your kids in Chinese culture without the super long plane ride

We love finding new ways to teach our kids about the big, diverse world that extends far beyond the boundaries of their neighborhood and town. And while nothing can replace actually going to the countries themselves, playsets like this one from Whole Wide World Toys may help even our littlest jet setter hopefuls learn all about different countries in a way that is fun and educational. And their first stop? The huge country of China. What makes Whole Wide World Toys’ World Village China Playset so neat is how it incorporates a ton of age-appropriate information along with the toys themselves. Each playset comes with...

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Books about manners for kids: 6 excellent options, just in time for the holidays

We figured this was a pretty good time to start looking around at some great — and effective — books about manners for kids. I’m sure you feel me; my family calendar is already so booked over the next couple months, which means lots of opportunities for my kids to show off their best manners. Or, their worst manners when they get really tired. Which they will. So, books! That’s always a good way to help me better talk to my kids about any subjects without them feeling like I’m nagging them. These six books about manners for kids cover the do’s and don’ts of polite...

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It’s time to make some fun family memories. Are you game?

This is a sponsored message from SimplyFun board games With Thanksgiving break coming up this week and Hanukkah and Christmas not far behind, it’s a great time to be thinking about getting a few family game nights on the calendar. You probably have your own childhood memories of the one relative who always cheated at backgammon, or the younger sibling who whooped the whole family that one time with some amazing beginner’s luck. Now it’s time to make some memories for your own kids. SimplyFun board games is on a mission to make families stronger through collaborative gameplay. They offer more than 100 award-winning games around educational concepts from reading to math, to critical thinking,...

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The coolest travel books for kids of all ages. Because no, we’re not there yet.

We’re getting close to the holidays, which for many families means road trips with the kids. And there’s nothing more fun, right? Hahahahha. I recently did 16 hours in the car with my three kids — each way — and lived to tell the tale. If there’s one thing I learned on that trip (other than that I’ll never do it again) it’s that movies are an easy way to pass the time, but at some point the kids need their alone time. And books are great for that. So, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite travel books for kids of...

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#62MillionGirls are not able to go to school. Here’s one easy thing you can do about it.

Today is the International Day of the Girl. And while we talk so much here about how important it is to empower and educate our girls every day, if they’re not even in school, both of those things are nearly impossible. So we thought one of the best things we could do today is share the #62MillionGirls campaign from the awesome folks at Girls Rising in partnership with Michelle Obama.  They’re using the power of social media — and some major celebs — to help get the word out about the 62 million girls in the world, half of whom are adolescent, who are denied the right...

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The Incredible Intergalatic Journey Home: A new personalized book that’s out of this world

When we first discovered the Lost My Name books, well, sold. They were about the most beautifully conceived, perfectly executed, personalized books for kids we had ever seen. We’ve since bought them as gifts and recommended them to tons of of our own friends. So of course we were thrilled to have the chance to team up with the smart folks at Lost My Name — who include three cool dads and one cool uncle — for the U.S. launch of their brand new title, The Intergalactic Journey Home, which takes the personalization to a remarkable new level. And yes, we’ve said that...

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Documentaries to watch with kids about other kids: 6 entertaining and thought-provoking films we love

Here’s an idea: The next time your kids ask (politely, of course) to watch their favorite movie — as in, the animated feature or superhero flick they’ve seen a million times — why not suggest a documentary instead? Now before you roll your eyes like my husband, who insists that “documentaries aren’t movies” I’m not talking about some monotonous British voice narrating educational nature scenes like when I was a kid. So far this year, I’ve been captivated by documentaries on everything from Kurt Cobain, to Scientology, to mountain climbing, that have hit theaters nationwide. And now, thank to streaming services like Amazon, Netflix,...

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This is kids’ music? 6 new family albums that may surprise even the pickiest adult listeners

I know there are parents who say they don’t like kids’ music and don’t understand why kids can’t just listen to whatever the adults are listening to, perhaps just quickly turning down the volume on their own playlists when the lyrics get a bit too mature. But, like Stefan Shepard of Zooglobble once said, and I paraphrase, if kids can — and should — have their own books, movies and television shows, why shouldn’t they have their own age-and-developmentally appropriate music that happens to be awesome too? If you haven’t learned from our own site by now, not all kids’ music...

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Smart tees for kids that will make teachers happy in more ways than one

We imagine that nothing makes a teacher happier than seeing their students light up about a subject, ready to learn more. Whether you’ve got a number lover, a big reader, a mini scientist, or an artist-in-residence — or maybe a mix of all of the above — you need to check out these adorable, brand new smart tees for kids from CMP favorite Brooklyn Makers. Not only do they feature messages we can get behind, but a significant portion of the sales will help disadvantaged school districts so that all kids get the chance to discover their favorite subjects. Related:  11 cool career t-shirts for...

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How to make your own photo-real gifts and gear: One cool trend you can totally DIY easily.

You may not have heard the term “photo-real,” before — I hadn’t — but you’ve most likely seen this trend all over boutiques, fashion spreads, and your kids’ own gear, since it’s been growing steadily for the past few years. From backpacks to leggings to cell phone cases, we’re seeing photographs of real objects replacing illustration and other patterns. It can look so cool, and our kids are kind of going crazy for photo-real gear. So we thought we’d share some tips for how you can hop on this trend too, and even DIY your own photo real gifts. It’s easy, we...

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