Helping our children be 21st century learners is no easy task as a parent. I know for me, so much has changed since I was in school. My older son has a #STEAM themed curriculum at school where they try to infuse as much as they can into everyday learning. This can be anything from using manipulative to school to using Ozobots or Lego’s to allow them to code and create without realizing they are learning! I like this because I hope it will help my son to become more flexible and collaborative as he gets older since the key learning skills are currently being built at an early age. I also like to try to carry over these skills at home!
Beyond the classroom
In some classrooms before the advent of #STEAM students would watch a video or passively hear a lesson taught. As time has evolved, instead of just hearing the lesson the students are learning multiple ways to tackle the problem and solve it. This can lead to some challenges for kids at times, who may become overwhelmed with all of the ways to solve the problem without truly understanding the core concept or skill. Children with special needs also may struggle with the new concepts of #STEAM learning because being presented so many different ways to solve a problem can at the very least be overwhelming. One of the great things about STEAM learning is that the classes provide hands on engagement to solve real world problems – instead of just having to do a math page or read a chapter from a history book. One of the other great benefits is that children work together collaboratively to solve a problem or challenge rather than struggling to complete it on their own. This encourages team work, collaboration and reasoning which are all great skills to apply later in life.
Snapology is a company that wants to help children with STEAM and problem solving skills using their creative thinking and imagination. As part of their program offerings, they offer camps, field trips, birthday parties for kids three and over, scout adventures and more. Topics range from game design, building, coding, animation and more. Perhaps my son will learn how to code an iOS app to help me in the future!
Building and creating
As a parent, I am always thinking of ways that I can help to enrich my children outside of school. We regularly try to help our kids get hands on learning beyond the textbook or classroom. That means, I’m working on helping him learn more about STEAM via the use of our iPad, doing some simple programming and helping him experiment to solve problems We also pull out our Lego’s and create and build as well. We have even experimented a little bit with Scratch programming which is a visual programming language designed to give kids their first experience with coding. :Looking for more great tech enabled STEAM ideas? Check out our STEAM and STEM gift guide which has some great suggestions!
This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. Thank you so much for supplying a Lego set for our readers!
Want a chance to win a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator? You can enter via a comment on this post. The comment must say where you are from and why you want to win the prize. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is to those that live in the United States and have a valid United States mailing address. A valid legal name and address are required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
From outdoor adventures to summer enrichment to computer coding, online camps keep kids busy, learning, and having fun.
Virtual summer camps — where kids head to the computer instead of the pool or park — are a thing now. But don’t worry: These aren’t the solitary, sedentary, screen-centered experiences you fear. Plenty of virtual summer camps offer kids the chance to make projects, investigate ideas, and explore the world. And many are free.
Going to camp online is a great way to keep your kids occupied during a “staycation” or between their other activities. It can also give kids something unique: individual attention. You, a babysitter, a grandparent, or even an older sibling act as virtual camp counselors, leading — and even learning alongside — your kids. With many of the virtual camps below, you can mix and match activities to tailor the experience to your kids’ interests. Expect to be more involved if you go for the free, choose-your-own-adventure camps. But fee-based camps call for some adult participation, too. Check out these offerings:
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Summer Camps
Start with a Book. Free; age 6 and up.
In addition to a summer science camp, this site offers a long list of themes, such as Art, Night Sky, and Weather Report, for kids to explore. For each theme, you get book suggestions (for all reading levels), discussion guides, hands-on activities, and related sites and apps. You’ll need to shell out for books if you can’t find them at the library.
PBS Parents. Free; age 3–9.
With an emphasis on summer reading, the PBS Parents’ site offers a variety of practical, step-by-step plans to incorporate books into the dog days of summer. In addition to the downloadable Summer Reading Chart and the “Book-Nik” guide to a book-themed picnic, you can use the Super Summer Checklist PDF to plan hands-on experiences.
DIY. Free and fee-based; age 7 and up.
This site offers dozens of skill-based activities (which it calls “challenges”) in a variety of categories, including Art, Business, and Engineering, that kids can do year-round. Every summer, DIY runs camps and shorter courses. Some of the camps have online counselors who interact with your kid. Sign up to get notified of the latest offerings.
Make: Online. Free, but materials cost extra; age 12 and up.
The folks behind the maker movement offer weekly camps based on themes such as Far Out Future and Flight. You get a PDF with daily activities that support the theme, such as making slime and designing and flying kites.
Made with Code from Google. Free; age 12 and up.
A wide range of projects, including making emojis, animating GIFs, and composing music, is designed to ignite a passion for coding in teen girls. (There’s no stopping boys from doing these projects, though.) The site offers inspiration stories from female tech mentors as well as ideas to make coding social, such as a coding party kit.
JAM: Online Courses for Kids. Free for first 30 days; $25 per month (per kid) with discounts for yearly enrollment; age 8–16.
What can’t kids learn at this online school? There’s drawing, cooking, animation, music, and much more. Each course has a professional mentor and is broken down into easily manageable “quests” that kids can complete at their own pace.
Khan Academy. Free; age 6 and up.
