Posts Tagged “Summer”

Last Minute Summer Learning & Summer Brain Drain Challenges

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Try the Train Your Brain series for last minute summer learning.

This posts contains affiliate links and was #sponsored by Train Your Brain, by providing us review copies. The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.

Train Your Brain 2 (4)

Ok, it’s the end of the summer… are you sitting here thinking, “wow, we really didn’t get to library as I hoped” or “oops, we were too busy for puzzles and reading”?  With less than two weeks before Labor Day and the start for local schools, we’ve got you covered. Train Your Brain is the perfect summer series to squeeze in that summer learning you soooo intended to do. Really. There are six books in the series, packed (but not overwhelmingly packed) with puzzles and mind games to get the kids ready for school… while still poolside. Many of the activities don’t even require a pencil, just mentally solve and move on. Very cool as a shared family resource. And kinda fun for the grown-ups too.

Train Your Brain 2 (1)

So let’s take a peek at two of the books we were issued for review: Train You Brain – Cranium Crunchers (fitting, right? LOL) and Train Your Brain – Perplexing Puzzles. Each have 84 puzzles that get increasingly more challenging. The books are broken into 3 sections: Super Brain, Mega Mind, and Ultra Genius. Each have a variety of activities, and both books have similar puzzle styles (obviously not the exact same puzzles).

Train Your Brain Inside Pic

Here’s what I like most… the puzzles are “doable” meaning not too intimidating and with quick instructions. Some people love a good crossword puzzle… for me, I don’t want to invest that much time into a single puzzle activity. I can’t help but think many children feel the same way… this Train Your Brain, the puzzles are challenging without being overly time consuming. Love it.

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Avoiding the Dreaded Summer “Brain-Drain” With Art & Jackson Pollock

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Finally, the summer has arrived and as much as we’ve all anticipated and waited and waited and waited for it… we dread the much feared “summer brain drain” syndrome.

At Homeroom At Home, we feel the summer offers the perfect time for crafting and art exploration. Many stores stock up on inexpensive crafting supplies and kits, so be sure to check out what is available and of interest. Perhaps, keep a small bin full of “rainy day projects” or add-on crafts.

In terms of introducing and exploring the mystery and fascination of fine art, consider the following fun example:Art Appreciation for Kids

My four year old loves the character Olivia… you know the adorable pink pig always dressed in red and black doing most adorable things. Well in the story titled Olivia this little pig takes a family trip to the art museum whereby the author/illustrator, Ian Falconer depicted two famous pieces of work – “Ballet Rehearsal” by Edgar Degas and “Autumn Rhythm #30” by Jackson Pollock.  So right there in the middle of a children’s story is the perfect opportunity to lightly discuss two very famous artists.  Now take this one step further with tools like Classical Baby: The Art Show, which also highlights a famous Jackson Pollock piece: “Number 1A”.  Sure this DVD is designed with babies in mind but seriously it is perfect for a backdrop while doing a simple craft or coloring. The art comes to life with classical music… and has been a favorite ever since we popped it in. Relaxing, inspiring and just amazing.  Now that we’re on a roll… let’s look at another favorite: Picasso That’s Who by Hope Harris.  We love this CD that highlights many famous artist and holds an underlying message that anyone can be an artist.  Be sure to check out the first track A-C-T-I-O-N which is all about Jackson Pollock, but the entire album is upbeat and inspirational.  You can check out our previous review here.  And then there are other resources for children, check out your local library or Amazon for the following cool titles: Jackson Pollock (Life and Work Of…), Jackson Pollock (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists), and Action Jackson, not to mention this awesome book of activities called Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects, which offers a DIY Jackson Pollock activity. So many options, so much fun… and learning all the while.

This of course is only one example. Look to do the same with Edgar Degas or Picasso. This was not a sponsored post, although we do have an affiliation with Amazon. These suggestions and opinions are strictly my own. Enjoy and have some artistic fun this summer.


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How to Beat Kid's Summer Boredom

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Sure there are so many things to do for the summer, and every child anxiously awaits the last day of school.  But nonetheless, they experience days of total summer boredom and with that comes nothing good, including the messiest play, mischief, migraines for parents and constant whining.  So here are a few simple suggestions to shake those days up and avoid the pitfalls of overly boring, super hot-n-sticky days of summer.

1.  Catch the sunset.

Sunset on the Delaware River

 

Catchin The Suns Rays

We are fortunate to live close to a park situated on the Delaware River… making an amazing backdrop for the day’s end.   The playground provided plenty of entertainment while we waited for each stage of the sun setting.  For my toddler is was a great lesson in colors as well, as we watched the sky transform from blues and greens to oranges and purples.  Just an amazing summertime thing to do.  We didn’t stay long after, but you could certainly take advantage of the light evening darkness for catching fireflies.  For more educational ideas, look for shapes in the distance and clouds.  For us, the bridge provided angles and triangles.  Talk about the different types of clouds, fresh water vs salt bodies of water, and perception of objects (like will that barge fit under the bridge when it looks too large?)  Test your little one to find the best angle to go down the slide or why sneakers might make you go slower.  And be sure to just sit back and enjoy nature’s beautiful daily artistry. 

Pillow Tower Fun

2. Build a tower of pillows.

Pillow Tower Tumbling

Almost like building blocks but bigger and softer.  Bed pillows, sofa pillows, even the decorative throw pillows add a different dimension to your child’s creative structure.  How high can they stack?  How about tunnels or geometric shapes?  Of course they are fun to climb and topple on top of.  The bravest moms might allow sofa cushions in the mix and/or pillow tosses and fights.  (Confession – I wasn’t that brave mom!)

3.  Themed play… in our case it was Star Wars.

These light sabers totally distract kids (and big kids) from unpleasant storms, heat waves or any boredom.  Part of the charm is that these toys rarely get played with, especially for the young one… so I encourage parents to dig deep for something that the kids rarely get to lay their hands on.

Everything Barbie

Another suggestion: clear a play area and pull out ALL of something for a huge focused playtime activity.  By example, we’ve done this with Barbie… lots and lots of Barbies, furniture, clothes, pets, etc and had one big community of Barbie.  Same idea with Little People making a large platform with all the different pieces arranged to create an interactive community (city, farm, circus).

Catching Some Quiet Time

4. Take a trip to your local library.

We enjoyed a variety of picture

Quiet Time At the Library

books and then had some quiet reading time to ourselves.  Unfortunately we missed the children’s story hour by 30 minutes but now we know better.  Be sure to check out the schedule of events at your library since most have programs for families, especially during the summer.

5. Break away from routine.

Find an opportunity to break your schedule.  Enjoy your breakfast outdoors or perhaps an informal dinner on the deck.  Put on a bubbles parade with music and dance.  Consider summer rain showers as natures sprinklers… and dance in the rain.

Picnic With My Brother

Picnic With My Cousins

6.  Create a Fort.

Sharing Our Fort

Pillows, blankets, cushions and large stuffies enable some cool creations.  Once complete, grab your flashlight for some shadow fun.  Pick out some favorite books and read by flashlight in your new cool hiding place.  Challenge your kids to build a tunnel, multiple entrances and hideaways within the structure.  For added educational fun, consider discussions around the pyramids and ancient castles that were cleverly designed with tunnels, secret spaces and defense in mind.

For more ideas visit Kelly Whalen’s article “25 Frugal Ways To Keep The Kids Busy This Summer” at blog.ableBanking.com.  She includes handy tips like finding free camps, discount museum admission, garden tours and so much more.  Share with us:  What’s your coolest boredom buster?

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