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June 27, 2017
April Johnson

6 Games to Play This Summer

Kids And Creativity

School’s out and summer is here! While we like to spend as much time as possible spending time playing in and exploring the outdoors (have you checked out our latest summer learning series: the sun? ), we like to have a few games on reserve to play when the craving strikes! Without further ado, here are 6 games we picked that will ensure fun all summer long.

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June 17, 2017
Rachael Rufino

6 Fantastical Ways to Repurpose Toilet Paper Tubes

Kids And Creativity, Creativity

Happy National Week of Making everyone!  From June 16th-22nd, individuals throughout the U.S. are encouraged to celebrate innovation, ingenuity and creativity through the power of making!  Our favorite craft projects require an item that you already have at home, so don’t throw those tubes away.  To embrace the spirit of the week, we’re sharing some of our favorite ways to repurpose toilet paper tubes, straight from our crafty Pinterest board.

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May 15, 2017
Mike Ritchie

How Can You Get Your Kid Reading?

Kids And Creativity, STEAM

Over the past 30 years, the number of teenagers who say that they “never” or “hardly ever” read had tripled (Common Sense Media). This trend, unsurprisingly, is the opposite of what parents would like to see – according to Scholastic, 75% of parents with children aged 6-17 would like their children to read more books for fun. They’re smart to want this; studies have shown that strong early reading skills can positively affect general intelligence in later life, and can improve one’s understanding of other peoples’ mental states, i.e. improve empathy, according to Science Magazine.

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April 03, 2017
Rachael Rufino

6 Fidget Toys for the Person Fidgeting as They Read This

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, Learning Through Play, Brainteasers

They’re everywhere.  Fidget toys are trending, but why?  Studies have shown that these self-regulation tools help people of all ages reduce restlessness, stress and improve focus.  By directing antsy behaviors toward a device, a person is less likely to disrupt the classroom or workplace to relieve their anxiety.  Despite recent toy demands, fidgeting itself isn’t a new concept; common fidgeting behaviors include finger tapping, knuckle cracking, hair twirling and pencil chewing.  Those outlets for restlessness though may soon be a thing of the past.

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March 20, 2017
Saleel Menon

The Truth About Fine Arts Programs: Benefits Beyond Academics

Music Education, Kids And Creativity, Creativity, STEAM

Want to score better on your SAT’s or standardized tests? – Join fine arts! This is an argument widely used by fine arts teachers to recruit for their programs, or sell their craft to young students and parents. Research studies by the hundreds substantiate claims that fine arts – particularly music education – help develop skills needed to think critically, problem solve, and analyze data which all lead to an on average elevated standardized testing experience. While some can view this as an amazing advocacy of music education, I think it perpetuates an ideology that is fundamentally wrong with the way we approach the arts, specifically in education. These statistics serve to quantify the importance of arts in an objective way, which is important in its own right, but art is subjective and has unique importance aside from its auxiliary interdisciplinary benefits.

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March 13, 2017
R. Elaine L. Smith

"At-Risk" Brains and Games

Kids And Creativity, STEM Education / Play, Learning Through Play

Mary and I are two teachers, who have been teaching science in some form or another since dinosaurs roamed the earth (at least that is what we tell our students).  Personal communications changed dramatically with the advent of an affordable personal computer.  Social media, such as Myspace, appeared facilitating communication across long distances, classrooms, age and gender gaps.  At the same time, cell phones became cheap and available.  Now there is opportunity for constant communication from a variety of platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat. During this time period, we have observed that social communication has become a premier driver of the adolescent brain at the same time that the focus and effort required for academic success has been diminishing.

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March 06, 2017
Alana Hackes

Imagination Appreciation: The Power of Playing Pretend

Kids And Creativity, Creativity, Learning Through Play

I grew up with seven boys—three of them were my brothers, two of them my step brothers, and the other two were my next door neighbors. We were all around the same age—the greatest age difference between the oldest and the youngest was six years—so we spent a lot of time outside playing games together. One of our favorite games to play was called “Be Whoever You Wanna Be,” which was just a really long name for playing pretend. Sometimes we would pretend to be characters from our favorite show or sometimes we would pretend to be warriors from a made-up race. The possibilities—and the hours we spent playing these various types of pretend games—seemed endless.

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