Alexandra Blickley's Blog

Recent posts

Let Us Color Your Mutt!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 by

Ok… so we don’t actually want to dye your dog (which has become kind of a thing lately, but that’s a conversation for another day). We’re looking for inspiration for a brand new series of coloring pages, and we think our inspiration lives in your backyard and goes, “woof!”

Cute photo credit:

Cute photo credit:

If you’re already a fan of our printables, worksheets, and coloring pages, you may have happened across this set of 20 popular dog breeds. We’ve done the Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel, and Labrador thing already, but we (and the lovely families who use our site!) want more. More breeds, more mutts, more cute puppy faces.

And not only do you and your doggy get the glory of being famous (well… kind of), but we want you to give you fun stuff for helping out, too! Everybody who sends in a cute dog photo for the Color Your Mutt contest will be automatically entered to win 1 of 5 one-year subscriptions to PLUS, our new subscription service that gives you access to unlimited printable workbooks as well as advanced features that let you create your own custom workbooks by downloading content in bulk.

Plus, we’ll pick our very favorite doggy coloring pages to feature in an upcoming coloring book (approximately 20 dogs). If your dog’s coloring page is included, we’ll mail you a physical copy of the coloring book (and you’ll always be able to come to to download it, too).

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow on Twitter, or follow our Pinterest page.
  2. Tweet or pin a favorite picture of your pooch, and include the hashtag #ColorYourMutt in the tweet on Twitter or pin on Pinterest. Please also include the name of your dog and the name of his breed. If he’s a mutt, feel free to give his breed your best guess! Combo breeds (think labra-cocker-shepherd-doodle) are very much allowed.
  3. That’s it! You’ll be automatically entered to win both a PLUS subscription, and a free printed coloring book featuring your family dog.

Please note: by submitting a photo on Twitter or Pinterest, you give permission to use your name, social handle, photo, and statements made in any way for any and all purposes, without additional compensation.

Questions? Contact our customer support team at

Thank you… and your dog!

100,000 Facebook Fans Strong (and Growing)

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 by

It means a whole lot to “Like” a company on Facebook. You’re standing behind what it offers, vouching for it to your friends, and choosing to hear more from it. That’s a very big deal!

We’re completely honored to have 100,000 (and growing) amazing fans who are willing to do just that for Each and every person who has “Liked” on Facebook has contributed to our growing community of parents and teachers who share their input on important educational topics, collaborate on ways to inspire learning in their kids, and stay-up-to-date on the newest and best ideas from

When we originally created’s little Facebook page, we wanted not just a place where we could talk to people, but where those involved in the life of a child could talk with each other and with us. And I’m proud to say that, together, we’ve done just that. We’ve created a place to give advice, find help, and get inspired – no easy feat! From debates on the merits of homework to fun ways to “sneak” in reading, our Facebook community experts (that’s you!) have shared the very best contributions, ideas, and tips.

Know someone who’d love to get updates with our favorite activities, articles, and worksheets – or who’d be a great contributor to the regular conversations we have about inspiring learning in our kids? Please share this link with them: With your help, we’ll be on our way to 200,000 fans strong in no time.

Just Launched: School and District Boundaries Tool

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 by

Hunting for your next home? Because a family’s place of residence so often determines the school a child is assigned to, the quality of a neighborhood’s schools is often at the top of the list of factors that parents consider when choosing a home.

Your home search just got a little bit easier (really!). While we can’t help you find the perfect walk-in closet, we’re very excited to announce the recent launch of our School and District Boundaries Tool that helps visitors view school-level and school district-level boundaries for homes across the United States. (more…)

Doing your part to stop bullying in its tracks

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? While bullying is an age-old problem that’s going to take more than a month to solve, it’s thrilling to see the media and society put a focus on eliminating bullying during the month of October.

It’s hard for me to imagine re-living one of the most difficult periods of my life: middle school. While nobody put a name to the issue I was experiencing at the time, it was definitely bullying. I was neither the victim nor the perpetrator, but there were always “jokes,” verbal abuse, and even physical aggression that surrounded me. But middle school isn’t the only time bullying goes down. Studies show that kids as young as preschool experience bullying, and bullying at any age can affect adults for the rest of their lives.

