Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Funbrain Jr. — Just launched in time for summer, FunbrainJr.com is a free site that provides parents and young of learners with a fun, safe environment to play games, read stories and find printables. Content for preschoolers and kindergartners focuses on online games that help little ones build early math, literacy, problem solving, and computer skills. Games such as Mushroom Bounce and Bubble Up provide exposure to math through numeracy while A-Mazing Words and Rhyme Time focus on early literacy and beginning reading skills. Funbrain Jr. also provides online books based on well-known and beloved characters such as Olivia, Katy Duck, the Robin Hill School Series, and Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn® Series through a partnership with Simon & Schuster Children’s Division and Charlesbridge Publishing.
Angry Birds Furious Forces— If you just did a double take about Angry Birds making my list, believe it or not, the most popular app can actually teach kids about physics while they fling their birds with a swipe of a finger. The new National Geographic Angry Birds Furious Forces!: The Physics at Play in the World’s Most Popular Game describes has Angry Birds gamers experiment with physics every time they pull back the slingshot. It’s a great read for elementary ages and anyone who is obsessed with Angry Birds because it provides an entry point to tackle serious science. The book discusses simple ideas of force and motion as well as complex notions of relativity and dark matter while offering simple experiments to illuminate the physics at work in the game and in the world around us.
eBooks through Scholastic’s Storia— One of the challenges that parents face is getting their kids to read during the summer. eReaders have been proven to be great motivational tools since one in five says he or she would read more books for fun if they had access to an eReader. To keep kids reading over the summer, Scholastic Summer Challenge is offering parents a free ebook from Storia®. Storia works on PCs, iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fires and if you don’t already have an account set up, you can download 5 free books when you sign up.
Happy teenager student boy working laptop computer in garden outdoor via Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 7th, 2012
With school winding down and summer starting, families often look towards vacations rather than how to keep kids’ minds active during June, July, and August. “Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing summer learning loss and supporting their children’s education when school is out,” said Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of the nonprofit Partnership for Children and Youth that is spearheading the Summer Matters Campaign. “Fortunately, there are plenty of free and easy ways to engage children in enriching summer learning activities that will help them start the new school year successfully.”
Workbooks, and summer packets sent home from school are helpful but where can you go if you don’t have materials that are just right for your preschool and early elementary learners? Through Summer Matters, parents can access a downloadable PDF titled Prevent Summer Learning Loss & Support Your Child’s Summertime Learning for helpful tips about keeping kids engaged.
One tip from Summer Matters suggests that parents ask their children’s teachers to recommend online educational worksheets and free downloadable activities. PBS Kids and toy manufacturer, Melissa & Doug, have a wealth of free materials that are not only fun but highly educational. Here are additional details about learning activities geared towards ages 4-9.
iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge
For the third year in a row, PBS is providing children and families with fun and educational content across platforms that include free literacy-building resources and daily activity assignments delivered by email that correspond with summer programming on PBS Kids as well as downloadable apps and video content. The iVillage PBS Kids Summer Reading Community Challenge runs from June 18 to July 27 and features 10 weeks of themed programming. Starting June 4, free episode downloads, video playlists and other downloadable content will also be available on iTunes.
Melissa and Doug’s Camp Sunny Patch
Toy creators Melissa & Doug recognize that parents are looking for affordable activities for their children and created Camp Sunny Patch as a way to create low-cost, creative activities for kids for the entire summer. The weekly activities from Camp Sunny Patch are a great way to include learning in a creative way throughout the summer. Parents can print and post monthly calendars from the Melissa & Doug blog or get a preview of each month’s activities via email. Each week parents can download a session guide for additional details of the activity ideas, games, crafts and more. The Melissa & Doug blog also features printable camp badges while optional camp-themed surprises will be available throughout the summer on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Two brothers in the park reading a book together via Shutterstock
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