Five Reasons Your Child May Be Struggling In School

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When our child is having difficulty at school, we immediately think about the easiest response. They need extra attention. I need to hire a tutor. But before you spend a lot of money you need to understand the answer is perhaps more simple than you would think. There are plenty of reasons why your children may not be reaching their potential.

Bullying

If your child is being bullied, it will affect everything about their school life. They will be more reluctant to go to school. Their mood will be low. But perhaps most importantly during lessons their mind will be on other things. They could be being bullied during class or be worried about what will happen during lunch and break. Do not underestimate how serious the problem of bullying can be. It has ended tragically on many occasions. You need to get on top of it before it reaches serious levels. If a child is reluctant to tell their parents failing at school can be one of the signs.

Distracted

Children are easily distracted. Particularly young children. There is no easy way to find out if your child is distracted in class. You have to sit down and ask them. Hopefully, their teacher will pick up on the issue but sometimes it can be missed. It can be anything from a new child in their class or getting a crush. In any case, this will not be a constant problem and will quickly fade without any interference.

Eyesight

This is a problem that is constantly overlooked by parents and teachers alike. Older children know when they can not see the board or are having issues reading. They understand that their vision is blurred, and this is why they can not do their work. But younger children do not always put two and two together. They have to be asked directly. If you do think, your child is having sight problems go to a company like Costco for an eye exam. The cost of Costco eye exam is affordable, and you can sometimes find deals during the school holidays.

Bored

This just shows that parents are often pessimistic. While a problem at school can mean, your child needs extra help it can also be the opposite. Your child may be bored in school because the work is not challenging enough. If a child thinks work is too easy they may not see the point in doing it at all. Test your child on harder work. If they sit down and get it done you may have found your problem.

Bad Teaching

Lastly, we think this one is a little unfair. It is not an accurate description usually, but it is what most parents will believe. A better term would be “appropriate teaching.” Children learn in different ways. Contrary to popular belief no matter how much we study we will not all excel at exams. Types of learning need to suit each child to get the best possible outcome.

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7 Things You’ll Find at the 2015 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival #MonkeyKingdomEvent

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Last week I went to Orlando with 24 other bloggers to screen the new Disneynature movie Monkey Kingdom and experience all of the Walt Disney World parks.  It was a great time to visit EPCOT because the 2015 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival was going on.  I had always thought that the International Flower & Garden Festival was just a bunch of flowers but I was so wrong.  It is so much more.  There is something for everyone- young and old.

Here are some of my favorite things that I saw at the festival:

Flowers, of Course!

P1240624There are over 100 topiary displays, gardens and exhibits—each featuring seasonal designs or several popular Disney characters!  These displays were simply breathtaking.  There is something for everyone from gardens to Disney character themed topiaries.  It is so much fun to spot your favorite character topiaries.

There are over a dozen Disney-themed topiaries to experience, including:

  • Anna and Elsa – NEW! Located at World Showcase Plaza

  • Goofy About Spring – NEW! Featuring Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale and friends Located near the Main Entrance

  • Miss Piggy – NEW! Located at the Italy Pavilion

  • Spring Is in the Air! – NEW! Featuring Butterfly Topiaries Located behind Spaceship Earth

  • Disney•Pixar’s Mater and Lightning McQueen  Located near Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

  • Disney•Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear Located near Mission Space

  • Disney•Pixar’s Mike Wazowski and Sulley  Located at Disney•Pixar’s Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden Presented by Landscape Structures, Inc.

  • Fantasia Located at West Future World

  • Phineas and Ferb Located at the Odyssey Bridge

  • Farmer Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Located between Future World and World Showcase

  • Bambi and Friends Featuring Bambi, Flower and Thumper Located at the Canada Pavilion

  • Peter Pan, Captain Hook & Tick Toc Crock Located at the United Kingdom Pavilion

  • Belle and Beast Located at the France Pavilion

  • Disney•Pixar’s Woody  Located at The American Adventure

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Located at the Germany Pavilion

  • Lady and the Tramp Located at the Italy Pavilion

  • Simba and Friends Featuring Mufasa, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Sarabi, Simba and Timon Located at The Outpost between the Germany and China Pavilion

  • Cinderella and Prince Charming Located at the France Pavilion

  • Tinker Bell  Located at Butterflies on the Go Presented by GoGo squeeZ™

  • Year of the Sheep Located at the China Pavilion

  • Winnie the Pooh Located at the United Kingdom Pavilion

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Make sure to check out the Inside Out Emotion Garden inspired by Disney Pixar’s upcoming movie Inside Out.11075244_10207208678082421_6259878954744961908_o

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Nature

Make sure to stop by the Nature Rocks- Let’s Go Explore exhibit by The Nature Conservancy.  Learn tips for getting the whole family out in nature and play.  In this day with so many children being connected to electronics all day long, it’s important for them to get out there in the fresh air and play outside in nature.

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Education

There is so much to learn at the 2015 EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.  There is something for everyone and every interest. There are exhibits all around the park to learn about all things nature, horticulture, and so much more.  It’s great for those with a green thumb who want to learn how to bring spring at Epcot home with them and those like me who don’t have a green thumb but want to learn more about starting my own garden or wildlife habitat.

P1240619Learn how to create a backyard habitat.  You can even get your habitat certified as a certified backyard habitat.

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P1240630Wildlife habitats need 4 things- Food, Water, Cover (shelter), and a Place to Raise Young.

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Take the pledge to be a Butterfly Hero and receive a free kit.  Go to nwf.org/butterflyheroes to take the pledge and learn more.
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I use a lot of essential oils and alternative medicine in my house so I especially liked the Health and Healing Garden.
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Shopping

There is lots of nature and garden themed merchandise available throughout Epcot so make sure to get some things to add to your garden or get inspired to start a new one!

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Fun For Children

There are several playgrounds for kids throughout the park.  Make sure to check them out during the International Flower and Garden Festival as they these playgrounds are only there for the festival.
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Throughout Epcot there are Kidcot Activity Stations.  Children can stop at each of these stations to complete activities, crafts, and more!  The Kidcot stations are available all year round.
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FOOD!!!!

In addition to the regular restaurants in Epcot, each country has special Outdoor Kitchens with spring-inspired dishes from that country. They are just the right size to get a taste but not fill up so you can explore and try new foods in all the countries.

epcot foodEntertainment

Every weekend during the 2015 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival there are different concerts featuring various artists.  When we went last weekend the featured artist was Jon Secada.  It was nice to sit and enjoy a snack from one of the countries while listening to a free concert.
20150417_174925Here’s the concert schedule for the rest of the 2015 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival:

Florida Fresh Weekend: April 24 – 26, 2015

Garden Rocks Concert Series

  • Musical Act: The Guess Who
  • Known for the Song: “These Eyes”

“Florida Fresh Weekend” Experiences

  • From 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, head for the Festival Center and discover why Florida is one of the top agriculture producing states in the nation!

Festival Center Events

  • Greenhouse Stage: Catch authors Heather McPherson and Katie Farmand along with a special guest as they share tips and tricks you can plant in your own garden—11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
  • Fresh Epcot Stage: See informative and entertaining presentations from nationally known author, landscape designer and professional horticulturist, Jessi Bloom—12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
  • IFAS at the University of Florida Stage: Join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone—1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. For topics, please visit the Festival Center.

