Tag: educational

3 extremely cool world map decals to get kids excited about geography

If your family is anything like ours, you’re only now getting caught up on lost sleep from the Olympics. But in its wake, the games leave us all with a healthy dose of wanderlust and interest in oh, say…Tonga. For no apparent reason. So, we’ve decided to round up some of the coolest world map decals to help inspire your own burgeoning jet-setters who may have gotten excited about learning more about the countries of the world this summer. The graphics are so nice to look at, and some even include a ton of information to qualify them as educational. Decals for the win! Related: Peel-and-stick wallpaper:...

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11 of our favorite childhood books that we can’t wait for our kids to read

There’s something so special about sharing our very favorite childhood books with our kids. When we see our kids falling in love with Anne of Green Gables, or imaging themselves racing through Narnia to defeat the White Witch, there’s a certain jolt of nostalgia that just makes you want to be a kid again, discovering these books for the very first time. So we are so happy to welcome our newest sponsor Epic!, whose affordable e-book subscription service lives right on our kids tablets and gives them access to more than 15,000 books they can read anytime. (And yes, the exclamation point...

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Why I’m emotional about 19th Amendment Day this year, and links to help kids understand the importance.

I am finding myself a little choked up today, on the anniversary of the 19th amendment, in a way I can’t recall ever feeling before. Maybe it’s because this is the first August 18 in which we have a female presidential nominee from a major party. Maybe it’s because this is the first presidential campaign year in which my daughters are old enough to be interested and following along, and I can start to see their own paths as educated and engaged voters of the future. Or maybe it’s just because I’m hitting the age myself where I have enough life behind me to be...

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4 reasons to consider an ecotourism vacation for your family. (Besides being awesome.)

The idea of combining education and conservation with a family vacation is super appealing to parents, which is why ecotourism is such a fascinating concept for me — and maybe for you. If you’re not familiar with ecotourism, it’s aimed at providing travelers with environmental awareness by offering experiences that also support conservation. But in my own research, so many ecotourism vacation options involve heavy travel, often internationally, which can definitely be costly for families — especially for my family of five. That’s why I was so thrilled to learn about Jekyll Island, a small spot off the coast of Georgia,...

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How to talk to your kids about politics? Ken Burns has a book for that.

This election cycle has been pretty brutal, leaving a lot of us wondering how to talk to our kids about politics. Well, I just got a copy of Grover Cleveland, Again! by the celebrated documentarian Ken Burns and illustrator Gerald Kelley, and I’m convinced that reading this with my kids is going to help them understand what being presidential is all about. Related: Turning kids into readers – 3 tips from LeVar Burton to help get your kids excited about books Related: 3 inspiring new picture books for kids that should be on every wish list This big, oversized book fills up my kid’s...

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A super simple tip to help your kids with their summer reading right now

It’s probably one of my kids’ least favorite things to talk about these days: Summer reading. Which is odd, because they really do love to read. They just don’t like someone else telling them what they have to read — and when to read it. Recently, though, a friend recommended this very easy tip: Invest in a summer reading journal to make the required reading a bit more exciting. I decided it was worth a try, and so, I picked up this Reading Journal for Kids (available from our affiliate Amazon, in different versions for kids’ ages and reading levels) to help my...

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Girl power! Our 10 new favorite empowering books for girls

My kids and I have encountered some very memorable girls with very memorable experiences in their children’s books over the years — Madeline’s midnight appendectomy, Freckleface Strawberry (a favorite among my brood of redheads) wearing a ski mask on the playground to hide her freckles, and of course, bossy big-sister Olivia the pig — our favorite non-conformist. And lately, I’ve been seeing an increasing number of empowering books for girls, all non-fiction stories written by women in the last 12 months or so, of girls busting stereotypes and fulfilling their dreams. These books teach our kids anything is possible if you work hard enough and...

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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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