While Khan Academy doesn’t offer specific camps, it provides meaningful, step-by-step exploration in a variety of topics, including math, science, and arts and humanities. Kids can sign up with a coach (a teacher, parent, or tutor) who can monitor their progress and suggest lessons. Kids also can earn badges by learning and teaching. The custom dashboard has a progress map that fills up as kids work their way through the skills.
Brain Chase. $79, extra for electives; age 7–14.
Created by two parents who were looking for a way to help their kids continue learning during summer, Brain Chase takes a creative approach to enrichment. It starts on June 19, 2017, and runs for six weeks; kids work on math, reading, and typing all while competing in a real-life treasure hunt for the chance to win a $10,000 scholarship.
Camp Wonderopolis. Free for campers; optional $25 instruction guide for parents; age 7 and up.
Sponsored by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), this online camp lets kids explore topics such as weather, food, and technology. Each topic includes lessons, outdoor activities, videos, and additional reading suggestions for all ages. The 2017 theme is Build Your Own Wonderocity, where families explore the wonders of construction and engineering in 42 lessons.
Connected Camps. $69-$99; age 8-15. For tech-curious kids, check out Connected Camps, which offers week-long, instructor-led, Minecraft-based camps including coding, game design, and engineering. There are also courses in Minecraft and the Scratch programming language just for girls.
TechRocket. Free for a course sampling; memberships: $19/year, $29/month; age 10 and up.
Launched by iDTechCamp (the popular — and pricey — computer day and overnight camps), TechRocket offers online instruction in coding, game design, and graphic design. Each camp offers a variety of levels and challenges as well as a dedicated instructor.
About the Author: Caroline Knorr
As Common Sense Media’s parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” Caroline can help you make the decision that works best for your family. She has more than 20 years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parent magazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do. And she’s the proud mom of a teenage son whose media passions include Star Wars, StarCraft,graphic novels, and the radio program This American Life.
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.
8 Reasons Why Kids Should Science More
From a very early age children love to learn new things, and not only do they love to learn, they are experts at it. Children learn by playing, observing, doing, testing ideas and pushing boundaries.
In many ways the way in which children learn is the same way a basic scientific study would be conducted: start with a bit of knowledge, come up with a hypothesis based on that bit of knowledge, test and learn from the outcome (good or bad).
And this is a practice that should be encouraged, nurtured and built upon. Science is not only a great subject because of the things that can eventually be done with it, but because of the life skills that it also teaches along the way.
So what are the life skills that science can teach? Check out the following infographic created by psychology and science website psysci to read about 8 of them:
About the author
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a masters degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
What we love…
fun toy themed app that includes skills like math, reading, creative design, problem solving
What we’d love to see…
ability to have a budget for toys, more options when designing your own toy
Remove this text and add your own here.
Grandpa’s Toy Shop by Fairlady Media is a universal app for iOS featuring Grandpa and a variety of great activities including design and building of toys, pricing of toys, helping customers choose a toy, using the cash register to calculate totals as well as cleaning up after they have closed for the night. Skills practiced include math (1 – 20), reading (spell the names of ten different toys including robot and boat), creative design of toys, selecting different parts to make a robot, using the cash register to add up the total and pricing the toys.
This app from Fairlady Media reminds me of going to the toy store with my son. There are so many choices of things that he can choose. My son loved making toys including robots by choosing arms, legs, body and head, decorating items using jewels, spelling of a variety of toys, helping the customer choose items, and adding up the total of the items purchased. I loved the life skills of choice, finding objects on a list and pricing them as well as adding up the total.
I loved how many choices were available to design the toys. My older son loved designing a kite, making a colorful teddy bear while my younger son scribbled and made the jewels to the crown. I also liked that the activities were step by step including the building of the doll (head, body, arms, legs) and similarly the robot was built the same way. After you created the design and toys they would go to the toy shop to be displayed – something my artistic 8 year old loved! I also liked that I could customize which games were appropriate depending on the child so I could turn them on and off as well as the music. My son also liked to see his creations displayed. I also liked seeing how my son would look at the prices of the items as he tried to figure out the cost for each of the specific items. In addition, I liked how there was a specific pattern – first you make toys, then you “open” the shop by making a sign advertising one of the toys you made, spinning the pinwheels and putting out the sign. Next you price the toys before the customer looks for specific toys – which helped kids pick which ones they needed from a field of eight. It’s also nice that the toys rotate making it fun for kids to play over and over.
In terms of enhancements, it might be fun if you were given a budget and then the child could figure out which combination of items you could buy for x amount versus using the shopping list. My son also wished that there were more choices for coloring in the designed toys like the sailboat or that he could choose the width of the crayon. For those that are not yet good at math, it might be nice if the cash register had an icon to represent the specific toy by touch instead of adding them together. Currently the cash register does have some icons but they don’t represent toys that I saw on the shelf on a routine basis.
Overall, this is a fun app designed for preschool age up. I liked that you could pick games which catered to your child’s strengths which meant that more or less mini games were available depending on your child’s skill level. There are no external links or in-app purchases. There is advertising for other Fairlady Media apps but it has a parental gate of a birth year in order to proceed.
Grandpa's Toy Shop
by Fairlady Media
Category: Education, Educational, Family, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 76.23 MB
Screenshots (Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad (Click to enlarge)
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.
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