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Jack O’ Lantern Ornaments for Halloween

Jack O’ Lantern Ornaments for Halloween

We made this easy craft with my daughter’s friends for a Halloween-themed play date. Pin It   No pictures of the process because there were lots of children there who aren’t mine…but it is very simple to do. Materials: clear, plastic ornaments (we got ours at Oriental Trading but many of the craft stores have them out for Christmas) permanent (“Sharpie”) markers orange filling (paper, feathers, beads, tulle, pom-poms, anything) green pipe cleaner (chenille stem) or curling ribbon fishing wire Directions: 1. Stuff your ornament with … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Fall, Featured

9 Ways to Keep Calm and Do Homework

9 Ways to Keep Calm and Do Homework

My eldest is in second grade and my second child is a kindergartner. They love the school, the teacher, and their classmates. Homework, on the other hand, is quite the chore. After some tinkering, we learned to stop worrying and deal with (if not quite love) math homework. Pin It 1. Get involved: Parent participation seems to be especially important with mathematics homework. Studies have also shown a link between a father’s involvement and a daughter’s continued … Read entire article »

Filed under: Academic Achievement, Common Core, Homework

13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

Pin It My eldest has a growing interest in photography, especially nature photography. As a National Geographic Kids Insider, I had a chance to listen in on a chat with photographer Kelley Miller talk about how to photograph animals. We also found out how we can be part of setting a Guinness World Record! First, here are some tips for photographing nature from Ms. Miller, illustrated with her photographs and a few of mine: 1. Be patient. Pin … Read entire article »

Filed under: Art, Featured, Science, Sight

Literacy and Technology with LeVar Burton and @NGKids #NGKInsider

Literacy and Technology with LeVar Burton and @NGKids #NGKInsider

National Geographic Kids got me and some of my fellow “National Geographic Kids Insiders” on the phone with LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow, Star Trek, and many other initiatives and projects) to talk about literacy and technology. Before heading over to our chat, LeVar Burton was taking pictures of the National Geographic Beehive for the Great Nature Project–can’t wait to see his photos! Pin It When he arrived, he was charmingly enthusiastic to have bumped into Oceanographer … Read entire article »

Filed under: Literacy, Technology

Daisy Girl Scout Crafts and Activities for Earning Petals

Daisy Girl Scout Crafts and Activities for Earning Petals

What are your favorite ideas for earning Daisy Girl Scout Petals? I led my daughter’s Daisy Troop the past two years, with lots of help from a co-leader and some other parents, and we had a great time! As a new leader, however, I often struggled with planning out the year and figuring out requirements. Through the help of the council website and Google, though, we managed to piece things together. Pin It Here is a list … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Intrapersonal

Resilience and Academic Integrity at Monsters University #DisneySMMoms

Resilience and Academic Integrity at Monsters University #DisneySMMoms

When we were invited to a sneak-peek screening of Monsters University at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, I was expecting an entertaining, perhaps even clever prequel to the fun Monsters, Inc. At most, I was worried that the college humor would go over the heads of my young kids. I was not expecting to have a conversation with my six year old about resilience and academic integrity. With Monsters University back in theaters for Labor … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drop-Out, Intrapersonal, Values Education

How to Make a Daisy Chain Flower Crown (Plus, Video Tutorial)

How to Make a Daisy Chain Flower Crown (Plus, Video Tutorial)

In mid-August, the black-eyed Susan and purple cone flowers reach their peak around here. It is a perfect time to take a nature walk and look at all the wildflowers. Pin It While we are walking through the flower fields, we like to make daisy chain flower crowns. Pin It All you do is: 1. Gather flowers. 2. Pierce the stem of the first flower with your nail so that you can fit a flower through the hole. 3. Pierce the stem … Read entire article »

Filed under: 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Home Arts, Spring, Summer

Picture Books About Sharks for #SharkWeek

Picture Books About Sharks for #SharkWeek

Pin It In honor of the end of Shark Week, here are our favorite children’s picture books about sharks. Most of our picks are non-fiction. When choosing fiction picture books for themed exploration, I try to choose ones that weave facts into the narrative. While there is no shortage of cute picture books with shark protagonists, the sharks tend to take the role of “scary-looking but really sweet inside.” While sharks are not the indiscriminate man-killers … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Science

Straw Pan Pipe Craft for Kids

Straw Pan Pipe Craft for Kids

My daughter came home very excited that she had made a pan pipe out of drinking straws at camp. However, she had left the homemade craft instrument there and wanted to make another one. I helped her figure out a way of making one at home. Ours was a little different and she really liked it. Pin It Materials: plastic drinking straws tape (clear or decorative Washi tape) scissors yarn or thread (optional)   Directions: Pin It 1. Cut the drinking straws in increasingly smaller … Read entire article »

Filed under: 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Music, Performing Arts and Theater, Science

7 Best Picture Books About Zoos

7 Best Picture Books About Zoos

Pin It In honor of National Zoo Keepers’ Week last week, here are picture books about zoos my children enjoy! Pin It ZooZical Pin It : In addition to being a cute tale about animals, this is a lovely story about drawing on your own creativity to beat the boredom blues. When the zoo is empty of visitors, the animals put together a ZooZical–a series of punny acts that draw upon their unique talents. My kids enjoy the lively and … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured