Sunday, April 15, 2012

SimplyFun wins three more awards!!!!

These 3 products just won Mom's Best Awards. Check out all the Mom's Best Award winners here.  You can also see all of SimplyFun's award winning games on my personal website.


Bubbles are SO much fun! Don't you agree? For Easter I got the lil' guy a bubble blower. We took it outside on our deck and had some serious soapy fun. When they are a lil' older we can talk about the science of bubbles. I found a great site with some great information on bubbles. Andrew was totally facinated. I got some great pictures of the kiddos at play. Check them out!

I LOVE this last pic. My lil' turkey is SO handsome!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Puzzle Play Improves Math Skills

My mom wasn't surprised that I turned out to be the math whiz in the family. She said growing up that I was the only one out of her three kids who loved putting together puzzles. Research backs that up. Puzzle play improves spatial skills. Think geometry. Spatial skills give you the ability to rotate objects in your mind. This skill set is important in technical careers or careers involving design. Architecture, engineering, graphic design, and photography are some examples of careers where spatial skills are necessary.

In the research article I linked to above, I found the following paragraph to be quite interesting.

"The researchers asked the parents to interact with their children as they normally would and about half of the children in the sample played with puzzles at least one time. Higher income parents tended to engage children with puzzles more frequently. Both boys and girls who played with puzzles had better spatial skills, but boys played with more complicated puzzles than girls, and the parents of boys provided more spatial language during puzzle play and were more engaged in the play than the parents of girls."

It's no wonder that technical fields like engineering are dominated by men. As parents it is important that we engage our girls in puzzle play in the same way we engage our boys. If you are like me, you want ALL of your children to have EQUAL opportunities in life.

Friday, the UPS man dropped off a box containing some new puzzles. We headed out of town for Easter so today was the first day I had the chance to break into them and play with my kiddos. I snapped some pictures of my babes at play.
Roo is a little young to learn how to tell time but this is a fantastic puzzle for number recognition and sorting colors. Lil' Turkey was drawn to the hands that spin round and round. Roo had no problem taking all the pieces out and putting them all back in their places. She was quite pleased with herself.

As Roo took out each piece I said the number and did the same as she returned each piece. She repeated me and then insisted she count each piece. I love that she has put together that numbers are used for counting. Lil' Turkey is at that age where he repeats every sound that he hears so he too was calling out the number names along with Roo. She was able to clean this one up and put it away all by herself.

We moved on to the Our World puzzle set which includes planets, continents, and the U.S. We have an older version of a SimplyFun (SF) U.S. puzzle already so the new one will become someones birthday present. Each puzzle is individually wrapped which is great.

When you lift the planets out the base, it's position to the sun is noted. Cool! Besides learning about the sun and planets, this puzzle can be used to discuss colors and compare size -- Which is the largest? Smallest? Which one is the red planet?

On to continents and oceans!!!

Lil' Turkey busied himself with some blocks. Every child should have a set of blocks. I found a pretty good list of the benefits of blocks. The list includes spatial reasoning, language skills, and hand-eye coordination.

You can find all of the information about the puzzles that SF offers here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

WIn a SimplyFun game!

Leave a comment on the SimplyFun blog for a chance to win a SimplyFun game of your choice. You can find the blog here. The most recent blog is on Building Resilience in Children and Teens.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Study: Board Games Boost Preschoolers' Math Skills - Inside School Research - Education Week

Study: Board Games Boost Preschoolers' Math Skills - Inside School Research - Education Week

Great summary of research findings that that show the link between board games and numerical knowledge.

My lil' Roo at 2.75 years old impresses me daily with her ability to count fairly accurately up to 5 objects at a time and sometimes further. The first time she counted  along with me it blew my mind. It was several months ago now and we were eating breakfast. She had a few grapes, or maybe they were blueberries, on her plate (I'm so happy I'm blogging now so I can keep better track of details along with dates and ages). She was using one of those segmented children's plates so I picked up the first grape and moved it from one side of the plate to the other. As I did this I said, "One." I picked up a second grape and said, "Two." As I picked up the third grape, Roo looked at me and said, "Three" and continued on to four. My jaw dropped.  She preceded to keep on counting. I was so amazed. I had counted with her before but didn't realize she was paying attention. Quite honestly, I think Dora the Explorer had her hand in Roo's counting abilities too.

Now we play a great game called Share A Berry. It is a game designed for toddlers that helps them with early counting, one-to-one correspondence, left and right, fine motor skills, and SHARING! We played yesterday with the twins during my mommy preschool. I was so pleased at how well all three kiddos were taking turns and shared their berries without hesitation. You can learn more about this game here. It's recommended for ages 3 and up but can easily be played with your two year old as long as you are involved. The berries are about the size of a grape so they are a choking hazard if you take your eyes off your munchkin.
Back in February I did an event with a local group called S.O.A.K. (Supporting Our Aspie Kids). There was a family there with their 4 y.o. son who has been diagnosed with aspergers. I sat down with them and taught them how to play the game. The first few rounds of the game you are adding berries to your berry string. It's not until you reach the last two cards that you begin to share your berries with the player on your right or on your left. The first time this lil' boy had to share it was not a pretty scene. His parents told me that sharing is an area where their son really struggles. We explained to the child that he would need to share but when it was his mommy and daddy's turn they would also be sharing. After a few rounds he was happily sharing and truly enjoying the game. The parents bought their own copy without hesitation and were so thankful to have found such a fun way to teach their child how to share. That reminds me -- I need to give them a call and see how they're doing. I always love to here how SimplyFun games have impacted families.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Day At Play

Today started like most days. I woke to the sounds of my giggling toddlers coming through the baby monitor. I must admit, there is no better way  than that to wake up each morning. Today and every Wednesday, I host mommy preschool in my home. My friend allows me to teach and play with her twin boys alongside of my little Roo. All three kiddos are two and a half with third birthdays quickly approaching. Roo is my girl Emma, my first. I also have lil' Turkey -- Andrew. He recently passed the one year mark and is a force to be reckoned with. Roo and Turkey have a big sissy too. She is my step-daughter Jasmine -- aka Jazzy. Boy-oh-boy do those kiddos keep life interesting! Their daddy is my hard working husband, Marcus

I've set up a blog page before but I've never made it past the "design" phase. I am determined to blog about my experiences being a mommy to two toddlers at play. Like many mommies I know, I started a home based business with an AWESOME company called SimplyFun. I had no idea the impact it would have on my family.  The mission of the company hit home with me: Smarter Kids & Stronger Families. You can learn more about the company mission here. I was invited to a party and while I was there I knew I had to get involved. That was October 2011. In the short time I've been a part of the SimplyFun family, I have learned so much about how kids learn through play... not through flashcards and not through popular videos. I am so passionate about what I am experiencing within my family. I want to share it with others who know that the best place for kids to learn is at home with their families.

I've always had a passion for teaching. I began my teaching career in 2004 and I haven't stopped since. I spent most of the years since then teaching middle school math. I spent one year at the high school level. I wasn't a big fan!! I needed something that would fit my strong desire to stay home with my kiddos. Thankfully my Master's Degree in Math Education allowed me to take a position with my local community college teaching prep math. I LOVE IT! Teaching adults is almost as amazing as teaching my own children. I truly found the perfect balance of work and family. I am so grateful!

Come back often and read along as I reflect upon moments of play and the learning that occurs in those precious moments.