talk with kids about emotions: ‘inside out’ mini-book and card game

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

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talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

With an 11, 9, and 8 year old, you’d think that we would be over talking about and identifying emotions over here, but we’re not.

In fact, after watching the Disney*Pixar film, Inside Out with my family this summer–and getting a sneak peek of the movie at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference–I realized that as we move swiftly toward the teen years, understanding and talking about emotions is more important than ever.

So I created this cute little Inside Out Mini-Book and card game.

It features the five characters from Inside Out with some space to add some new ones. No, you guys, I’m not asking you to invent new characters for the movie.

Rather, I’m talking about adding other faces for emotions that weren’t included in the movie–emotions that your kids are experiencing.

It’s all about using the movie as a teaching tool. Let’s not just watch the movie and be done with it.

Let’s watch it with our kids and use it as a continued, constant anchor for conversations about emotions.

For real.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Talk With Kids About Emotions–‘Inside Out’ Mini Book and Card Game: 

I’ve shared in the past how important it is to talk with kids about their emotions because when kids can pinpoint how they’re feeling–and share it with their parents–precious time and energy is spared.

And we, as parents, can better support our little loves.

However, identifying emotions is a lot easier for some kids than others–which is no surprise for any parent reading this, I’m sure.  Identifying emotions is sometimes difficult for adults, too, right?

So here’s what we’re doing–

1. First of all, we watched Inside Out.

If you haven’t heard, Inside Out is kind of an interesting, unusual movie. It takes place in the ‘command center’ of 11-year-old Riley’s mind. Rile deals with all of the things that most tweens deal with on top of a big move from her home in the midwest to San Francisco.

With each step and decision, Riley’s emotions–Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust–play important roles.  It’s so unique, it’s unbelievable. We loved this movie, and not just because we have an 11-year-old girl under our roof. This movie rocks.

Check out the trailer below, or head to the theater if you haven’t already seen it.

Like it and want a bit more?

2. We created the Inside Out Mini-Book.

The mini-book isn’t something we’ve taken out every single day and read through; it’s not like that.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

It’s really just a little, quick flip book with each character–Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust–each on a page.  I kept it small because my kids love tiny things and because I want it to be small enough to fit in my purse, a backpack, or a desk drawer.

I also left a few pages blank aside from an open circle. Here, I figured we could draw in faces of emotions that we want to include.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

 

You can download the Inside Out Mini-Book here: mini emotion cards _ teachmama.com

inside out mini book

mini emotion cards _ teachmama.com

 

If you choose to share this document–and we hope you do!–please consider sharing this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

And the cool thing is that if you’re not into the Inside Out Mini-Book, then you can totally print out the cards and play Inside Out Memory with them instead.

Just print out the pages on cardstock so you can’t see through them and play.

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

talk with kids about emotions: | teachmama.com

Really. Super-simple.

And a great way to use what you’ve seen in a top-notch movie for continued learning at home.

It doesn’t matter what you play or how you play it. Just keep the cards–or book–out and the conversation flowing.

 

3. We will continue the conversation. 

Really, emotions are something to talk about continually with kids. And it’s important to stress that no emotions are wrong–that it’s okay to feel sad one day and joyful the next, that it’s normal to feel angry one minute and fearful another.

It’s about learning how to deal with those emotions when they arrive on the scene that’s the hard part.

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

The cool thing is that the producers of Inside Out really, truly put so much more time, effort, and energy into developing this movie than you’ll ever know. 

At the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, we had the chance to hear first-hand from the producer about how much time they put into its development.

Did you know that the whole movie began because of the changes that writer Pete Docter noticed in his own 11-year old daughter? Really. He wanted to figure out what was going on in her brain and what sparked the changes he was noticing.

Check out the photos below of producer Jonas Rivera explaining the background of Inside Out:

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

. . . and here he talks about the development and creation of characters:

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

pixar producer inside out | teachmama.com

 

It’s a movie well worth seeing, friends. But even more than that, it’s worth using as a continued opportunity to chat with our kids about emotions!

