The summer is full of adventure. And this summer, Amelia Rose Earhart became the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine plane. No, she’s not a relative of that Amelia Earhart, but she was named after her.
The original Amelia Earhart set many records in aviation, like in 1932 when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was an icon in her time. She is still an icon today, and has inspired the many women pilots who have flown the skies.
Amelia Rose Earhart was just one of those women inspired by the original AE. Amelia Rose completed her around-the-world trip on July 14, 2014 when she and her co-pilot landed in Oakland, CA. The flight was made in honor of her namesake the famous 20th century aviatrix, and to benefit the Fly With Amelia Foundation. The foundation awards flight-training scholarships to young women, and works to raise public interest in aviation in general.
In June 1937, nearing her 40th birthday Amelia Earhart took off with her co-pilot at the start of what was meant to be an around-the-world journey that would have made her the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Her tragic disappearance has gone down as one of the biggest mysteries in history. In light of her determination, grit, and passion for piloting, not to mention her gift for writing and editing, we tip our hats this July 24 to Miss Earhart on her 117th birthday.
A few weeks ago, members of our design, engineering, and editorial teams headed off to a local school-bus yard to do something very special—we filmed our first music video! This was no simple task; we were challenged by the moving sun, uncooperative fog machines, and numerous puppet costume changes. But the end result was better than we could have asked for: it’s a classic rock-opera-style music video with a familiar tune, starring everyone’s favorite Brainzy characters. Check out our behind the scenes photos, and scroll down to the bottom to see our final music video!
Happy National Pet Week, everybody! As the creators of coloring pages, science fair projects, and activities that revolve around animals of all kinds, we’re pretty big fans of pets over here at Education.com. Over the years, we’ve discovered that our freelance photographers aren’t just talented artists—they own some of the cutest animals we’ve ever seen. Below, we’ve listed three of the stars of our activity and science fair sections. Meet three of our favorite furry, fuzzy mascots of Education.com.
Pet Parent: Alycia Aragon, Activity and Science Fair Photographer
I live in: San Jose, California
My favorite food is: Anything that Mommy or Daddy is eating.
How I found my family: I was the only survivor of my litter. My dog mom was very shy so I didn’t get a lot of experience with other dogs. Luckily, my human parents were allowed to take me home one weekend and soon after were told they could keep me forever!
Hobbies and Interests: Playing with stuffed toys, fetching the ball and not giving it back, shredding paper towels, finding dust bunnies, digging in blankets, eating treats, and being a good girl!
As Seen In: T-Shirt Pillow, Are Dogs Colorblind?, Praise vs Food, Pup Tent
Pet Parent: Meghan Smolka, Photographer and Activity Writer
I live in: Santa Cruz, California
My favorite food is: Bacon Treats
How I found my family: I met my family at the orphanage!
Hobbies and Interests: I love to stretch out and warm my belly in the sun, chase flies and squirrels, and take up the whole bed at night.
As Seen In: Dog Massage
Pet Parent: Beth Levin, Activity Writer
I live in: Portland, Oregon
My favorite food is: Turkey
How I found my family: Happy Valley Pugs
Hobbies and Interests: Chewing rawhides, playing with my family, cuddling in blankets, sitting on laps, walking, and attending pug meet-ups in Portland.
As Seen In: Host a Dog Wash!, Doga
We’re very excited to welcome guest blogger Dylan Arena to the education.com blog. Dylan has done some amazing things in the field of education: he’s the co-founder of Kidaptive, holds his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford, and sits on the board of a local charter school. An early-learning specialist, Dylan wrote a guest post for us about supporting social-emotional learning at home.
Social-emotional learning, or SEL, is exciting—and not only because it promises well-behaved, considerate kids! When a child practices social-emotional learning, he is learning how to recognize and manage his emotions and navigate social relationships. Recent research on over 270,000 students showed that those who received SEL instruction outperformed those who didn’t by an average of 11 percentile points on measures of academic achievement.
In short, SEL matters, whether you care about whole-child development or pure academic achievement. So what can we do to equip our children with the social and emotional tools they need to thrive?
What You Can Do
For early learners, there are three foundational aspects of SEL: understanding and expressing their own emotional states; responding to others’ emotional states; and beginning to learn to control their emotional states. (Young children’s brains aren’t yet fully wired to allow them the kinds of emotional control that adults can muster.) Parents can support this learning at home, every day.
