Tag - school

Reading Rainbow App Featuring LeVar Burton

Reading Rainbow Logo

Reading Rainbow Logo “Take a look, it’s in a book, a Reading Rainbow…” to this day, these lyrics still bring a huge feeling of nostalgia and GREAT memories to mind. As a childhood book worm, {I say childhood because I have a lot less time to read now being a working mom than I did as a carefree kiddo,} I adored Reading Rainbow, and it’s host, LeVar Burton. The books featured and fun learning segments definitely stole my attention, that is, when I wasn’t actually reading books themselves.

Now, as a mom I definitely want my own children to have those warm fuzzy memories from quality shows they grow up on, unfortunately a lot of the programming, including Reading Rainbow aren’t on standard cable anymore. But guess what?!?!

“Reading Rainbow, that much loved PBS TV show that inspired a love of reading among children, is back – now as an app for iPad. For the first time, children ages 3-9 can enjoy a library of hundreds of curated books customized to their age and interests, combined with video field trips that connect the stories children read to the world they live in. The Reading Rainbow app features LeVar Burton, host of the series, also known for his roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Roots.”

Reading Rainbow App

Right now, the Reading Rainbow app is free for download on the iPad. A subscription service is available, offering convenient, unlimited access to an extensive library of quality books, videos, activities and more at a price parents can appreciate.

Here’s LeVar explaining a little more about the app and it’s great features:

LeVar wants parents to know that, “Reading will never go out of style, but the tools used for learning are changing. I am excited to bring Reading Rainbow back so that parents who watched the show can now share that same feel-good experience with their own children but on a platform that resonates with today’s digital kids.”

I love that as a parent I can help Miss A select what she’ll be reading from a variety of acclaimed children’s publishers and countless award-winning books and the new releases they’ll be constantly adding.

Along with the fun stories the app also includes:

A Virtual Backpack to hold a child’s’ favorite stories and a customizable virtual I.D. where you can add their picture

Celebrity Host – LeVar Burton is featured throuhout the app and personally I grew up feeling like he very calming and had a great teaching personality. What’s even cooler is that my kids will begin to recognize him and feel even more “at home” when they play the app.

Video Field Trips – Journey with LeVar Burton to visit fascinating people and places. Children are transported on exciting real-life adventures relating the stories they read to the world they live
in.
Cool Reward System – Kids earn stickers each time they finish a book so they can be proud of their achievements and also want to read even more.

and one of my favorite features: the Parent Dashboard Review real-time information regarding what
your child is reading and personalized tips to get your kiddo talking about the book enhancing their learning experience.

And of course so much more!! I am a STRONG believe that reading is important and make it a daily event in our own home. If you have an iPad, I encourage you to check the app out, it’s free to put on your iPad and if you decide you like it a subscription is $9.99 a month recurring or $49.99 “introductory” one-year
subscription*

For more information on the Reading Rainbow App, visit www.RRKidz.com. * Introductory price is valid through August 30, 2012

Please let me know if you check it out and what YOU think of it!!

I love Reading Rainbow and am writing this post as a member of Child’s Play Communications. However, the opinions expressed in this post are my own honest opinions, yours may vary, however if you don’t love LeVar Burton, we may need to talk.

Sweet End of School Classmate Gift Idea {Craft}

Placemats

Miss A celebrated her last day of school yesterday. Her school put on a great Pre-K (and 3’s) performance and it was awesome. I only teared up a little. Mostly when the teachers were talking about all the amazing students.

We too were super thankful for all of Miss A’s classmates, and wanted to give them a special, “End of School” gift to let them know how much we love them. I knew I wanted something personalized so I went to our favorite kids gift site Frecklebox.com and decided on their place mats. I did a post reviewing their products a while back that you can check out here: Frecklebox Gifts. Since then we have bought several birthday gifts from them and bought some more placemats for the girls, plus they are always running discounts.

Miss A handpicked each placemat, from a number of different themes for each classmate, making the gift even more personal. A dinosaur for Kaleb, ballet theme for Natalie, and so on for each of the 7 children in her class. She was so excited to be a part of the gift selection.

Placemats

The only gift-related problem with our place mats is that I didn’t know how to wrap them or give them a label. I tried to come up with something witty that included, “I’m glad we MAT” instead of met, but scrapped that idea. Then I remembered I had lollipops left over from Miss A’s birthday party, hooray for my brain that never stops!

So on my drive home from her school, yesterday morning, {yes the morning of the last day of school} I was brainstorming wording ideas for the placemats and lollipops. I came up with some fun wording for the lollipops and added our personal information for her classmates to contact us for summer play. Here’s the image of the card I made:

End of School Classmate Gift Lollipop

I found an image of a lollipop and went to town on iPiccy, {which I highly recommend}. I made it black and white and faded the image a little so as not to overpower the words. Then I used a bright, kidcentric font to print our message.

Here are the finished products, I ended up taping the lollipops and cards on the back of the placemats, all the recipients, aka kids were super excited for their one-of-a-kind gift and pose with Miss A for one last Pre-K picture.

End of School Lollipop Gift Idea

End of School Gift Idea

This was a GREAT way to end a year of school. I hope this gives you some gift ideas for your end of the year classmate gifts.

What are your children doing for the end of the year? Do you have any unique end of the year crafts or ideas??

Surf Sweets Natural Candy Review

Surf Sweets Logo

Surf Sweets LogoNow that Miss A is in school and we’re around a lot more kids than were in our playgroup circle, we’re experiencing more and more food allergies. There are so many ways to deal with allergies when you’re a parent of a child without allergies. Personally, we’re a family that tries to accommodate our friends when we can.

Miss A decided at the beginning of the school year that she didn’t want to eat one of her favorite sandwiches; the peanut butter and jelly because one of her best friends has a severe peanut allergy. Although she has asked for one a few times since then, her preference is to eat nut-free foods. Also, with Baby C’s birthday party coming up, we have a nut-free friend attending the party and want to make sure she is not excluded from the goodies. That means making cupcakes from scratch, checking and double checking labels and choosing nut-free snacks.

One company, Surf Sweets Natural Candy is doing an amazing job filling the nut-free candy void. Not to say that there aren’t some great nut-free/gluten-free and casein-free snacks, but these are awesome, taste great, and are made with organic fruit juice.  That’s pretty extensive if you ask me.

Surf Sweets Products

I think it’s really cool that our friends can rest assured that when they are eating Surf Sweets goodies that there’s no chance of allergic reaction. Not only are these a great choice for goodie bags for birthday parties, but they’re great for filling Easter baskets, giving out at Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and as an all-natural treat for your kiddos.

Surf Sweets has a whole line of natural and organic treats including gummy worms, gummy bears, jelly beans, and more. To check out their ingredients, products, and find out where to get yours visit their website: http://www.surfsweets.com/

The Next Big Leap in my Life – She turns 5

MIss A turning 5

MIss A turning 5

 This little er, big girl is breaking my heart. This year Miss A turns….5. Ack, I get agida when I event think about that number. For me, being a stay-at-home mom and extremely hands-on with my girls from birth, “5 years-old” means she’s growing up. The older she gets the less she needs mommy, she’ll be in Kindergarten in the Fall and inevitably I’ll see her less during the week, and that means that some day, she’ll be grown, hopefully go to college and have her own family.

Now before I get too far ahead of myself, because I often tend to do that, {I’m a worrywart you see} I know this is the normal progression of parenthood, however it seems like a big leap to me. Before she turns five, and goes off to Kindergarten I want to enjoy the rest of this school year and summer celebrating four!

We have decided make a checklist of 4 big/new things to do before she goes to Kindergarten.

  1. Get her hair straightened {temporarily} for her birthday party.
  2. Take a family trip to SeaWorld, she loves exploring new things.
  3. Sign her up for a semi-competitive sport.
  4. Invite one of her friends over for a sleepover.
I think these “goals” will not only help us transition from preschooler to big girl, but make the rest of our time before Kindergarten starts even that more memorable.

honda_logo (1)

From bumper to bumper, the all-new CR-V is loaded with pretty much everything you need to tackle your Leap List. It’s your ultra-versatile adventure partner, and it’s built to take you just about anywhere you want to go. Learn more at leaplist.honda.com.