Weekend 9: May 1 – 3, 2015

Learn what’s going down at the ninth Fun Fresh Weekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Garden Rocks Concert Series

  • Musical Act : Taylor Dane – NEW to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!
  • Known for the Song: “Tell It to My Heart”

Festival Center Events

  • See a stunning display of hibiscus in a wide array of colors at the Hibiscus Show.
  • Greenhouse Stage: Catch gardening experts as they share tips and tricks you can plant in your own garden at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM—including Rob Williams of Disney’s Horticulture on Friday, May 1, 2015; orchid specialist Arthur Katz on Saturday, May 2, 2015; and Eric Schmidt of Harry P. Leu Gardens on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
  • Fresh Epcot Stage: See informative and entertaining presentations from nationally known TV personality and National Wildlife Federation naturalist, David Mizejewski—12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
  • IFAS at the University of Florida Stage: Join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone—1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. For topics, please visit the Festival Center.

Weekend 10: May 8 – 10, 2015

Learn what’s going down at the tenth Fun Fresh Weekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Garden Rocks Concert Series

  • Musical Act : Little River Band – NEW to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!
  • Known for the Song: “Reminiscing”

Festival Center Events

  • Greenhouse Stage: Catch flower expert J Schwanke as he shares tips and tricks you can plant in your own garden—11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
  • Fresh Epcot Stage: See informative and entertaining presentations from nationally known outdoor living expert, speaker and author, Debra Prinzing—12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
  • IFAS at the University of Florida Stage: Join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone—1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. For topics, please visit the Festival Center.

Weekend 11: May 15 – 17, 2015

Learn what’s going down at the final Fun Fresh Weekend at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Garden Rocks Concert Series

  • Musical Act : Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
  • Known for the Song: “I’m Henry the VII, I Am”

Festival Center Events

  • Greenhouse Stage: Catch gardening experts as they share tips and tricks you can plant in your own garden at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM—including Rob Williams of Disney’s Horticulture on Friday, May 15, 2015; and Dennis Cathcart of Tropiflora Nursery on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, 2015.
  • Fresh Epcot Stage: See informative and entertaining presentations from nationally known author, Dave Dewitt—12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
  • IFAS at the University of Florida Stage: Join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone—1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. For topics, please visit the Festival Center.

With so much to see and do, you can return again and again, and find something new every time  because in 2015, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is so much more than flower and gardens!


Don’t forget to take your family to see Monkey Kingdom!!!

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Disclosure- I was invited on an all expense paid trip to Orlando for the Monkey Kingdom Event.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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60% Off Robotics Science Summer Camps!

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S.T.E.A.M. (Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Camps are now enrolling!

Are you looking for a fun, exciting, and educational camp for your children?  Did you know that there are S.T.E.A.M. (Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) camps all over the country including MANY in the South Florida area- Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach locations!  Check out their websites to find a camp location in your area, prices, and dates- ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps and Dynamic Art Design Camps.


ROBOTS-4-U Summer Camps is where fun, thinking & learning come to life with fun, hands-on projects.

Dynamic Art Design Camps  is where technology meets creativity!  They combine art with technology to create moving art!
Both camps are now enrolling!  They have many locations all over the country so check to see if they are in your area.
Campers having a BLAST, while learning and playing in a dynamic environment. Learning about Robotics and Science, in an independent and exciting way!


Important Information

– 1 week (5 days) long
– Days: Monday to Friday Times: 9:00-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3:00 p.m.
– Robot / Science / Engineering / Day Camp / Challenges
– Camps Girls and Boys – Aged 7 to 14
– Robot Camps and Dynamic Art Camps offered during June, July and August
– Hands on Learning, Self-Paced. Beginners to Expert!
– CAMPERS RATIO: 1 Instructor to 16 participants
-Register early as camps do fill up quickly!
– Each Camper Individually uses a ROBOTICS or DYNAMIC ART Kit. Robot kits do not go home with campers but are available for purchase!

LEVELS: Individuals will grouped to their own level.

  • Age 7 to 8 Beginner will build 1-3 structures, up to 4 robots.
  • Age 9 to 13 Beginners to Intermediate will build & program 2-4 robots will build, potentially program robots, including custom designs.

A Typical Morning:

09:00 1st robot or structure assembly/programming

10:30 Demonstrations or Playtime ( With their Robot )

11:15 Break Down and Tidy up

11:30 Pick-up

A Typical Afternoon:

12:30 1st robot or structure assembly/programming

01:00 Demonstrations or Playtime ( With their Robot )

02:45 Break Down and Tidy up

03:00 Pick-up

Get 60% Off Robotics Science Summer Camps!
Use Code: USF1550r

Find them on Facebook:
Facebook.com/Robots4Usummercamp
Facebook.com/DynamicArtClass

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Encourage Your Children To Read By Creating A Home Library

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If, like me, you have always encouraged your children to read, then you will absolutely love this idea.

 

If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room in your home, such as a converted attic, then why not transform it into a home library? Creating a home library is a wonderful way to encourage your children to read and study on a regular basis.

 

The best thing about turning an unused room into a home library is that you can also use it. If you love to read like I do, then having your own library might just be a dream come true.

To help you create an educational and relaxing library in your home, here are some handy tips.

1. Think about the library’s location

If you are lucky enough to have the choice of a couple of rooms for your library, think carefully about where to create it. Ideally, you want a library that isn’t disturbed by other people in the house and won’t be affected too much by outside noise.

2. How many books will your library need to hold?

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Ask yourself how many books you would like your library to hold. Will you just be filling it with your books or will you be investing in a new range of books? Are you aiming to make your library a study area for your children? And, if so, how many educational books will it need to hold? Think about your storage needs and decide what type of bookshelves are necessary.

3. Choose the color scheme

Think carefully about the colour scheme that you would like to use in your library. In the past, home libraries tended to be neutral coloured. However, if you want to motivate your children, then brighter colors might be a better choice.

If you want to create a stylish library, think about ways you can incorporate bright colours into the design in a sophisticated way. Perhaps you could use accessories to add color?

4. Make your library comfortable

Any good library is comfortable and cozy, and your home library shouldn’t be any different. If you want your children to use the library to read and study, then it needs to be comfortable and appealing to them.

Adding in plush armchairs and a relaxing 8 foot bean bag, as well as plenty of floor cushions, will make your library a comfortable place for you and your children to spend time in.

5. Think about furniture

Aside from armchairs and bookshelves, think about any other furniture you would like to add to your library. For example, you may want to add a couple of desks or a large table for reading on or studying on.

When thinking about the furniture you want to add to your library, it is important to take the space of the room into consideration. Putting too much furniture in your library will overcrowd it and clutter up the space, making it more difficult to concentrate in there.

 

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Summer Learning Fun at IMACS Hi-Tech Summer Camp- Enter to Win a Week of Camp!

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Disclosure- We received a week of IMACS Summer Camp for each of my girls to facilitate our review.  All opinions are 100% our own.

P1220608For over 20 years, IMACS has been giving South Florida students an outlet for reaching their highest potential in math, computer science and logical reasoning and they have the success stories to prove it.  They have five locations, three of which – Boca Raton, Plantation, and Weston – offer the IMACS Hi-Tech Summer Camp.  My girls and I had the opportunity last summer to experience the IMACS Summer Camp for ourselves and it was an amazing experience.  IMACS Summer Camp is made up of 3 different academic programs- Logic Puzzles, Electronics, and Computer Programming and Virtual Robotics.  Logic Puzzles has team games, group interactions and friendly competitions.  Electronics is “hands-on” as students build projects that they keep.  Computer Programming and Virtual Robotics contains self-paced, virtual challenges.

Electronics

The Electronics class is a self-paced class in which students follow the lessons of the workbook in order and complete various projects.  There are worksheets after each project to check for understanding of concepts.  During each lesson there are also stopping points where the students must stop and have the instructor check their work up to that point.  workbookThe students learn real world symbols for electronic components to make circuit designs such as the symbol for battery, light bulb, and wire.  electronics chartsI love that the students aren’t just putting together cool projects but they are learning and gaining real world experiences.  The projects are all engaging and I was amazed at all the skills my girls were learning.  I never would have thought my 10 year old would be using wire cutters and other tools.  She gained so much confidence from this class.  All of the tools and parts are provided for the students and care is taken to keep the students protected as they are monitored and must wear protective gear such as goggles to keep their eyes safe.  toolsI really enjoyed watching the students interact with each other and help each other with their projects.  It was nice seeing students not only learn from the instructor and self-discovery, but also by teaching concepts to the other students.  Older students get to do more advanced projects that include learning skills such as soldering.
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Logic Puzzles

In the Logic Puzzles class the students work in teams, groups, and pairs to complete various types of logic games and puzzles.  They start off with 2 “String Games” as a whole group.  A string game consists of two strings on the white board that overlap like a Venn Diagram.  There are several pieces that get put on the board either in one of the sections of the string or on the outside of the string.  The students take turns trying to figure out what the “rule” is for that game based on where the items are placed.
String game2In the logic puzzles class they also play board games that require logic and thinking skills such as Othello.  They play these games usually in pairs for about 30 minutes of the class as the teacher walks around the room and instructs the students on game play and strategy.othello2Another part of the class are the critical thinking puzzles that are shown on the overhead projector.  This is usually about 45 minutes of the 2 hour class.  Here’s an example of some critical thinking puzzles:
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Computer Programming and Virtual Robotics

In the Computer Programming and Virtual Robotics class students learn introductory programming and problem-solving skills.

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IMACS

IMACS sessions run from June 8 through August 21, 2015 with weekly sessions (Monday through Friday). Students can enroll in one or more weeks of full-day camp or individual 2-hour classes. IMACS has classes to accommodate almost all students, from first graders through even the most talented 12th graders. Students can choose to enjoy a full day of camp in which they would take all 3 classes or they can choose to enroll in individual classes.  Each session is one week long for both full day camp and individual classes.  Costs for the full-day camp range from $420 to $564 per week and individual class costs range from $90 to $289.  Parents who enroll their child by April 1st will receive a 10% early registration discount.  Multiple class and sibling discounts of 10% are also available for any full day and individual programs within each session.

why IMACSIMACS camp is flexible.  You choose the weeks you want and they do not need to be consecutive.  This is great for scheduling your summer the way you want.  New campers are welcome each week.  There is no registration fee and no supply fee. Need to drop your child off early?  For campers starting at 9:15, early drop off is available from 8:00 to 9:15 at no charge!

shirtsFull Day Camp

Entering Grades 3–8: Campers benefit by participating in all three IMACS summer academic programs: Logic Puzzles, Computer Programming & Virtual Robotics, and Electronics. Campers are totally immersed in fun-filled academic pursuits such as playing strategic logic games, designing and building electronic devices, and programming computers.

Entering Grades 9–10: Students will have the tremendous benefit of studying three IMACS courses: Computer Science, Logic for Mathematics, and Electronics. This is an intellectually stimulating program for outstanding students. An aptitude test is required to properly place your child. Call IMACS to schedule an appointment.

The Full Day camp is 9:15 – 4:15. Early drop-off for full day campers begins at 8:00am at no additional charge. Lunch is 11:15 – 12:00. There are small breaks within each class and between classes.


Individual Classes

Entering Grades 1–12: Campers may enroll in individual classes. Each class meets Monday through Friday for two hours each day (except for campers entering grades 1 or 2).

Logic Puzzles- (Entering Grades 1-8)
Entering Grades 1–2: Games! Puzzles! Fun! (But don’t tell your kids that they are learning how to reason and are developing a love of mathematical thinking.)

Entering Grades 3–8: Mysteries of pure logic are presented in fun, compelling stories. Painstakingly designed, this class leads campers from elementary deductive reasoning to skills that exceed those of most college graduates! Team logic games, exciting tournaments, and, as in every IMACS class, new challenges each week!

