Arkansas’ Summer Fun Place

Lazy River at Wild River Country

This is a sponsored post by Wild River Country. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

As a new teacher, I’ve relished in my first summer break since I was in college (long, long ago). My kids and I have just been hanging out, having playdates, visiting family, and enjoying lots of pool time. So for my last week of freedom (my school starts mid-July), we decided to go to Wild River Country again. Quinn, Maya, Lucy (Maya’s friend) and I hurried out the door, and we were the first in line to get in when the gates opened at 10 a.m.

Wave Pool at Wild River Country Continue reading “Arkansas’ Summer Fun Place”

Summer is the Season for Kidnappings

kidnapping kid

By: Gloria Marcott, Soul Punch Self-Defense

2017 Statistics identify that the number of children abducted or that go missing every day in the United States is 2,160. That is enough kids to fill an entire large population size school that do not return home every day.

The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrown Away Children (NISMART) has found that 41% of abductions occur during the summer months of June, July and August. 74% of non-family child abduction victims are girls and 80% of child abductions by a stranger occur within a quarter mile of the child’s home.

kidnapper in the park

Continue reading “Summer is the Season for Kidnappings”

Summer Reading Parenting Tips

Disclosure: The links in this blog post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, online I will receive a small commission from Groovy Lab in a Box.

Love a GROOVY giveaway?

My friends at Groovy Lab in a Box are hosting a sweepstakes where you can win a one-year subscription (valued at more than $250!). All you have to do is type in your email address, unhealthy and you are entered.

Click here to enter to win a one-year subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!Groovy Lab in a Box

Groovy Lab in a Box, the award-winning educational kits for kids ages eight and up that teach about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), recently announced a new partnership with Popular Mechanics.

Each month, they send out a themed box filled with investigations that are fun and hands on. The investigations culminate into an Engineering Design Challenge, where your STEMists must apply what they’ve learned from the investigations (and use their critical thinking skills) to complete the challenge. The boxes contain everything you need to complete all of the activities, including a groovy retro-themed lab notebook. The box activities are supplemented with their Beyond…in a Box web portal where your children will find videos and additional, interactive activities. Head over to Groovy Lab in a Box’s website to learn more about this great service!

Good luck! I hope you win!


Tips for parents to get kids into regular summer reading routine

More than 50 million children in the U.S. have started their summer vacations and their annual break from homework, hospital
tests and assignments. Unfortunately, many of them will stop reading while having fun in the sun and experts say parents need to make sharing books a part of summer vacation and establish regular reading routines for their children.

Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, has several tips for parents to make reading a part of the summer break.

“Summer reading should be all about the parent-child experience,” said Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., president and CEO of Raising A Reader. “Rather than having it be a chore, or a list of must-read books, summer is a terrific opportunity to build family reading experiences. Whether it’s as simple as reading with children so they can see how much adults love reading, or visiting places and doing activities tied to a book, there are a host of ways reading can help children enjoy the summer and be ready to start school in the fall.”

Here are some of the Raising A Reader tips for parents:

  • Reading often gets lost in the shuffle of summer activities such as camp, sports and vacation travel. Schedule a regular time to share books with your child and establish a regular routine to ensure reading doesn’t become a low priority and has the same importance as other activities.
  • It’s OK to let your child read e-books if he or she is comfortable using a tablet, but remember, whether it’s an e-book or a print book — especially for young children — the most important thing is to spend time together sharing the book. It’s about the experience, not the technology.
  • Make it fun. Have your child come up with a different ending to a story, play ‘what if’ with the characters or the setting, or read the book from end to beginning. Come up with fun ways to engage your child beyond the actual reading of the book.
  • Let your child choose. Books are great, but so are comic books, magazines and even educational websites such as National Geographic Kids or The Discovery Channel. Let them chase their interests and they’ll be reading more than they realize.
  • Create an outdoor reading area so the whole family can enjoy the summer weather and not feel stuck inside. Children generally read indoors, so being outdoors will create a new environment for enjoying a book and boost a child’s enthusiasm for reading.
  • Connect with other families to share books and arrange reading playdates. You can even set up a Facebook group to stay in touch and share ideas, swap books and make plans.
  • Write a book with your child about them, your family, their favorite foods or toy, their friends or whatever interests them most. Your child can draw pictures or use actual photos. If you’re worried that your child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games, have him or her tell you or write a story about their favorite TV show or video game. You can also use one of many templates available to create and print the book on your computer.
  • Invite the family pet to join the book sharing experience. Even if your child can’t read yet, have her ‘read’ the story to you and the pet. Children who can read will be able to practice their skills and children who have not yet learned to read will begin to think of themselves as ‘readers’ which is very important to lifelong learning.
  • Find books that are centered on summer activities he or she enjoys. If your child likes to go horseback riding, for example, find books about horses or stories with horses as an integral part of the plot. This will give a child a welcome change from the types of books read during the school year and better complement their summer.
  • If you are taking a trip, read books about your destination with your child before you leave. Do some research with them on the location and find things in the area they want to do while visiting. And don’t forget to play “I Spy” with road signs or license plates along the way.
  • If you are taking your kids somewhere for the day, such as a pool, the beach, a picnic or the zoo, pack a book to share and have a reading break or two during day. After an hour or so in the water, your child may enjoy 30 minutes of reading on a comfortable chair or even floating on a raft.
  • Create a summer reading challenge with family members or connect to your public library’s summer reading challenge activities. When your child meets the challenge make sure there is time to talk about the book, share the story with others and read the next book.