What’s your next, “Big Leap” in life? What do you want to accomplish before that leap?

Compensation was provided by Honda via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Honda.

LeapFrog Product Party

LeapFrog logoAll four of us at the B household love a great themed party, and when Mom Select and LeapFrog approached us about the opportunity to throw a LeapFrog inspired party at our house we were totally in! (Who wouldn’t be?)

We asked all the moms to dress their kids in green in honor of LeapFrog colors, and made some tasty treats to share with our friends.

Not only did we get to play cool games like, “Frog, Frog, Toad” (like, “Duck, Duck, Goose”,((which the kids loved!!)), but we played, “Tad Says” (kids always enjoy any version of “Simon Says”, plus it tires them out and helps them to get ready to listen too!), and most importantly, kids and moms got to use the new LeapFrog LeapPad™  learning tablet, LeapFrog Tag™  Reading System, and the LeapFrog Tag™ World Map.

Here are some pictures of the party, snacks, activities, cute kids and all:

LeapFrog Party

A handful of the attendees already owned a LeapFrog Tag™, but for those who weren’t familiar with it found it to be a great choice for children learning to read, I always suggest this product for children who are a little more cautious with their belongings, since the pages in the book are made from paper and can be torn if not careful, {or if you’re like our family and have little ones who like to grab everything aka Destructo.}  One lucky mom left with a brand new LeapFrog Tag™ for her daughter just for attending this awesome event.

At the LeapFrog Tag™ World Map table, some of the children were able to explore the world with their moms. This interactive map not only helps learn geography, but it also teaches your child about the people who live across the world, different languages, explains about each culture and has lots of fun learning games. It is one of my new favorite LeapFrog products because we want our girls to know that there is a whole world full of amazingly different people out there and what better tool to do it?!?

The majority of the kids were drawn towards the LeapFrog LeapPad™, of course, it’s like mom’s tablet or a cool video system with a large screen that interacts through touch and movement. The kids loved the video and picture function of the LeapPad™ as they built their own stories. They also got to check out some well-known character based learning games and I kid you not, it was very hard to get the children to share this one {which is a good thing}, but I was able to pry it away occasionally to let those who hadn’t tested it out have a chance.

Here are my thoughts on LeapFrog products:

All-in-all the party was a great opportunity for moms got to watch their children interact with these toys in a non-store setting, at their own pace and many of them left the party saying these LeapFrog products were on the top of their holiday shopping list. And the B family fell in love with LeapFrog a little more that day.

I’ll leave you with this cute picture of the kids giving me their best, “surprised” faces. Aren’t they cute!!!

LeapFrog Party Kids

I received free LeapFrog products in order to host a Learn, Create, and Share Party. LeapFrog did not influence my opinions expressed in the above post.

Macy’s Classroom Makeover

Macy's Classroom MakeoverMiss A recently started Pre-Kindergarten, and I wrote this post on her first day. I must say I love her teacher, I love the things she’s learning even after her second week of classes and I couldn’t be more supportive of the program. Not only do I want to help the school with their online and social media promotions, but I also entered my daughter’s school in the Macy’s Classroom Makeover contest that I heard about from SheSpeaks.com

I know how many of you have children in school right now and the Macy’s Classroom Makeover contest not only let’s you send a shout out to your child’s school, {or if you don’t have a child in school a house of education that you love,} but it also let’s you give back to that school by entering them for a chance to win $25,000 to, “snazz up” their classroom. And if they win you’ll be the school’s favorite parent by far. {Okay I cannot guarantee that, but maybe they’ll make a plaque for you or something, again not guaranteed by this site.}

So are you ready to go? Ready to place your vote, and see if your school can win the $25,000! {ps kids 13 and up can enter too! How’s that for school spirit?}

