Overcoming Math Madness with Go Math Academy #HMHAcademy

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  All opinions remain 100% mine.

If you ask my oldest daughter to name her favorite subject in school, she would name anything and everything that came to her mind before math.  To put it lightly, she is not a fan.  School has been in session for one month now and I can’t remember a day when it hasn’t been a struggle to get her to tackle her math homework. You can forget about extra worksheets to study for a test.  The struggle is frustrating.

There has to be a better way.  And I was hoping Go Math Academy would be it.

Go Math! Academy™ is an online, at-home learning program based on Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s enormously successful GO Math!™ textbook curriculum, used by over 7 million kids worldwide. Go Math! Academy offers thousands of math practice problems, hundreds or help videos, and plenty of games and rewards to make learning fun!

After setting up an account and adding my daughter (you can add any child from grade K-6), I was excited to learn that she actually uses Go Math Academy in school and apparently she loves using it.  So she actually gave ME a tour of the website and it’s capabilities.

First, your child can choose between a journey into the Jungle World or the Sky World. As I suspected, Lily jumped at Sky World and we were given a list of topics to choose from.  Given that she had an upcoming test on multiplication facts, she choose to take a journey into that module.

Lily was then faced with a series of questions that were very similar to what she has been doing on the endless worksheets but somehow there was no complaining while completing these problems. Relief!  Go Math Academy allows the student to check their answer and make corrections while offering words of encouragement.

But, I think my favorite feature is that some problems have helpful video tutorials (which are even good for parents).  After completing a journey, your child receives their score and they can move on to another topic.  Surprisingly, my daughter actually asked to do another journey.  Like asked to do more math.  What?!  I’m officially in love.

Go Math! Academy is available in your choice of three payment plans (access for up to 5 children):

  • Monthly: $9.99/month
  • 6-months: $49.99 ($8.33/month) – a 17% savings
  •  1-year: $79.99 ($6.67/month) – a 33% savings

The price is well worth the countless hours I am saving by eliminating the math drama in my home.  Learn more by following Go Math Academy on Twitter and Facebook.

Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot Book Series {Video Review}

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

I am fortunate that both of my daughters love to read.  The only problem is that they go through books so quickly that we are constantly looking for more reading material to send to school for silent reading time.  But, I think we have found a winning new series, Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dave Pilkey (author of the popular Captain Underpants).  About the series:

Ricky Ricotta is a little mouse with BIG problems! Every day he is picked on by the neighborhood bullies. He lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and being an only mouse, he is often lonely. That is until SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS! A giant flying robot enters Ricky’s life and an unlikely friendship is born! Together, Ricky and his Robot must save the planet from a galaxy bursting with bad guys!

My daughter finished book 1 and loved it! From the minute you open the book, you know it’s going to be different because it is in FULL COLOR.  With features like mini-comic strips and flip-o-grams, the illustrations really are part of the story and grab your attention.  Get a better look and check out what we thought in the video below:

Learn about other great books for your young readers by following  Scholastic and ScholasticTeach on Twitter!  What are your kids reading these days?

Planes Upholstered Chair from Delta Children {Giveaway}

How many times have your kids seen Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue this Summer?  I’ve been hearing great things about it, but we unfortunately haven’t made the trip to the movie theater.  But from walking the aisles at just about any store, I can tell it is wildly popular with all of the merchandising available.

Do you have a “Planes” obsessed child in your home? I have one Planes Upholstered Chair from Delta Children (available at Walmart) to giveaway to one lucky reader (ARV $50).  About the product:

This great new Planes Upholstered Chair is the perfect chair for your little one. Planes Upholstered Chair, the soothing chair provides a perfect spot for your little Pilot to watch his favorite shows and relax after a long day. The upholstered chair is built with a sturdy durable frame making it the perfect chair for studying and relaxing.

Enter below for a chance to win!

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Reading Under the Stars with Scholastic #SummerReading

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

One month ago, my daughters both accepted the Summer Reading Challenge.  Now in its 8th year, the challenge is dedicated to stopping the “Summer Slide” and getting kids to read throughout the summer months when school is out. We have always had a dedicated reading time before bed, but now we are logging minutes for a cause.

I helped each girl create an online account and they began tracking their number of minutes read.  The goal?  To help Read for the World RecordThrough this program, Scholastic inspired more than 130,000 kids from 4,200 schools in all 50 States and 31 countries to set a new record for summer reading of 176 million-plus minutes in 2013 and this year kids are being challenged to break the record.  So far, kids around the globe have logged over 172,000,000 minutes making the 2014 goal within reach.