 

fyi: I am proud to be a part of the Fandango Family Digital Network and will share a movie-related post quarterly. Parents, check out the deets on Cinderella, including information about the cast and crew, from our friends at Fandango.   Share your #fandangofamily moments for others to see, or check out the Fandango Family Facebook page for fun posts and contests.

I am proud to work with Disney as well. All of the Cinderella images are courtesy of Disney.  Thank you!

chocolate math: age by chocolate

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Our tabletop surprises are rocking and rolling this summer, but one thing that really, truly got the kids’ attention was our first (we have another planned!) chocolate day.

The whole focus was chocolate, and friends, it was pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Who wouldn’t like to talk math and chocolate?

Here’s the skinny. . .

Chocolate Math–Age by Chocolate:

The premise of this day’s activity was twofold–1. figure out their age by chocolate; and 2. watch the multiplying chocolate video and try to figure it out themselves.

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Figuring out Age by Chocolate is tricky but fun.

Some of the math was a bit difficult for Cora, but we walked her through it, and I’m pretty sure it helped. She hasn’t done big multiplication yet, but she will this year in grade three.

Age by math was simply completing this little printable where no matter what number you choose first, as the number of times that you each chocolate each week, your age should come out in the end.

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

age by chocolate _ teachmama.com

Age by chocolate printable: age by chocolate _ teachmama.com

Please, if you choose to share this printable–and we hope you do!–please link to this post instead of the attachment page. Thank you!

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

Pretty cool, right?

I think so, too! And Maddy, Owen, and Cora were also impressed.

But they were really, really impressed with the multiplying chocolate videos. Don’t we all wish that this could be true? That we could make chocolate appear simply by cutting and moving candy pieces a certain way?

I sure do!

Multiplying Chocolate is super cool to watch.

Here it is as a .gif: 

DR57onF

And here’s the video: 

 

Both are really interesting–and relaxing–to watch.

Leave some chocolate bars on the table, and see what your kids can do. (Of course, be careful with knives, friends. . . ).

We tried it but couldn’t get the chocolate to cut straight enough–so we broke the chocolate and ate it.

I mean. Come on. It’s summer.

 

I simply placed the following on the table and let the kids go–

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

 

chocolate math: age by chocolate | teachmama.com

It was a hit as far as tabletop surprises go, and I’m thrilled that we have another chocolate day coming up soon. 

It’ll be all about fractions using chocolate bars, and though I can’t wait for the kids to try it, I am already sad just thinking that summer will be ending soon (sob!).  How can we really be on week six of ten of our 2015 tabletop surprises?

Unbelievable.

So there you have it–just a fun and sneaky way to get the kids doing a little bit of mathy math in the middle of summer and thinking about things in a little different kind of way.

Pretty neat, right?

Have you tried this before? Has it worked? Do share!

 

 

fyi: Huge and happy thanks to Murderous Maths for sharing the Age by Chocolate formula. I am not even going to pretend to be a math whiz, friends, and many of  you know it. I am doing the best I can with what I have. Also thanks to this site for the chocolate bar illustration

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

I can’t even believe it, friends, but (gulp!) school is around the corner.

And before we know it, our schedules will be kicked into high gear. Afternoons and evenings will be filled with homework, activities, projects, meetings, and more, and our lazy days of summer will be a quickly fading memory.

But guess what?

There are a ton of apps out there that can really simplify your life and make your kids’ screen time more productive. Really.

And to get an early jump on the back to school rush, I’ll be chatting about these apps and more on twitter this week. And I want you to join me!

On Thursday July 23 at 8pm ET, join the #BTSTech chat and learn some great tips for how technology can simplify your life as your kids head back to school.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Smart Apps for Busy Families–Get Ready for Back to School! #BTSTech chat

We’ll be giving away some great prizes, too, this week, but first, RSVP below.  Then you’ll be entered to win an Early Bird prize. Woot!

And even more prizes will be awarded during the Twitter event itself.  I am so very excited, my friends.

