Paper Craft Engineering aka. Valentine’s Day Envelopes

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guest post by Patty O’Brien Novak, children’s author, engineer, educational consultant/trainer and speaker. With Sesame Street’s recent change in focus to add more engineering to their programming (yeah!), I want to share an engineering activity you can do at home with your preschooler (and older children, too.)  Envelope engineering was inspired by my dear daughter, who at … [Read more...]

PBS Kids, STEM, Twitter, Video Games, and You!

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You're invited to a PBS Kids STEM Twitter party 1/19 at 9 p.m. EST for which I'm a panelist. If you join us, you'll learn about an innovative opportunity for children to design their own video games through PBS Kids, PBS Kids Stream, and the National STEM Video Game Challenge. (*STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, & math.) A 2009 report from the Joan … [Read more...]

Most Popular Blog Posts of the Year

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As we finish 2011, I thought I'd share the most popular posts of the year and chat with you about 2012. Like last year, January will be all about learning and education topics. And, last year was a dozy for me because of what I wrote in January. If you are new here, you can start with this seemingly innocent post which started an avalanche of uproar in my life, much of it I … [Read more...]

I Love the Word Pajaggle, and the Game, Too

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It's so much fun to say the word, Pajaggle; about as much fun as it is to play the actual children's game! And, while you're having fun, you're learning because you're improving spacial skills and memory. (Good thing this is for all ages because God knows I need to work on my memory.) Pajaggle is a board with 61 differing shaped sockets; each socket matches a … [Read more...]

Q-Ba-Maze = Amazing Building and Marble Play

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Did you see the New York Times article about the math and language benefits of block play? It made me think of my new favorite building toy, Q-Ba-Maze 2.0, which is more than just blocks - it's also a marble maze. One of my favorite companies, MindWare, brainy toys for kids of all ages, sent it to me to review. The clear and colored interlocking cubes attach top to … [Read more...]

Seriously — Engineering for Kids?

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Kids already are natural builders. Give them LEGOS, facilitation, and information and watch as kids become engineers. Actually, I never thought about engineering for kid until AJ (4th grade) took a Play-Well Engineering FUNdamentals class after school, which she loves. It got me thinking about all the ways to learn about engineering - and, you know I love to research and … [Read more...]

Blast Off! Pretend Play Astronaut

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Young astronauts, get your rockets and space ships ready to blast off into pretend play imagination land! Lucky for me, I got to play astronaut in Leann Ausec's playful ECE room at Aspen Academy where I took these photos. So, what can young astronauts do to playfully learn about space? First, prepare with background knowledge Learn about space, constellations, and the phases … [Read more...]