Computer Programming & Virtual Robotics (Entering Grades 3–9)

Campers don’t merely use the computer in this course. They write computer programs! Using the programming language LOGO, developed at MIT, campers are challenged by projects designed by the IMACS Curriculum Development Group. With individualized guidance, campers develop basic programming and problem-solving skills. Campers can also apply these skills in the IMACS Virtual Robotics Lab, where programmable, configurable robots exist in a virtual world that contains the physical realities of friction, acceleration, and conservation of momentum. Campers showcase their triumphs on their personalized IMACS web pages.

Electronics (Entering Grades 3–10)

These classes introduce campers to the fascinating world of electronics. Campers learn about electrical components such as resistors, diodes, LEDs, capacitors, transistors and integrated circuits and use them to design and construct fun projects. Courses are tailored according to age and ability so that each camper is able to advance as far as his or her interests and abilities allow. Campers may keep the electronic devices that they build.

Computer Science (Entering Grades 7–12) Aptitude Test Required

Students pursue an academic, university-level computer science course. The IMACS curriculum has been used in prestigious programs such as Duke University’s Talent Identification Program and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Students work with interactive tools available only at IMACS and are taught by highly qualified and trained professionals. This class goes well beyond a traditional introductory course, introducing advanced concepts such as recursion, functional programming, object-oriented programming, and artificial intelligence. Contact IMACS to find out if this class is appropriate for your child.

Logic for Mathematics (Entering Grades 8–12) Aptitude Test Required

Logic for Mathematics is an unparalleled course in pure mathematical logic. Designed for the most talented secondary school students, it is the envy of university mathematics courses everywhere! This multimedia class improves upon our world-renowned Elements of Mathematics curriculum. Contact IMACS to find out if this class is appropriate for your child.

games for saleWant to Learn More About IMACS?

Students and parents have an opportunity to experience IMACS for themselves at free IMACS Summer Camp Open Houses in Boca Raton, Weston, and Plantation.  Open House attendees have a chance to win a raffle for a free week of full-day camp. At every open house, IMACS will hold two raffles–one for a free week of Full Day camp (for students entering 3rd grade and above) and one for a free week of Primary Logic Puzzles (for students entering 1st and 2nd grade).  For more information on the raffles and to RSVP for an Open House in Boca Raton, Weston, or Plantation, visit www.imacs.org/freesummer.
Attend an Open House:
March 14 – Weston
March 28 – Plantation
April 11 – Boca
April 18 – Weston
April 25 – Plantation
May 9 – Boca
May 16 – Weston
May 30 – Plantation

For more information go to www.imacs.org/summer to learn more about their summer camp.  You may also reach IMACS at 954-791-2333, 561-470-1178, or parentrelations@imacs.org.

IMACS is giving away a week of full-day camp to one of my lucky blog readers.  This is a $564 value!!!

Enter below:

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Celebrate National Reading Day With The Book of Life

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Disclosure- We received The Book of Life storybook kits in exchange for this post as part of Fox Home Entertainment’s blogger program.  All opinions are 100% our own.

Happy National Reading Day!
#BookofLifeReading

book of life reading dayI’m a lucky mom.  Both of my girls love to read.  I think their love of reading started when they were both little and we’d snuggle in bed as I read them their favorite stories.  We were excited to learn about National Reading Day.  National Reading Day (January 23, 2015) encourages children all over the country to read.  In honor of National Reading Day and upcoming release of The Book of Life movie on Blu-ray and DVD we received backpacks with lots of The Book of Life school supplies.
book of life backpack2One of the first things my girls did with the school supply sets was to make lists of the books they would like to read this year.  It is a great way to set reading goals for the year and see how many books they have read by the end of the year.  I love the lists because I can look on their lists and use them as wish lists to know what books they’d like me to purchase or borrow from our local library.  What are some of your children’s favorite books?