Build Social-Emotional Vocabulary
First, help give your child words for the emotions he feels. To a preschooler, feelings like frustration, fear, and boredom can just seem like a bunch of ways of feeling “sad.” Understanding their differences helps pave the way for finding solutions. When you comfort your child, describe the kind of “sad” he’s feeling. You might say, “Whoa, you almost fell off the bed! That must have been scary. I bet you’re crying because you’re feeling scared right now.”
Identify Peer’s Emotions
As your child learns to name different emotional states, you can help him spot those states in others. Many conflicts between young children arise simply because one child doesn’t see how their actions have affected their playmate. Helping kids learn to notice those effects can be powerful. You might help your child observe another child’s emotions like so: “Do you see how your sister’s forehead is scrunched and her mouth is turned down? I can tell that she’s upset. Why do you think she’s upset?”
Learn to Manage Emotions
Now for the hard part: helping children begin to manage their emotions. The part of the brain that controls self-regulation functions doesn’t finish developing until after adolescence. So when a preschooler is in the grip of a tantrum he is literally out of control; he can’t choose to calm down! Trying to reason a child out of the tantrum won’t work, because as long as he’s upset he can’t follow your reasoning. Instead, connect emotionally and offer strategies for riding out the storm. Give your child a hug, help him find a quiet space, or encourage him to breathe deeply, listen to music, or hold a favorite toy. When the waters have calmed, you can talk to your child about what happened to make him upset and what he might do next time to avoid the problem.
In an era in which academic success seems like the end-all-be-all, it can be tempting to focus solely on “the basics” of early learning, like ABC’s and 123’s. But there’s nothing more basic than our emotions; and learning how to manage them and be sensitive to others is a powerful way to succeed in school and in life!
We’re so excited to spend the week celebrating one of our favorite community resources: libraries! The Education.com staff is unanimous about our love for our local ‘braries, and there are a ton of reasons to become a regular visitor. Why do we love a good library? We’re glad you asked.
We’ll start with the obvious one. There’s nothing we like better than a room full of books just waiting to be read. As amazing as this resource is for people of all ages, we were especially thankful for free and accessible literature as children. Libraries were the places where we figured out whether we were fans of fantasy, science fiction, or nonfiction (or all of the above!). And when we finished our first book (which, we confess, usually happened on the walk home), there was always another that we wanted to read at our fingertips.
Is there anything more wonderful than a person with an encyclopedic knowledge of children’s literature? We were always amazed that we could walk in with a well-read copy of Matilda to return, and walk out excited to start our librarian-selected copy of Harriet the Spy. And there was no TV show or movie that could compare with a well-articulated read aloud from our favorite librarian’s book of the week.
While a building full of books is magical on its own, there was always an otherworldly silence that set libraries on a whole different plane from our usual rough-and-tumble childhood locales. While the outside world was full of shouting, running, and hot sand, the library offered a cooling and calm oasis where we could be quiet and reflective for a while.
The Sense of Community
Libraries were a place where we got together with classmates to study, read, and pass notes. But it was also a place where we could meet new friends who liked to read the same things as we did, discover local events, and even learn about our town history through archived newspapers. Our childhood librarians did a great job of promoting awareness of free and local resources, and we constantly found ourselves leaving with plans to visit a town fair, go on a playdate, or volunteer in the community vegetable garden.
The High-Tech Bonuses
One of the advantages of living in the digital age is having free technology available at our community libraries. Most people are aware of the computer labs at their local branch, but some libraries also let you check out music CDs, books on tape, DVDs, and even E-readers. There are even available listening and viewing rooms for people who want to enjoy these resources at the library.
These are just a few of the reasons that we love libraries. Have a Happy National Library Week, and don’t forget to support your local branch!
Nothing gets us wanting to be Brainzy quite like a good pirate song. We’re totally in love with this video; not only does the tune remind us of our third-grade music classes, but there’s just something about the ludicrous mix of sight word sailors and old-school sing along that really resonates with us. Dust off your eye patch and learn some sight words with the Brainzy gang! (And PS: Be on the lookout for our favorite part—at 0:34!)
There is nothing that makes school children breathe a sigh of relief quite like spring break. Sure, kids love the wonder of winter break and the expansive freedom of summertime, but after two to three months of non-stop school work, with only the odd three-day weekend thrown in, students are ready to kick back and let loose during spring break. How do you make the most of the season? Try some of our spring break ideas for kids, and have a happy break!
