Monday, August 10, 2009


It's back-to-school time and I wanted to point you in the direction of some articles that will help your kids get in gear for the new school year.

How to Develop Math Literacy in Preschool Kids

How to Help Kids Understand Fractions

How to Get Kids' Minds Ready to Go Back to School

How to Help Learning Disabled Kids with Math

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Summer is almost over. Now is the time to squeeze all the extra juice you can of the last few weeks of warm weather. So if you haven't done any of the following yet this summer, what are you waiting for?

1. Slip 'n' slide/sprinkler party followed by popcicles for everyone. Slip'n'slides are inexpensive, around $20 to $30. Be sure to supervise to ensure safety--I've seen some bad spills when kids got a little too rambunctious.

2.Make homemade ice cream in ziploc bags.

3. Fly a kite.

4.Letterboxing. Haven't heard of this? Letterboxing is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places. It takes the ancient custom of placing a rock on a cairn upon reaching the summit of a mountain to an artform.

Here's the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting, or remote location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called "clues" or "the map"), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don't have to. Selecting a location and writing the clues is one aspect of the art.

Check out the official website to find letterboxing locations near you (or start one!).

5.Have a water balloon fight. If you have a little extra money, buy soaker balls which are cloth balls that soak up water to make a reusable 'water balloon'. They are relatively inexpensive (around $5 to $6 for a package of 4 or 6).

6.Have a water pistol fight.

7. Go kart racing.

8. Make aFoamboard doll house/ superhero set. This is a great rainy day activity that can be adapted for boys or girls. You need one sheet of foamboard for kid (which costs like $2) and a bunch of catalogs/magazines for them to cut out pictures of furniture etc... in order to decorate the space.

9.Have a weinie roast and make campfire s'mores.

10. Go for a walk in the dark with a flashlight. Try to pick a night with a full moon and let 'em loose. Add walkie talkies, if you've got them, to turn your midnight jaunt into a secret mission.

11. Make your own pizzas...repeatedly. Older kids should be charge with making homemade dough and everyone should top their own pie.

12. Make sidewalk paint.
·1/4 cup cornstarch
·1/4 cup cold water
·6-8 drops food coloring
·Paint Brush


1.Mix cornstarch and cold water together in a small plastic bowl.
2.Add food coloring and stir.
3.Repeat the process to create different colors.


Use Super Sidewalk Paint for painting hopscotch grids, cakewalks, even make-believe roads and highways for toy cars.

13. Make goop.

14. Find a drive-in theater and go to the movies. Here's a list of drive-in locations around the US.

15. Go somewhere new close to where you live. I live by Lake Erie and we haven't been there once--oversights like that should be rectified. City and national parks with water often have rowboat or kayak rentals at reasonable prices. Go fishing.

Or go to a museum.

Look for Renaissance Fairs in your area (although they can be on the expensive side).

Go to a classic car night at a local restaurant or pub--this is free unless you order food and kids will enjoy people and car watching. Stop for ice cream on the way home and talk about which cars you liked best.

16. Fill a pinata with candy and whack away. Who says you need to wait for a birthday or special occasion? Any time is pinata time. Have kids make a cheap pinata with a brown bag. Let them fill it with candy. Tape it shut. Decorate and whack away.