FREE Printable Reading List

bookoflife_downloads_2015booklistP1230748They may be 9 and 11 years old but they still love to color so they enjoyed coloring a Book of Life picture, too. P1230753P1230751  And showing their love for The Book of Life with the stencils in the kit.
love book of lifeThe theme of family traditions and family history is important in The Book of Life. In our kits we also received certificates to Pinhole Press to create our own The Book of Life themed family storybooks.  At Pinhole Press you can create high quality, personalized photo gifts such as memory games and storybooks.
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My girls thought they were a little too old to make picture books of our family members but this would be such an amazing book for younger kids, especially to remember relatives that life far away.  Pinhole Press also has other great The Book of Life personalized photo gifts such as a matching game, notebook, and magnetic portrait sheet so my girls decided that they wanted to make some other personalize photo gifts for themselves instead.  They just love that they are The Book of Life themed as it is one of their favorite movies.  They can’t wait for it to come on Blu-ray and DVD on January 27th.

Want to get your own photo gifts from Pinhole Press?  They’d make great Valentine’s Day gifts!

Get 10% off all Pinhole Press products with code BOOKOFLIFE.

(Expires on Valentine’s Day February 14, 2015)

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MerryMakers Plush Dolls Review

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Disclosure- I received the item mentioned below to facilitate my post.  All opinions are 100% my own.

MerryMakers Plush Dolls are collection of huggable dolls based on favorite children’s book characters. These dolls are thoughtfully designed, meticulously crafted and carefully tested.  Having a doll that is based on favorite children’s book characters really brings reading books to a whole new level.  When children have a tangible character in their arms and can read to their huggable literary friends, it makes them want to read more.  Stories really jump off the page when the character is sitting next to you!

Making Reading Merry

Adding Toys to Children’s Books Makes Eager Readers

Oakland, CA – (November 6, 2014) – When toys are added, do the books get better? 

Clair Frederick, President of MerryMakers, Inc., an Oakland, California-based toy and gift company, explains, “We are adding more joy to the joy of reading. When we add a plush based on the lead character from a children’s book, kids become more engaged. A tangible toy brings a deeper relationship with the character in the book.”

“The combination of the book with a related toy involves a child in a more meaningful way. It’s an additional connection to the story,” adds Betsy Foster, VP Sales and Marketing.

Supporting evidence of MerryMakers business plan may be seen inPete the Cat, the popular children’s book series by James Dean, published by HarperCollins. Pete the Cat books have sold over 5 million hardcover copies and have regularly appeared at the top of the NYT Bestseller List.  The Pete the Cat plush doll is the bestselling product in the MerryMakers line.  There seems to be no stopping Pete, with 2.9 million books sold in 2013 alone.

MerryMakers offers a variety of Pete the Cat merchandise, including a Giant Pete the Cat doll, a Pete the Cat backpack pull, a pencil case, a Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons puppet and a Pete the Cat Saves Christmas doll. In addition, MerryMakers acts as the exclusive licensing agent for Pete the Cat and has signed several licensing deals including University Games, Educational Insights, Colorforms and Wonder-Shirts.

Another popular MerryMakers toy is based on Tom Lichtenheld and Sherri Duskey Rinker’s book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, published by Chronicle Books. MerryMakers teamed with Chronicle Books to create a plush Excavator, the lead character in the book. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site has spent over two years on the New York Times Bestseller List, and MerryMakers’s soft excavator is one of the company’s top-selling preschool products.

The MerryMakers catalog of plush and other gifts includes items based on Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series, Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser’s Fancy Nancy books, Kevin Henkes’s famous mouse Lilly, Ian Falconer’s Olivia, Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty, Judy Schachner’s Skippyjon Jones, Tedd Arnold’s Fly Guy, David Soman and Jacky Davis’s Ladybug Girl and Melanie Watt’sScaredy Squirrel.

MerryMakers line of toys is loved by kids, praised by parents and acclaimed by teachers.  We chose characters from two of our favorite books.  When my girls were younger I always read them The Kissing Hand (of course for the sake of this post I couldn’t find the actual book).  When my daughters would leave to go somewhere without me (like school) I would give them a kiss on the palm of their hands so they could hold my kiss with them the whole day like in the story.  I just love this cute plush raccoon that is complete with a red heart on his hand.P1230537

My girls also love all of the Just __________ and Me books.  Of course my favorite is Just My Mom and Me.  So we were all exited to see that MerryMakers makes a plush Little Critter doll, too!  P1230540My girls are older now but they still love to read and they now love reading to their new MerryMakers plush dolls.

Here are some of the plush dolls that you can find on the MerryMakers website.
Which one is your favorite?

Pout-Pout Fish Found Floppy Bunny Pete the Cat
Pillow
Lilly
Nelly Gnu Clark the Shark Fancy Nancy
(New Size!)
Gingerbread Man
Pete the Cat
Pencil Case
Fly Guy
(New Sizes!)
Caroline Jayne Church Bear Voyage to the Bunny Planet
How Rocket Learned to Read
(New Size!)
Girl with a Pearl Earring Dot. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Pete the Cat Holiday Llama Llama Holiday Ladybug Girl Bad Kitty
Pete the Cat Pete the Cat
Buttons Puppet
Walter the
Farting Dog
Now in 2 Sizes
Olivia
Now in 3 Sizes
Five Little Monkeys Otis the Tractor Baby Bear Sees Blue Nightsong
Whistle for Willie Peek-a Who? Dear Zoo Little Critter
Llama Llama Puppet Z is for Moose Llama Llama Skippyjon Jones
Penny and Her Song A Ball for Daisy On the Night You Were Born Froggy
Scaredy Squirrel One Love How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? The Quiet Book/The Loud Book!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? Only One You The Snowy Day The Kissing Hand
Where Is the Green Sheep? Duck & Goose Aliens Love Underpants Geronimo Stilton
Everywhere Bears History Everywhere Bears Outdoors Park Ranger Bear Doll Park Ranger Backpack Pull
Park Ranger Doll Mysteries of Egypt
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100 FREE Children’s Kindle eBooks PLUS Cooking, Crafts, and More!

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100-free-childrens-ebooks

Books can get so expensive so why not grab some free eBooks for your children and yourself?
Head here to see the list of the Top 100 FREE Children’s eBooks.
Here you’ll find the Top 100 FREE eBooks in lots of other categories such as cooking, crafts, and more!
Check back often as they are updated daily!
Enjoy!

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Little Passports Announces Early Explorers Subscription for Preschoolers

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Little Passports Announces Early Explorers Subscription for Preschoolers
**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

little passportsLittle Passports has a wonderful new program for preschoolers, called Early Explorers. Children ages 3 to 5 can experience the joy of learning about new cultures.

Each month, your child will be introduced to a new theme like animals, music, and landmarks. Early Explorers is designed with preschoolers in mind and provides fun and educational activities, souvenirs and stickers. During the first month, a Traveler’s Kit arrives in a fun orange suitcase. It holds everything a child needs to start learning about the world:

  • An activity book introducing new characters Max, Mia, and their dog Toby.
  • A wall-sized world map
  • Stickers and a wall decal
  • A luggage tag

After the first month, a monthly World Theme Kit arrives, which contains:

  • An activity booklet
  • Souvenirs
  • Flashlight Adventures
  • Stickers and wall decals

Early Explorers makes a unique holiday gift for children ages 3 to 5. Learn more about Early Explorers from Little Passports.

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Big Hero 6 Printable Activities, Science Experiments, Recipes, and More #BigHero6 #BigHero6Event

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Big Hero 6 opened in theaters today.  You can check out my Big Hero 6 review post to learn a little more about it.  And here are some great science experiments, printable activities, recipes, and more.  Click each image to be taken to the hi-resolution, printable images.  Enjoy!

baymax rocket fist

Big Hero 6 Science Experiments

big hero 6 recipes

Big Hero Recipes- Wings and More!

invisible ink

More Big Hero 6 Science Experiments

origami baymax

Big Hero 6 Activity Pages

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