Archive for the ‘Play + Learn’ Category

This Summer Take an Adventure in Learning

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

3 projects to make summer learning adventurous

Looking for something to keep the kids’ minds active this summer? While free-play is the best, it’s also good to throw in a few more structured activities now and then. Here are a few of my favorite activities to check out. They’re guided but allow for lots of room to put your own spin on things. (more…)

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Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Earth Day Activities

Hellooooo there people of Earth!

Man, it’s hard to believe I’m writing this while floating on a rock hurtling through space. So weird, right? Weirder than that, you’re reading this on the exact same rock traveling through the exact same space. And weirder than that are all the other people on this rock with us. Look around. There are more than 7 billion of them. SEVEN BILLLLLLION!

Isn’t Earth lucky to have so many of us to take care of her?

Today is Earth Day, so let’s celebrate! Here are some projects to spark conversations, inspire action, and celebrate our beautiful home.

Turn an old teeshirt into a reusable shopping/schlepping bag
Be inspired to hug a tree and blow a kiss to is after you learn some of the things they do for us
Help a feathered friend out by building it a feeder
Observe those smaller than you that call Earth home too
Clean the air around you by bringing some Earth in

Now go out there and show Mother Earth some love!

Posted in Parties & Celebrations, Play + Learn, Science Fun | Comments Off




The Shape of Things

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

love this shape book for kids - it goes beyond identification and encourages kids to pair shapes together to create new characters
The question isn’t when is a circle not a circle? It’s when is a circle more than a circle? The second question goes beyond identification and requires a healthy imagination. And that is the type of question author and illustrator, Joyce Hesselberth, wants to help our kids answer.

Joyce has a brand new book out called Shape Shift. If Joyce’s name sounds familiar it may be from her previous shape study PrestoBingo Shapes, or her work on They Might Be Giants video, or her illustrations for the New York Times. She’s a woman whose work gets around…because it’s awesome!

Her latest book, Shape Shift, helps kids identify circles, squares, crescents, diamonds, triangles, rectangles, trapezoids, and ovals. But where it goes beyond the traditional shape book, is when (more…)

Posted in Features, Play + Learn, The Reading Nook | 1 Comment »




Play With Your Food! Tangram Puzzle Sandwich

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

these tangram sandwiches are a fun twist on the classic puzzles

This is my 48th Adventures in Learning post! For this one I adapted a project from a great book about math. It’s a classic twist on tangram puzzles. I love it because it’s creative, whimsical, and dead simple. Plus, it helps challenge kids to think about things differently—geometry is all around us; a sandwich can become art; some rules should be challenged (e.g., a sandwich doesn’t always have to come in halves).

Click here for the full post!

ps. I’ve been working with PBS Parents for nearly two years now. Time has flown and I’ve learned some surprising things. First, I write a lot about math. I was not an exceptional math student in school. I didn’t love it. It stressed me out. I’m sure that’s why I try so hard now to think of ways math would have appealed more to me as a kid. Second, the general public is way harsher than I give them credit for. Like, Whoaaaaa, settle down now people and step away from keyboard. Third, I’m a seriously lucky blogger.

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Creative In-Tent

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

encourage kids to write all summer long with a writing tent (creative writing prompts included!)

Every great writer needs a great space; and there’s no better space than a one-of-a-kind, gen-u-ine, kid-made writing tent. A safe and cozy writing tent can inspire some fantastic tales. Hope on over to PBS Parents to check it out! I’ve also included a list of creative writing prompts to help get those brains buzzing with ideas.

Looking for more summer fun ideas? Check these out…
Arty Scavenger Hunt
Homemade Finish Line
Pretend Play Campfire

ps. Hat tip to Monica Merrill for the title up there. She wrote it in on the PBS Parents page. It totally made me laugh!

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Classic Play + Sprout by HP = Summer of Fun!

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

love this modern twist on the classic scavenger hunt game

This post is sponsored by Sprout® by HP

We have just a few weeks left of the school year and the kids are already amped. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out what we’re going to do all summer. We aren’t ones for camps (they’re so pricey!) or pool memberships (I’m too impatient for the waiting lists, also, I have a fair amount of sun damage already eek!), which leaves us with lots of hours of… oh boy.

Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of different things. While I’m a huge fan of ‘slow summers’ I’m also a fan of setting up some fun things now and then. Basically, guided experiences. I set something up and let the kids take the reigns from there. It gives them a sense of independence, and I get the feeling that I’m kickin’ butt in the parenting department. Also, I like knowing that when they bring me up in therapy later, they’ll discuss how I was an amazing parent that damaged them just enough to make them interesting, but not enough to be the source of all their problems. I’m trying to nail that parenting sweet spot.

My goal for this summer is to encourage creativity and frivolity, both the kids’ and my own. I have lots of plans for guided creative experiences—journaling, building, drawing, games, etc. There are so many ways to express creativity. Oftentimes, it comes down to the tools we use. This summer, I am beyond psyched to use the Sprout® by HP. The kids have already claimed it as their own. It makes creative expression easy.

the sprout by hp

Since I’ve declared this the summer of Creative Expression, we’re kicking it off with a scavenger hunt that combines a creative exercise for me (a bit o’ painting), a creative exercise for the kids (tuning into their environment), an easy set up, and an activity that gets the kids out of the house (and yes, out of my hair for a minute). It’s a win-win-win! And the Sprout will make easy, and fun work of it. Ready?

Painted Block Scavenger Hunt

You’ll Need: (more…)

Posted in Camp Classic Play!, Features, Play + Learn | 2 Comments »




Help Kids Learn Where they Live with a Step Book

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

here's a great idea - make a step book to help kids understand the scale of where they live

Do your kids have trouble knowing the difference between their city, state and country? They’re not alone. It can be a challenging concept to grasp. To help give kids a visual way to understand the difference, try a step book. Hop on over to PBS Parents to learn how to make one. You just need a few sheets of paper.

More Play & Learn Ideas…
A guide to playing adventurously
Hot dog lacing card printable
Math + Art = Musical colors
Make a butterfly chrysalis
No bones about it: Lessons in anatomy

Posted in Play + Learn | 1 Comment »




Earth Day Games & Activities

Monday, April 20th, 2015

What Animal Am I? Earth Day Game via PBS Parents

Looking for a cute Earth Day activity for your kids? Check out this one I created for PBS Parents. It’s scalable so you can spend 10 minutes on it, or, you can have older kids go full geek out and pretend to be a notable Wildlife Biologist. I even did some research and made you a list. Aww yeah, Jane Goodall, everybody!

More Earth Day Activities for Home or School (for you Wild Childs who signed up to be room parents):
Nature Friends Collage
Leaf Stick Puppets
Botanical Bookmarks
Spring Leaf Painting
Butterfly Chrysalis Craft

Posted in Play + Learn, Science Fun | Comments Off