To help my girls log additional minutes, I decided to spice things up.  This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Reading Under the Stars” so I thought it would be fun to take the books outside for a change of scenery. Because this year’s theme is powered by EVEREADY, the maker of batteries and flashlights, to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading, we headed to the backyard with flashlights to add minutes to the record.

My daughters thought snuggling in a sleeping bag, enjoying the beautiful stars and snacking on some popcorn while reading their favorite books was a ton of fun!  In fact, it was so much fun that they have requested a “Reading Under the Stars” Slumber Party before school begins.  What a great way to encourage summer reading!

if your kids want to join in the summer fun?  Get more information at scholastic.com/summer and start contributing minutes to reach the 2014 challenge.  How do you encourage your child to read?

Stop the Summer Slide with Scholastic #SummerReading

When the last bell of the school year rings, my kids run in the front door, throw their school bags in the closet, dump their school shoes in the garbage and turn their brains to “off.”  I may be more than 20 years removed from my school days, but I remember the feeling well.  I think the decompressing phase of Summer is essential so I let the kids completely relax for one entire week.

But 9 times out of 10, I hear the words “I’m bored” before time runs out.

Fortunately, I have two girls who love to read.  So after the week of relaxation, they will usually suggest that we head to our local library and pick out some summer reading books.  Shhh….don’t tell them that they are actually learning and investing in their own futures.  Did you know that 3rd graders who don’t read on grade level are 4 times less likely to graduate by age 18 than proficient readers?  To avoid the “summer slide” and lapse in reading skills, my girls will be participating in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge  powered by EVEREADY®.

From now through September 5th, my girls can log their reading minutes (online or via smartphone) as they help Read for the World Record, enter sweepstakes to win fabulous prizes, and earn digital rewards when they complete weekly reading challenges. Through this program, Scholastic inspired more than 130,000 kids from 4,200 schools in all 50 States and 31 countries to set a new record for summer reading of 176 million-plus minutes in 2013 and this year kids are being challenged to break the record.

My daughter and I set up her account and she has already begun entering her minutes to contribute to the new record.  She loves that she can track her progress and earn badges for success.  In this digital world, anything “tech” inspires my daughter, too.  So, I downloaded the free Scholastic Reading Timer App which encourages reading every day allowing users to time reading minutes with an interactive stopwatch and track minutes on a weekly log. Plus, parents can check children’s reading activity in addition to browsing daily tips, articles and book lists. We also connected her account to her school so she will also be contributing towards minutes earned by her school.  The elementary school with the most minutes read will win a school visit from bestselling author/illustrator David Shannon!

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Reading Under the Stars.”  Next month, we will be hosting a party with some family and friends to read together while enjoying the outdoors.  Tune in and blast off with us!

Need more resources? Follow the Summer Reading Challenge Pinterest Board and check out #MondayMinutes on Twitter to see the progress towards breaking the record!

Summer Fun with KFC and Family Game Night

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by KFC.  However, opinions remain 100% mine.

During the school year, between studying, class projects, dance classes, and Girl Scouts sometimes I feel like my family and I are ships passing in the night.  Finding time to spend together can be virtually impossible, so I could not be more excited that my kids are out of school for the Summer!  And with my husband being a teacher and also out of school, we are lucky enough to have a whole summer of family time.  All of this quality time is wonderful, but finding a way to keep everyone entertained can be challenging.

Family Game Night is a great way to turn any ordinary weeknight into fun family memories.  Some of our favorite games to play together are Pictureka and Guess Who but we are always looking for new games to add to the lineup.  To help you get your game on, KFC is giving away one free I Spy game with every 12pc Tender Meal (or larger) complete with 2 large home-style sides and 4 flaky biscuits. And with bonus I Spy posters, we will have many nights of fun.

Have you played I Spy before? My kids absolutely love the game of finding hidden pictures (you can even play online at the KFC site) and allows us to interact during dinner instead of doing the typical “eat and run” on a busy school night.  Plus, with dinner taken care of, I don’t have to jump up to do the dishes! It’s a win win!

What games do you play on Family Game Night?

Explaining “The Question” #TheBabyTree

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy.  A sample was received to facilitate this review, however all opinions remain 100% mine.

I swear I just had two little babies in my house not that long ago.  I blinked and now I have two daughters who are growing up faster than I would like to admit.  But at ages 6 and 9, I have two very curious girls on my hands.  Up until now, I have been able to handle most questions that come my way, but recently the dreaded, “Mom, Where do babies come from?” has surfaced.

<insert blank stare here>

As a scientist, I am no stranger to research so I started looking for age appropriate ways to have this discussion with my girls.  I received the book, The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall to review and thought it would be a great way to break the ice.  About the book:

Sooner or later, every child will ask, Where do babies come from? Answering this question has never been this easy or entertaining! Join a curious little boy who asks everyone from his babysitter to the mailman, getting all sorts of funny answers along the way, before his parents gently set him straight.

The cute official book trailer shows a bit more of the book and offers a funny perspective from kids.  I just love the answers these kids come up with!

I sat with my 6 year old to read the beautifully illustrated book and took some time to answer her questions. Here’s a few highlights:

I think “The Baby Tree” is a great way to open the “Where do babies come from?” discussion with your 5-8 year olds.  It was fun and playful but gave truthful facts at the end of the book. You can find The Baby Tree on Amazon in both hardcover and for your Kindle.

“The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl” is Perfect for My Kindergartener

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

My favorite part of the day has to be bedtime with my daughters.  It’s a time to slow down and share stories about the day.  Often, my girls will open up about something that is bothering them during our quiet times and ask for help.  My youngest is a Kindergartener and with the school year coming to a close, she is nervous about her upcoming graduation and moving on to 1st grade.  It was fate that I received the new picture book by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton.

The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl! which was released on April 8th, is the sixth adventure in the series of Very Fairy Princess books.  About the book:

While her friends and family may not believe in fairies, Geraldine knows, deep down, that she is a VERY fairy princess.  In this new tale, the end of the school year is here, and Very Fairy Princess Gerry is getting ready to graduate! She always loves a celebration, but can’t help but feel a little sad as she empties her cubby, takes down her art projects, and says goodbye to her class pet, Houdini the hamster. She’s also a little nervous about leaving Miss Pym… what if her new teacher doesn’t let Gerry wear her wings and crown? Change can be hard, even for a fairy princess! Thankfully, she realizes that new things can bring their own sparkle.

For my daughter, this was a great way to bring up the topic of growing up and nervousness of facing new adventures.  At the end, much like Gerry, she realized that change can be good!  I am sure much more reassurance will be needed as the new school year begins, but the book allowed her to open up about her jitters.

Learn more about the series by checking out The Very Fairy Princess website.  Then, come back and enter to win all 6 picture books in the series!  Enter below:
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Inspire Innovation with GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank {Giveaway}

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

I am the proud Mama of two beautiful daughters.  They love pink.  They love dancing.  They love princess.  But that doesn’t mean that they can’t love math, Science and engineering.  I, too, was a pink-loving twinkle toes who grew up to achieve a Master of Science in Biology and I will encourage my daughters to chase their dreams as well.

Toys that teach and encourage imagination are tops on my list so I could not have been happier to review GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank.

GoldieBlox is a book and construction set series that aims to get girls building, close the gender gap in STEM fields and inspire the next generation of female engineers.

Each building set comes with a story which sets the scene for the construction.  My 9 year old took the reigns by reading the story first while my 6 year old sorted through the pieces.  Finally, the girls worked together to bring the story to life by actually building the scene.

In GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank, Nacho, Goldie’s dog, hates water and loves being dirty. After many tries to get Nacho clean, Goldie finally comes up with the perfect contraption – a dunk tank! As the story progresses, kids learn about hinges and levers while creating a dunk tank for Nacho to finally bathe in before they all head to the town carnival.

My daughters were able to assemble the set with no help from me.  It was great to see them working through problems together and conquering the task at hand.  But one of my favorite features is actually the box! What an ingenious idea to have all of the pieces actually snap into place so nothing gets lost. Plus, the pieces of each GoldieBlox set work in conjunction with others so the possibilities are endless.

If you are looking for a last minute addition to your child’s Easter basket, head to Target where you will find GoldieBlox sets for just $19.99.  Or, you can win GoldieBlox and the Dunk Tank right here on Experimental Mommy.  Enter below:

 
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How to Draw Beaker from Muppet Labs {Printable}

I have some wonderful childhood memories of watching The Muppet Show with my family.  It was a show that made us smile, laugh, and chuckle…together.  By looking at the design on my blog, it should come as no surprise that Beaker from Muppet Labs is my all-time favorite Muppet and I am so happy to see that he makes another appearance in the soon-to-be release Muppets Most Wanted movie.

To build excitement about the movie, check out this great tutorial on how to draw your own Beaker!

Download the PDF Printable Here.

 

Who’s your favorite Muppet?  Don’t forget to head to the movie theater on March 21st to support your favorite character!