In whatever capacity you’re involved in the life of a child, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the signs, effects, and dangers (yes: life-threatening dangers) that go along with bullying. Here’s some key information to help you and your family combat bullying.

  • There is no single factor that causes a child to become a bully, but family and peer factors such as lack of supervision, lack of warmth and involvement, aggression, and positive attitudes about violence can all play a role.
  • Kids who are personally victimized may show signs of being the target of bullying, or they may not, so communication is key. If you become aware of depression, anxiety, safety concerns, poor peer relations, lost belongings, etc. it’s definitely time to start asking questions.
  • If your child tells you he is being bullied, it’s important to first focus on supporting your child, and then work with the child’s school to ensure that administrators and teachers are properly intervening.
  • Next, focus on the 4 R’s: Recognize what’s happening, relate to the school, report the incident, and then record what occurred and how it was handled.
  • Take preventative measures. There are ten key ways that parents can do their part to address bullying. Together, parents (along with teachers and students) have the power to eliminate bullying!

Collections: A Brand New Way to Inspire

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by

If you’ve browsed lately, you may have spotted a brand new addition to our articles, activities, and worksheets – a bright orange “Collect it!” button! As pretty at it is, it serves a purpose far greater than decoration.

We know parents and teachers don’t have much time to spare, which is why I think you’re going to love this new tool. It’s a quick, efficient, and fun way to create groups of your favorite content, and share the wealth with other parents and teachers. So while you’re making your own life easier, you can help others, too!

Don’t have time to craft your own collection today? Browse some of my personal favorites below – or click on collections you see throughout the site to see what they have to offer.

ABC Tracing Sheets

Creepy Crawly Activities for Kids Who Love Bugs

Weird Science!

This Quiet Car Could Be Yours

Bullying Lesson Plan

Physical Science

Shark Week with the Kids

Counting that Works Activities

A Home School Moms World

Well, what are you waiting for? Start collecting content, sharing with friends, and inspiring others today. And stay tuned for an expanded version of Collections in the very near future. We’ve got exciting things in the works!

Oh, wait, one more thing! Since Collections is hot off the presses, we’d love to hear from you about your experience with this new feature. Please let us know by emailing

BlogHer 2011: Priceless Photos, Brilliant Blogs, and Brand New Friends!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 by

Haven't been in a photo booth in awhile! Courtesy of Pfizer.

One week later, and I feel like I’m still getting back on track after BlogHer 2011. I loved the aura of energy, enthusiasm, and genius that surrounded me on that fine weekend in San Diego, but as a blogging (and BlogHer) newbie, I have to admit: it was A LOT to handle! Luckily, I had my good friends and coworkers, Kat and Danielle, there to show me the ropes (that’s us on the left).

I’m also thankful for the new friends (and beautiful blogs!) I was introduced to. Here are some of my favorite new blog finds and insightful posts I’ve come across after scrounging through the notes and business cards that I acquired that weekend:

• Maybe one of the most well-written (and funny!) blogs I’ve come across in awhile: Mommy’s Pen. I made a mental note to check out this blog after sharing breakfast with Sue. (more…)

Get Ahead of the SAT and ACT

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by

Believe it or not, it’s not too early to prep for the SAT. For those students who will be taking the SAT or ACT in the fall, experts recommend preparing for the test before students are fully consumed with homework, projects, and class reading.

My favorite part: the map that shows you different test prep courses in your neighborhood.

Junior year of high school is full of new challenges — changes that can be overwhelming for kids. Don’t let preparing for the SAT or ACT put extra stress on your teen. To minimize test anxiety, you may decide to enroll your teen in an SAT or ACT prep class. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive directory to help you find test prep classes nearby that fit your budget.

The Test Prep Finder allows you to easily compare local SAT and ACT classes. In one easy place, you can view classes and prices from major providers, look at full course schedules, and choose between different class sizes and prices to find the best fit for your teen (and your wallet!). Get started now by checking out test prep classes near you.