Raising A Reader is a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a child’s success in school and in life. The program is evidence-based, with more than 32 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. Raising A Reader is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 2,500 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, afterschool programs, community agencies and other organizations both public and private. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.25 million families nationwide. More information is available at RaisingAReader.org, @RARnational (Twitter) and RaisingAReaderNational (Facebook).

5 STEM and Maker Apps and Games

School’s out! And that means it’s time to plan for what summer activities should be on schedule. What should you do to keep your kids from the summer slide and regressing academically on their summer break? STEM and maker apps and games.

Traditionally, epidemic as the designated family vacation time, sildenafil summer travel was a great way to teach kids about geography, culture and history. But what about getting your kids to invest a little bit in learning STEM, the hard sciences and math skills that are so important to quality academics and careers?

Not to worry, summer can be a great time to get you kids – especially young ones – to learn science, math and computer skills – especially while road tripping. And with new, highly successful gamification learning and apps, most kids don’t even know they are learning computer coding or physics.

STEM-based, maker movement compatible games and activities

Finding and using a few of these STEM-based, maker movement compatible games and activities can absolutely stall the summer learning slide and may even give your kids a leg up next year or even further down the road.

While you may want to spend a few minutes searching computer and STEM learning activities for the summer, here are a few ideas and options to get you started. Many of these are free – or less than $6.

1. Lego Education – get kits for hands-on building mechanized buildme-slider-9b6ec45b65253f312e6368bf3fd677b3robots and other tech and engineering marvels using Legos. And much, much more.

https://education.lego.com/en-us/?domainredir=www.legoeducation.us

2. Simple Physics – an app that allows kids to build things such as skyscrapers and bridges using real physics and engineering and calculating cost considerations.

http://jundroo.com/app/simplephysics/

3. Blokus – an easy, kid-focused app based strategy game that rewards strategic decision making and spatial awareness.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blokus/id762630884?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

4. Tynker – introduce kids to the basics of computer coding with the leading app and learning platform for coding for kids.

https://www.tynker.com/

compass unit5. Orienteering – an outside, map-based logic sport and game that’s more than a century old – teaching map skills and navigation.

http://evavarga.net/product/introduction-to-orienteering/

Warby Parker 2016 Summer Collection

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Since I started wearing glasses again about two years ago, this I’ve become a bit obsessed with all the beautiful and stylish choices available these days. Warby Parker has an awesome selection! The newest sunglasses in their Summer 2016 Collection include shapes for both women and men. Celebrating all that is fun about summer, these new frames come in colors such as Grapefruit Soda, Sand Castle, Ocean Mint, and Belize Blue.

Here are a few of my favorite ones:

Bensen in Belize Blue
Bensen in Belize Blue

Anders in Crystal

Anders in Crystal

Topper in River Stone Blue Fade
Topper in River Stone Blue Fade

 

These new options of shades are perfect candidates for Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program. Warby Parker allows you to pick out five frames from their collection, and Warby Parker will ship their selection to you for free so that you can try them on in the comfort of your home.

And, as always, for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. How sweet is that!?!Tilley in Grapefruit Soda

Did you know that you can use your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars at Warby Parker? Well you can, so don’t let that money go to waste.

So don’t settle for boring glasses and get a pair of these hot frames today. You’ll be sizzling this summer!!!

See Summer Better

Family Fun Days: June 4-5

Disclosure: I received free admission to Playtime Pizza in exchange for promoting AR Family Fun Days. However, prostate all opinions expressed her are my own.

Playtime PizzaThere’s a lot of good research out there about the benefits of families spending time together – how it builds confidence in kids, dysentery encourages a healthy lifestyle, breast etc.  The goal of Arkansas Family Fun Days is to create an opportunity for families to get out of the house and experience something new and fun together. Several Little Rock area attractions offering special deals for families this weekend (June 4-5):

Plus all locations are also offering two for one ice cream, courtesy of Hiland Dairy!

Playtime Pizza

I spent yesterday celebrating my birthday at Playtime Pizza, one of the participating attractions. Playtime Pizza is a 70,000 square foot indoor family entertainment center. My parents, my brother and his family, and my family were there for the fun — and we all had a blast! Not only does Playtime Pizza have a great selection of pizza, pasta, salad, desserts and more, it has games that appeal to kids of all ages. (And I got to act like I’m 8 instead of 48!)

Please take advantage of the savings this weekend and go enjoy some family time. These are memories that you and your kids won’t forget. And it’s the perfect way to start off your summer!

Big thanks to Tiffany, Playtime Pizza general manager, and all the Playtime Pizza staff for their hospitality yesterday. You were so kind and made my birthday party a smashing success. Thank you!