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

Who: 

What:

We’ll be chatting about how technology can simplify parents’ lives in the back to school season. We’ll also be chatting about:

  • how technology affects parenting;
  • how to monitor and keep your kids safe online;
  • the best apps to use for kids and parents, and much more!

Why:

Because everyone wants life a bit more simple and everyone could use a few new tricks in their back pockets!

Where: 

Twitter! (http://twitter.com) #BTSTech

When:  

Thursday, July 23 at 8 pm Eastern / 7 pm Central / 5 pm Pacific

How:

  1. Before the event, rsvp below
  2. On 7.23.15, log onto twitter
  3. Follow the hashtag #BTSTech
  4. Tweet, re-tweet (RT), and tweet some more!
  5. Optional: Share YOUR fave photos, tips, tricks, and ideas for how technology can make our lives easier when it comes to back to school!

Prizes:

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

BEFORE the Twitter Party: 

  • 1 Early Bird Prize Winner who RSVPs and tweets about #BTSTech will win a free school uniform for his/her child (1 top & 1 bottom) AND a $50 Visa Gift Card for back to school supplies.

DURING the Twitter Party: 

  • 5 Winners each will win a free school uniform for his/her child (1 top & 1 bottom).
  • 1 Grand Prize winner will win a year’s worth of school uniforms AND a $100 Visa Gift Card for back to school supplies.

AFTER the Twitter Party: 

  • Stay tuned for an additional giveaway post for another giveaway prize of a year’s worth of school uniforms.

 smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

Helpful hints for twitter events: 

  • use tweetchat (http://tweetchat.com/room/BTSTech) to make it easier for you
  • visit the panelists’ sites and bring questions, comments or concerns to the event
  • visit our Twitter event how-to for answers to your Twitter event questions.
  • make sure you are following the hosts so you don’t miss a beat!

We look forward to chatting with you on Thursday, July 23th, and we are psyched to connect with you!

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

smart apps for busy families: get ready for back to school! #BTSTech chat

Do your kids wear school uniforms?

Fortunately, the trend of school uniforms is growing to many schools across the nation. And our sponsor FrenchToast.com has been providing quality official school wear to schools for the past 15 years.

Their uniforms range in size from children’s size 4 to Young Men’s and Juniors including special husky, slim and plus sizes.

French Toast uses only high quality fabrics, and their uniforms are distributed through well-known stores throughout the country as well as available online.

Find them online at:

RSVP and Tweet Now

If you will be joining the party, RSVP below and Tweet now with #BTSTech and you’ll be entered to win a free school uniform for your child (1 top & 1 bottom).

[Tweet “I’ll be at #BTSTech Smart Apps for Busy Families Twitter Party w @FrenchToastcom July 23, 8pm ET”]

We’ll also send you an email reminder the day of the party.

Add your Twitter Handle below:
Example Link Text: @5minutesformom
Example URL: https://twitter.com/5minutesformom



 


fyi: I’m being compensated for my role as a Twitter Party panelist by French Toast, but as always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. 

camp google: ocean, space, music and nature weeks

camp google

camp google | teachmama.com

Friends.

I have been working with National Geographic Kids for some time now, as one of their ‘Insiders’ and honestly the coolest thing about it is that I get kind of ‘behind-the-scenes’ information that I can share with you.

Honestly.

Fab books, cool programs, you name it.

And this summer, National Geographic has partnered with Khan Academy, National Parks, and NASA to create some really rockstar at-home ‘camps’ for kids.

Really. It’s called ‘Camp Google’, and of course, along with our tabletop surprises, it’s going to make our summer one that my kids will never forget.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Camp Google–Ocean, Space, Music, and Nature Weeks:

Everything you need is right here–

Check out the video that tells you everything you need to know about Camp Google:

Each week will feature resources and activities led by experts.  You can do them any time you want.

When kids finish an activity, they earn a badge.

You know how kids love badges.

camp google badges | teachmama.com

 

Week One, Ocean Week:

Camp Google- teachmama.com

 

Week Two, Space Week:

camp google | teachmama.com

 

Week Three, Nature Week:

camp google

 

Week Four, Music Week:

 

 

camp google

 

 

I’m thrilled to be able to share this information with you as a fun summer resource for you and your kids.  Check back every week. Let me know what you think!

 

What did you do that really rocked this week? We’d love to hear it!

 

______________________

 

Join us!

 

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

 

Find something fun to do this summer by following our summertime fun board: 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board summer fun & cool for kids on Pinterest.
 

Share it!

camp google  teachmama.com cover 2

 

 

FINAL INSIDER LOGO Hi-Res

So happy to be a National Geographic Kids Insider!

 

need something fun and unplugged for kids?

tabletop surprises week 4 teachmama.com

tabletop surprises week 4  teachmama.com

Friends.

We’re rocking and rolling this summer.

We’re doing just about everything we can to keep ourselves smiling and sane in between 50 thousand swim and dive meets. And though it’s so fun, just about every year we hit a wall come mid July.

Before we know it, though, summer swim and dive will be over, and we’ll (sob!) be getting ready for a new school year.

So like we do every summer, we’re playing with some tabletop surprises so that Maddy, Owen, and Cora can find their own time through the day to explore the fun I’ve got planned.

Tabletop surprises keep the kids active and engaged. And most days, it gives them something unplugged to do in their down time.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Need Something Fun and Unplugged for Kids?

This week we

 

Monday:

watercolor day! #tabletopsurprises #summerfun #artsycraftsy #paint #painting #watercolors

A photo posted by amy mascott (@teachmama1) on

  Tuesday:

watercolor day! #tabletopsurprises #summerfun #artsycraftsy #paint #painting #watercolors

A photo posted by amy mascott (@teachmama1) on


Wednesday:

  Thursday:


Friday:

     

What did you do that really rocked this week? We’d love to hear it!

 

______________________

 

Join us!

 

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

Check out our summertime fun posts: 

 

Find something fun to do this summer by following our summertime fun board: 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board summer fun & cool for kids on Pinterest.
 

Share it!

fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

color puzzles: fun math and logic for kids

color puzzles teachmama.com

color puzzles  teachmama.com

 

Sometimes it’s hard for me to find cool ways of sneaking some math into our day, but recently we’ve been on a puzzle kick.

Puzzles are a super way of getting your brain moving in clever and creative ways, allowing you to stretch those critical thinking skills.

Math is so much more than just number recognition and basic facts. Math is actually the study of numbers, equations, functions, and geometric shapes and their relationships. And there’s a whole lot when it comes to their relationships.

Puzzles help us bring to life those those relationships.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Color Puzzles–Fun Math and Logic for Kids: 

Actually, these color puzzles are fun for kids of all ages. In fact, I’ve done so many of the puzzles I’ve found on this site, that some days an hour will pass and it feels like a heartbeat to me.

color puzzles  teachmama.com

And I’m not really a puzzle person.

It’s just that I find these addicting.

color puzzles  teachmama.com

These are the four color puzzles from Erich Friedman, the puzzle king. 

Erich created every single one of these puzzles, friends; it’s amazing. It’s incredible. Honestly, he must be brilliant.

All I did was make these puzzles accessible to my kids for their summertime tabletop surprises. I wanted to be able to print them out, have the kids work on them whenever they could and not have to be plugged into a device.

So it has worked out well.

color puzzles  teachmama.com`

And if you want to try these awesome four-color puzzles, check out Erich’s site:

Or if you want to download the printable, you may do so here: color puzzles teachmama.com

color puzzles: fun math and logic for kids

color puzzles teachmama.com

If you choose to share this printable, which we hope you do, please first link to Erich’s site, and then share this post. Thank you!

 

Do you know that when Maddy was young, I totally forgot about puzzles?

It’s true.

When she was two, I had a girlfriend and her two children over for a playdate. My pal was explaining how her son, who was also two at the time, couldn’t sit still for television programs but could always sit still to work on a puzzle.

I felt like the earth stopped moving. I was holding Owen at the time, and I remember nearly dropping him. He was about six months old, and he was wiggling out of my arms, and at the same time, I felt dizzy and nauseous.