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Head to www.facebook.com/macys and like the page
  2. Click the Classroom Makeover Sweeps tab
  3. Fill out the entry form & submit
The Macy’s Classroom Makeover Sweepstakes is running until September 15th, 2011 so be sure to tell fellow parents {and students 13 years or older} to place their votes too!
SheSpeaks is working with Macy’s to help them get the word to you. SheSpeaks is hosting a twitter party on Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm EST to give away Macy’s gift cards and share back-to-school stories and advice. Follow @shespeaksup and @macys and use the #MacysB2S hashtag to get in on this Twitter party.
This post is a sponsored post by SheSpeaks.com and the  Macy’s Classroom Makeover Sweepstakes.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Floor Easel Giveaway {CLOSED}

Melissa & Doug Art EaselLittle Miss A has always been a very artistic girl. Even from the time she started to draw she was creating faces with cheeks, ears, eyebrows, something you rarely see in young children, and she really has had a passion for it ever since.

We were lucky enough to try out the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel as pictured left. There are so many great things about Melissa & Doug that I love so I figured I would probably adore this “art center” as we like to call it.

First off, it was very simple to put together by myself, both kids were resting though so that helped for sure. The only small issue I had was that some of the pegs screw thread was covered by plastic, for the most part I could screw through but Melissa & Doug did send me a couple of replacement pegs right away.

The best thing about the Melissa & Doug Easel is that it’s so versatile. One side of the Easel features a white board with an open tray for crayons, markers, any art supplies you can think of, and the opposite side has an old-school green chalkboard with spots for paint jars and painting supplies. I also LOVED that I was able to adjust the height of the boards so that the easel can grow with my girls, not something that all toys do, but very important in my book. Read More

Raising Confident Readers Review

Raising Confident Readers Even at age 3 Miss A is starting to read. She’s always had an interest in letters and spelling. She knows most site words, can write her name, and sounds out longer words. But not all children are interested in words like Miss A, however because it is something she loves I encourage that and thought it would be interesting to read, Raising Confident Readers; How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write – from Baby to Age 7 by Dr. J. Richard Gentry.

Personally, I believe that you can encourage and nurture a child’s natural learning style without being the pushy, hovering parent that you see in media, in your community, or even sometimes in your own home.

This book has been called, “The first parent-centered book of it’s kind…” and stresses how important early writing is, gives you activities that target your child’s level of reading, literacy goals, and most importantly to reiterate, this book touts moderation, the last thing you should be doing is making readingm (or any activity for that matter)stressful for your child.

The book starts off letting parents know that one of the best ways to increase your child’s dialogue is to use more vocabulary with them. Don’t be afraid to use normal or even “big” words with your child, they’ll ask what words mean and understand more in the long run. {Plus, it’s pretty funny to hear little kids say mature words, and I’m not talking curses by the way.} Read More

Testing for Kindergarten Review

Testing-for-KindergartenKindergarten has already begun for some children, but for others preparation is just beginning. Some parents prepare their children a few months in advance, others a year, and still others a couple of years, depending on where you live.

Testing for Kindergarten; Simple Strategies to Help your Child Ace the Tests for: Public School Placement, Private School Admissions, Gifted Program Qualification, by Karen Quinn is a must have for parents of pre-schoolers.

Karen Quinn knows first hand the struggles of preparing her children for schools and getting into the tough and sometimes “throw-down” competitive New York Schools, so she’s a pretty amazing source if you ask me. I’m just glad she wrote a book with all of these tips and tricks on school. Read More

Hooked on Phonics Master Reader Review and Giveaway {CLOSED}

Hooked on Phonics Review GiveawayIn case you haven’t heard I love Hooked on Phonics. Just in time for school to start, I was able to do a review for their Learn To Read Program where Miss A quickly learned her ABCs, she is now spelling out words and beginning reading thanks to Hooked on Phonics. Check out my full review here.

This time I was sent their Master Reader program for children ages 7 and up that is so packed full of learning goodness that I could barely lift the box when it arrived on my doorstep. I was hoping they didn’t just fill it with bricks and much to my delight there were several great Hooked on Phonics Master Reader materials. Read More