In addition to this class directory, we also do our best to stay on top of the newest research and expert recommendations for getting high school students prepared for the transition to college. Don’t know where to start? Check out our Parent’s Guide to High School.

If you’re looking for information specific to preparing for the SAT, here are a few of my favorite articles:

Make Math a Bigger Part of Summer

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 by

Wow! There are just days left in the Summer Activities Challenge and I, for one, really don’t want it to end. The nearly overwhelming stream of enthusiastic comments and emails about the Challenge are a Community Manager’s dream. But, I guess there are lots of families out there who can’t wait to hear if they’re one of the lucky winners of a $500 back to school splurge or one of ten indoor/outdoor kids croquet sets… so, I guess I’m okay with it.

A yummy way to get kids excited about early arithmetic.

If you haven’t joined the Summer Activities Challenge yet, it isn’t too late. Or maybe you simply need your kids (who, believe it or not, will soon be back in school!) to brush up on their math skills. Well, either way, look no further! Here’s a collection of some members’ favorite math activities for each grade that will surely get the job done:

Preschool: Craft a Cereal Abacus

Kindergarten: Button Math! Have Fun with Buttons

First Grade: Bowling for Addition

Second Grade: 10 Card Games to Boost Second Grade Math Skills

Third Grade: 8 Activities to Help Your Child Master Third Grade Math

Fourth Grade: Practice Math with the “Guess the Groceries” Game

Fifth Grade: Explore Circumference with Your Bicycle Wheel

Middle School: Face Off! An Integer Card Game

High School: Snake Eyes on the SAT

As you can see, between card games, biking, and grocery shopping there are many inventive (and sneaky!) ways to make math a much bigger part of summer break. Chances are, kids will get so caught up in the competitive challenge of these activities, they won’t even realize that they’re practicing important math skills.

If you and your kids complete any of these activities, make sure to enter them into the Summer Activities Challenge by clicking the “We did the activity!” button below the title of each activity. Yep, it’s that easy!

Sneak Some Science into Summer

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 by

I can’t believe it’s already mid-July, and there are only a couple weeks left in the Summer Activities Challenge (and only half of summer!). The great thing about the Challenge that we hear from many of the participants is that it’s a great way to transition kids to the new school year by reviewing important concepts – while taking part in a fun contest complete with cool prizes (like a $500 Back to School Splurge or one of 10 indoor/outdoor kids croquet sets).

A very squirmy, wormy "hotel"

A very squirmy, wormy "hotel"

From using a rainbow of liquids to explore acoustics to making a worm “hotel”, many of our science-themed activities are chock-full of basic (and more advanced) science skills – just don’t tell your kids when they’re ooh-ing and aah-ing. Here are five favorites from members:

-Fossilize Your Footprints: one visitor suggested using this play-dough “fossil” activity as a learning opportunity to discover local fossils and talk about the job of a paleontologist.

-Make Gak: This one sounds like it’s just plain fun, but it’s also a great excuse to learn about states of matter. A few of our members had a great idea: add some food coloring to liven it up.

-Make a Mini Marshmallow Popper: What’s better than exploring physics? Exploring physics, and then getting to snack on some marshmallows… Samantha says this was “GREAT fun! Especially for boys!”

-The Incredible Flexible Egg Experiment: You’ve got to see this one to believe it. Plus, all it takes is a hard-boiled egg, glass bottle, matches, and an adult helper. Sheila told us that this one is “Soooo easy and yet soooo cool. It’s still one of my favorite ‘tricks.’”

-Make a Soda Bottle Greenhouse: Attention green thumbs! Kara mentioned that her son had been wanting a garden, and “this gives him a way to have a small garden himself.”

And that’s not all! We have science activities for all grades and all themes, from ones that take days to create to experiments that take seconds to observe.

If you try any of these out, make sure to add them to click “We did this activity!” to add them to your Summer Activities Challenge. Remember: you only have to complete five fun activities for a chance to win.

How to Teach U.S. History to Your Kids

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 by

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: