Archive for June, 2011

How to Teach U.S. History to Your Kids

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The results of a recent nationwide test have revealed that U.S. students don’t know their history, according to a report released by the New York Times. Only 20 percent of fourth graders, 17 percent of eighth graders, and 12 percent of high school seniors proved themselves proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Another recent test showed that U.S. students are struggling with Civics knowledge as well.

Part of the problem when it comes to NCLB, or “No Child Left Behind,” is that public schools are required to teach to the test – the math and reading test. This often leaves insufficient time for teachers to dive into other subjects.

So what’s a parent to do? For one, don’t leave the job of teaching U.S. History and Civics to teachers and schools. On the bright side, these subjects aren’t constantly changing, one of parents’ biggest complaints when it comes to elaborating on math concepts with their kids. Topics such as Brown v. Board of Education or the Revolutionary War are lessons that really haven’t changed since you first learned about them in school.

History is also a subject that’s easy – and fun! – to make entertaining. Use page-turning historical fiction to help kids dive into the action firsthand, or the new quarter design to introduce stats on each state.
Looking to teach about some landmark American events? You don’t have to go it alone. Here are some activities that we think make history lessons a little more inviting:

For more hands-on activities that explore U.S. History, visit:

It’s that time again… the Summer Activities Challenge starts now!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

We’ve just kicked off our third annual Summer Activities Challenge (it’s hard to believe it’s already been three years!) and the office is buzzing with excitement. And apparently we’re not the only ones. It’s been less than two weeks, and already 1,200 families are signed up and over 500 activities have been completed!

The Summer Activities Challenge is a wonderful way to fill those dog days of summer in an educational (but mostly FUN!) way. Plus, your family has the chance to take home our grand prize, a $500 Back to School Splurge, or one of ten Indoor/Outdoor Kids’ Croquet Sets (an A+ Award-winner!). Check out the rave reviews some participating families gave the Winter Activities Challenge: (more…)

Summer Reading Lists: The Best Reading to Beat Boredom!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

This week marks the final days of school for the last round of kids to escape for summer vacation… and consequently, some understandably frantic parents. As summer starts heating up and the novelty of summer vacation begins to wear off, many families look towards summer camp, vacations, and play dates to keep kids occupied. But no matter how scheduled your summer is, your kids will likely end up with some, “Well… what should we do now?” moments.

Cue’s annual Summer Reading Guide! Whether you’re looking for a good read for a family road trip or an at-home activity, you don’t need to brave the bookstore or library alone. The Editorial team (as well as some very helpful kids!) have combed through tons of new (and not-yet-released) books to find the very best summer picks for the preschool set through high school-aged teens. (more…)

500 Rainsticks + Maker Faire = Endless Fun!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 defines a “community” as a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests. At, we have a rather large community. That is, our community is made up of teachers, parents, caregivers, grandparents, nannies and au pairs, as well as anyone who’s involved in the life of a child. That’s quite a community!

At the Online Community Manager at, I’m given the pretty awesome role of interacting with people who visit, read, and put into action the articles, activities, worksheets, school information, and more they find on the site. I feel lucky that I get to hear from people every single day who’s role as a person invested in a child’s education or development — in any capacity — is improved or made easier by the resources offers. Although I do my best to distribute this to the rest of the staff, they don’t get to hear these kind words as often as me. (After all, I don’t want to bombard them with emails!) (more…)