Puzzles?

OH MY GOSH! HOW I FORGOT ABOUT PUZZLES?!

How will Maddy ever succeed in life, having never even seen a puzzle until she was 26 months old?!

Right.

So as soon as I could politely usher my friend out of the house and get my kids strapped into the car, you better believe I beelined for the toy store.

I grabbed an alphabet puzzle and a number puzzle–two chunky Melissa & Doug classics–and we used them for years and years since.

I’m sure I overreacted. Maddy did not need a puzzle right there and then, but my point is that puzzles are important, friends.

Our little ones–and we as adults–need puzzles for many reasons.

In fact, a University of Chicago study found that

Children who play with puzzles between ages 2 and 4 later develop better spatial skills . . . Puzzle play was found to be a significant predictor of spatial skill after controlling for differences in parents’ income, education and the overall amount of parent language input.

In examining video recordings of parents interacting with children during everyday activities at home, researchers found children who play with puzzles between 26 and 46 months of age have better spatial skills when assessed at 54 months of age.        

“The children who played with puzzles performed better than those who did not, on tasks that assessed their ability to rotate and translate shapes,” said psychologist Susan Levine, a leading expert on mathematics development in young children.

Read more here: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2012/02/15/puzzle-play-helps-boost-learning-important-math-related-skills#sthash.4iDTDIbD.dpuf

Cool, right?

And it’s no secret that puzzles are said to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.  The Fischer Center for Alzheimers recently wrote about a study from the University of California, Berkeley with these findings:

Reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles and solving challenging puzzles may be linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Now a new study shows how mental stimulation may protect the brain. . . . 

“We report a direct association between cognitive activity and Pittsburgh compound B uptake, suggesting that lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement may prevent or slow deposition of beta-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” the researchers write.

Read more here: https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/crossword-puzzles-alzheimers/

So? Get those puzzles out, friends. No matter how old your little ones are, puzzles are for everyone.

______________________

Join us!

summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

______________________

______________________

Follow us on Instagram: @teachmama1  / #tabletopsurprises

teachmama on instagram

 

Want a little more math fun?

Check out:

Or follow our rockin math pinterest board:

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board math on Pinterest.

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.

get kids to play outside: 4 tips for summertime playground fun

get kids to play outside teachmama.com

get kids to play outside  teachmama.com

 

Sometimes, getting kids to play outside is no easy feat, especially in the summer.

Because here in the DC Metro area, it’s hot.

It’s hot. Hot.

It’s muggy.

It’s oppressive.

When the sun’s beating down, the heat’s suffocating, and the last thing my kids want to do is go and play outside.

But last week, two friends and I got our big kids and little kids outside, playing, and having fun. Old-school style.

Free-bird, playing outdoors in the summertime.

We had some serious playground fun thanks to our friends at Clif Kids, and you can too. Get your kids to play outside, enjoying some summertime playground fun with these four tips.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Get Kids to Play Outside–Summertime Playground Fun: 

These days, it can be hard to get kids engaged in screen-free activities where their bodies are moving and where they’re using their imaginations and getting their creative ideas flowing.

However, it doesn’t take much to get kids to play outside.  These four things may help:

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

1.  Friends

Invite a few friends to join you!  Send an email, a text, or make a quick call.  If you have more than one child, reach out to 2-3 friends each.

Just a quickie invite will do:

Hey friend! Our family is planning on packing some drinks and snacks and will be heading to [insert park and location] on [date and time]. 

We’d love for you to join us for some old-fashioned outdoor fun! If your child needs a ride, I’m happy to pick her up! 

Let me know if you think this will work. We’d love to see you!

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

2.  Food

Food always makes an event, right? At least in our family it does.

Park playdate snacks don’t have to be elaborate or fancy. Really.

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

This is all you need: 

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

 

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

3.  A Few Simple Toys

Kids don’t need much, but if you’re having a hard time getting them out the door to play, then maybe some toys will help to kick-start the fun.

Go to the dollar store. Go to the thrift shop. Visit yard sales.

Don’t spend a fortune.

But consider grabbing things like:

Set the toys out and let the kids at ’em!

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

4. Fun, New Surroundings

You guys, there are so many parks, playgrounds and nature centers around that we don’t even know about. All it takes is a little bit of research, and I’m betting you’ll find a fun, new park to explore.

Send a note to a local moms club, a church, girl scouts or boy scouts, library, or preschool if you aren’t sure about it, and I’m betting they’ll have a list for you.

And if there’s nothing around, even a pal’s backyard can be a fun place to play and explore.

Really. Give it a go!

get kids to play outside  teachmama.com 2

Check out some cool ideas for getting kids outdoors, thanks to our friends at CLIF Kid!

Many of us have heard of CLIF Bars, but did you know that CLIF makes a line of healthy snacks for kids? I didn’t, either.

But they do.  CLIF Kid makes nutritious snacks for kids’ growing bodies with no high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives or artificial flavors.  The snacks are really, really good.

And CLIF is all about getting kids outside and playing–moving their bodies, having fun, and exploring.

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

get kids to play outside | teachmama.com

And to do that, they’ve created some awesome resources for parents:

Our Summertime Spraypark Playdate got us all outdoors and unplugged here in the DC Metro area. 

Last week, my pals Jessica McFadden of A Parent in Silver Spring and A Parent in America, Stacey Ferguson of Life is the Party and the Blogalicious Conference, and I gathered a bunch of our friends together for some good, old-fashioned outdoor fun.

get kids out to play | jessica mcfadden, amy mascott, stacey ferguson

 

get kids out to play | jessica mcfadden, amy mascott, stacey ferguson

We simply sent out an evite to our neighborhood pals, pool pals, school pals, and work pals and invited everyone to join us for an afternoon at the Spraypark in Silver Spring. It was an absolute blast.

It was just a quick get-together where our kids were able to play freely, splash in the water, and enjoy some healthy snacks thanks to our friends at CLIF Kids.

Check out our photos:

 

Huge thanks to our friends at CLIF Kids for providing the snacks. Not a single thing was left–the kids and parents loved them, and for two straight hours, all our kids did was play. 

It was awesome.

 

How will you get your kids outdoors, moving, and refueling in a healthy way this summer? I’d love to hear it!

Share your ideas below, or continue the conversation with others by following the hashtag: #outtoplay

Check out CLIF Kids on whichever social media platform suits your fancy:  facebook |  twitter  |  YouTube  |  instagram

 

fyi: This post was written as a partnership between CLIF Kid and One2One Network. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator and by my three little splash park splashers. 

fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

summer fun learning for kids  teachmama.com Week two of tabletop surprises is in the books, and it was a blast!

Because my crew was busy fighting off some pretty awful summertime colds, we did a bit of re-arranging with our tabletop surprises calendar this week.

But you know what? That’s the awesome thing about it: you can do what you want. When you want.

And the freebie 10 week resource guide includes a whole bunch of awesome extra ideas to use if one day doesn’t work for you. 

This week, we drew, built, wrote, and more.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Fun Summertime Learning for Kids–Tabletop Surprises:

Monday:

Tuesday:  

Wednesday:

Thursday:  


Friday:

 

What did you do that really rocked this week? We’d love to hear it!

______________________

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summer fun for kids | teachmama.com

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fun summertime learning for kids: tabletop surprises

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

matchstick math teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

matchstick math  teachmama.com

The matchstick math activity we did last week for tabletop surprises was a real hit.

I had an inkling that the activity would be a favorite of Owen’s but really all of the kids were into it.

And when we didn’t bump the table, making the matchsticks fall all out of place and go everywhere, it was all good.

It was super-simple, and I thank the good folks who write Matchstick Puzzles blog for their ideas.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Matchstick Math: 

Really, I had heard about matchstick math years and years ago but never really tried it with my kids.

And the idea is simple: you have a simple challenge to complete with matchsticks. Move two to create a totally different object. Add three to completely remake a design.

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

 

Fun. And easy. But it’s not really that easy at all.