One of the best things about spring is that everything is in bloom! Celebrate the beauty of the season with some invigorating outdoor activities that you can do as a family. We love the idea of a spring hike! Hiking is a great spring activity, since it’s usually sunny but still cool enough that your kids will be comfy when they work up a sweat. Family hikes also provide great opportunities for learning. Find a hiking spot at your local national park, beach, or trail by doing an online search. Try packing a backpack full of sandwiches and fruit, or a loaf of bread with cheese and cut-up veggies, and have a picnic once you’ve hiked to a scenic spot. And don’t forget your water and sunscreen!
If your kids are always asking questions, then spring break might be the perfect time to turn their questions into experiments. Take your science experiments to your home garden for some outdoor learning about animals, plants, and more. Try creating some camouflaged animals with your child and teach him how animals keep themselves hidden in flowers, leaves, and trees. Spring is also a great time to go on a search for spiders in your backyard. And since it’s spring, you can even grow a plant or two … in garbage!
Spring break is a great time to learn some new recipes with your kids! Lots of fruits and vegetables are in season in the springtime, including avocados, strawberries, and arugula, so it’s a great time to focus on healthy, produce-focused foods that your kids will love. Visit a farmers market with your child to see what kinds of fruits and vegetables grow near you, and cook simple meals that get you to sauté, roast, or steam. You can even mix fruits and vegetables in one dish for an amazing salad! Need some healthy meal inspiration? Check out our healthy foods Pinterest board for snack and meal suggestions.
There are a lot of reasons why we love traveling to the Land of Knowhere; there are our funny friends, like Muggo and Cuz Cuz, the games we play when we’re there, and our exciting adventures in learning! We really enjoy visiting the Land of Knowhere through our Brainzy reading and math games, but sometimes we want to spend some time in Knowhere, away from a computer. That’s one of the reasons why we love Brainzy’s Super Fun Activity Book so much.
This silly activity book really is super fun! Not only does it contain learning games that get kids to work on early reading, writing, math, and memorization skills, but there are also a ton of creative and play-based exercises just for fun. One of our favorite things to do with this Brainzy book is to dress the Roly paper doll up in a Hawaiian shirt, a ninja suit, or a tuxedo! There are also memory card games, coloring activities, and step-by-step drawing tutorials in Brainzy’s Super Fun Book. Enjoy your stay in the Land of Knowhere!
This week, members of our editorial staff visited Captain Jason M. Dahl Elementary School in San Jose to act as guest judges for their annual science fair! Since we spend a lot of our time reminiscing on our own science fair projects and coming up with new ones, we were understandably stoked to be there.
Excited by the possibility of bubbling volcanoes and model solar systems, we entered the school with sharpened pencils in hand and our metaphorical judge caps on. We were delighted to see that the auditorium was filled with a range of science fair topics and experiments! The room was full of statically charged balloons, televisions covered in tinfoil, oobleck, cabbages, and the obligatory volcano or two. We even saw a few projects from our own collection of science fair activities.
The students came up with some impressive trifolds and displays, but our favorite part of the day was meeting the kids in person! We spent the majority of the afternoon speaking with energetic kids with a passion for scientific discovery. The students regaled us with tales of failed experiments, chemical reactions, and ‘ah-ha!’ moments. Everyone we spoke with learned something new and seemed genuinely excited about their science project.
A big thank you to Mrs. Feria at Captain M. Dahl Elementary for hosting us, and for the school’s young scientists for sharing their discoveries!
February is “I Love Reading” Month! Now, we at Education.com love reading every month (we post about books all the time!), but “I Love Reading” Month is a special time when we get to share our enthusiasm for the written word with friends, family, and—most exciting of all—the Education.com members! To celebrate a month of books and reading, we’re asking our members to take a reading pledge.
During the month of February, we’re asking Education.com members to commit to helping their kids read four books. Kids and parents will get to spend time bonding over old and new favorite books, and exploring all that children’s literature has to offer.
Families that read all four books and log their progress on the “I Heart Reading” page will be entered to win exciting educational prizes! One grand prize winner will receive a Kindle prize pack, and 100 first prize winners will receive a one-year subscription to either Brainzy or PLUS. All grand prize and first prize winners will also get an “I Heart Reading” t-shirt! Full contest rules can be found here.
Are you interested in joining us for “I Love Reading” Month? Take the pledge today!