And when I stumbled upon this awesome matchstick math blog while planning our tabletop surprises calendar this summer, I like totally hit the jackpot.

All I did was make an easy printable for me which included three things:

  1. the before design
  2. the challenge
  3. the answer to the puzzle

 

Then, like all of the tabletop surprises every day, I set the matchstick patterns out on the table and let. It. Go.

So yes, you need matchsticks to do this.

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

And then throughout the day, the kids hit the table when they felt inclined.  When they were interested. It was great.

The printable includes six of the millions and millions of matchstick puzzles I found on the site, so if you really love them and want more, head on over. Really, what I have here is a fraction–and I mean fraction–of what they have going on over there.

They’re matchstick cray-cray.

But here’s the thing: if matchsticks make you nervous, DON’T. USE. MATCHSTICKS.

For real. You can totally get the same thing going on with these matchstick puzzles if you use something other than matchsticks.

Consider using:

The possibilities are endless.

Please don’t allow your fear–or aversion–to matches turn you away from this activity.

It really is cool, and it really does get your kids’ brains and bodies moving.

It’s quiet. It’s critical thinking. It can be a group or partner activity, and it’s a great way to pass time in restaurants if you need a little something unplugged to do.

 

matchstick math: patterns, puzzles and critical thinking

matchstick math teachmama.com

 

If you’d like to download the document: matchstick math teachmama.com

Please, if you choose to share–which we hope you do!–please share this post instead of the printable. Thank you!

What do you think? Cool?

I’d love to hear what you think!

 

And definitely do check out the awesome matchstick bloggy blog where all the puzzles can be found. Without that site, there’d be no matchstick math for us!

And so was I.

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Want a little more math fun?

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fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.

kids make their own commercials: creative, techy fun

kids make commercials | teachmama.com

kids make commercials | teachmama.com

 

As part of our tabletop surprises last week, my kids became movie-makers.

Though it really didn’t start out that way at all.

The little tabletop surprise note challenged them to create commercials for a product. That was it.

But what they did with it was a whole other ballgame.

It was a good reminder for me that kids really, truly need free time to explore and play on their own, no matter the platform.

I didn’t step-by-step teach them how to use these movie-making platforms; rather, I gave them the tools and let them figure it out.

Seriously.

And really, the tools they used are pretty intuitive, but still. I was impressed.

Here’s the skinny. . .

Kids Make Their Own Commercials–Creative, Techy Fun:

So the note on the table read:

lights, camera, ACTION!

Make a commercial for any product you want!

Use: iPad (Videolicious or iMovie) or Chromebook (WeVideo)

Showing at 4pm TODAY

I set out a number of products around the table as inspiration: the Wet Brush, TinkerCrates, DoodleCrates, RushHour, AllQueens Chess, SoCozy products, Altoids, you name it.

I just wanted them to have ideas. Starting points.

Then when they were ready, I showed them the tools they could use.

I showed them iMovie, Videolicious, and WeVideo. I knew that Maddy had used WeVideo before at school and liked it, so I figured she’d go that route. She didn’t. She wanted to try iMovie.

Before I knew it, the kids were moving. They were choosing products, working together, disappearing for a few minutes and then reappearing in different costumes and clothes. It was a riot.

And yes, they had questions as they went, but we figured things out together.

I used iMovie to make my videos, but it’s a different animal on the iPad. 

So there was a whole lot of on-the-spot learning from my end, too. I didn’t realize how easy it was to create movies on the iPad. It doesn’t really have to be a huge event–I should be able to whip up videos in no time flat, thanks to Apple’s templates and creations. Awesome.

So what began as a challenge to create commercials morphed into movie and video card making.

Owen went right upstairs and got to work on the iPad mini.

Cora grabbed the iPad and went nose to screen.

Maddy was finishing something else and then got stuck with the super-old tablet, got frustrated, and decided to come back to it. I’m not sure why she didn’t use the Chromebook and WeVideo because I know she used it in school. Hmmmmm.

With permission, I’m sharing their finished creations:

Cora’s commercial:

 

Then, Cora said she wanted to make another movie, so I suggested she make a teachmama.com trailer. She did, and it’s awesome!

I mean. . .I’d subscribe! (wink!)

 

Owen went for the scary edge.

Be forewarned: if your little ones are looking over your shoulder, watch this one another time. He puts on his scary Halloween costume and gets a little creepy:

 

Cora went wild. She then made a Father’s Day movie for her dad, and she started on another family movie. She really liked the ease of the iMovie templates, but she said she was ready to make her own movies without templates. We’ll see how they go. I’m thrilled!

Owen was good with his one scary movie.

Maddy started creating a spy movie, complete with costumes, memorized lines, and scenery changes, but she didn’t finish. I’m hoping she does so soon!

Really, the coolest thing about this activity was that the kids learned on their own.

They tried, they re-tried, and they tried some more. It was awesome. And they were really proud of their final products.

And so was I.

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10 cool ways to read the Percy Jackson series

10 ways to read percy jackson | teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

Friends!

I’m always so thrilled to share with you fun literacy-related events and celebrations, and this summer, we’ve got a big one: it’s the 10th Anniversary of the publication of The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. WOOT!

And, as part of the team of bloggers who will be celebrating all summer long the awesome that is Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I’ll be writing a bit each month about why this series rocks and why you—and your kids!—should get on board.

10 ways to read percy jackson | teachmama.com

I’m also giving away an entire boxed set of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. For real.

And I’ll be sharing some cool deals and freebies for you.

Talk about a sweet way to ring in the summer, right?

To kick off this event, I’m sharing some ideas for you. Some cool ways for you toget your Percy Jackson read on.

PercyPackBANNERReady?
Here’s the skinny. . .

10 Cool Ways to Read the Percy Jackson Series:

1. In a museum.  Because this is where The Lightning Thief opens, when Percy realizes that something is just not right.

2. Near an arcade.  In the book, people never age in the arcade. But warning: you will.

3. In bed. Not Crusty’s Water Bed Palace where ‘Crusty’ tries to trick Annabeth and Grover, but your bed. You’re much more safe in  your bed.

4.  On a bus. Percy’s bus breaks down after he sees one of the three ladies cut the yarn with golden scissors. Let’s hope your bus makes the trip!

5.  While in a cabin. Percy goes to Camp Half-Blood, a Greek demi-god training facility on Long Island. Read this book in a cabin as if you’re a camper there, too!

6.  While wearing a baseball cap. Annabelle wears her invisibility Yankee’s cap given to her mom, Athena. Your cap will most likely not make you invisible, but you can pretend.

7. Near the ocean (okay, or a pool or some water).  Percy is the demigod son of Poseidon.  Poseidon is the god of water.  Read near the water to feel a little closer to Percy.

8.  By the light of a lightning bolt (or glow stick).  Percy’s quest in The Lightning Thief is to retrieve Zeus’s stolen master bolt.  Read by the light of a glowstick to feel inspired!

9.  While eating something blue.  Percy’s favorite color is blue, and his mom, Sally, is on a constant quest for blue food.  Eat a little something blue to get in the Percy and Sally spirit.

10.  Near a campfire. Hades appears in the campfire when the quest begins. And so? Your Percy Jackson experience can begin here too!

What do you think? Sound good!

PercyBoxSet

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GIVEAWAY: A complete boxed set of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!

Do you want to win your own complete boxed set of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series??!  Yes, yes you do.
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Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at midnight ET and is open to folks here in the US only. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 06/30/15.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.

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But wait. There’s more!

There’s something for everyone here!

PercyPackBADGE

Check out the awesome freebies below: 

  • The Lightning Thief will be discounted to $.99 across all eBook accounts for one full week (6/15-6/22)! It also includes a sneak peek chapter excerpt from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One: The Sword of Summer.
  • Catch a sneak peek of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One: The Sword of Summer — available online at ReadRiordan.com!

 

 

fyi: I’m writing this post as part of a partnership with Disney-Hyperion; however, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my personal experience as a parent and educator–and, of course, my three little Percy fans.

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.