Thursday, January 3, 2013

Literacy can be fun and games?

Do you play games with your kids? This is an interview from Patch Games during Game & Puzzle week on Literacy with games. 

Beth Muehlenkamp Nateghi
Senior Promotions Coordinator


1)  What games do you recommend for 8 years and under to help reinforce reading skills? 
Overall, board games are great for reinforcing reading skills because usually some type of reading takes place in the clues, on the game board, or even in just reading the rules.  A rule I always implemented with my nieces and nephews growing up was to require every player to take a turn reading clues and to read them out loud.  This is a great way to practice, but kids don't even realize the learning going on because it only last a minute or so.

Specific board games I would recommend are listed below.  These are games where education/learning is not the primary focus, but the skills are cleverly built right in:
  • I See Three™ for ages 4 & Up, is matching animals using 3D glasses.  The nice thing is the cards give a brief lesson about the animals that the kids can read out loud. 
  • Can-Do Roo™ is great for ages 4 & Up or even a little younger because it helps kids in recognizing letters in written form and learn the sounds.  Plus, you get to hop around like a kangaroo... how can you pass that up! 
  • Buzzword® Junior is a good trivia game for ages 7 & Up and is based on the award-winning original Buzzword® game which has just sold over a million copies.  Buzzword Junior is nice because the clues are a little more kid friendly, so children get to be the smarty pants and as they read the clues out loud are reinforcing their reading skills. 
  • 100 Really Dumb Things™ is a game of pure silliness for ages 7 & Up, but the great thing is that in order to perform the silly acts, kids have to read the cards!  Another great way to get in some reading without the kids even knowing it.  We just continue to get rave reviews on this game from kids and parents. 
  • Finally, Now What?™ for ages 8 & Up is a great game in creative thinking and story telling.  One player reads a dilemma story  (great to practice those reading skills) and then all players have to come up with solutions based on the three props they choose.  The key is to be creative and come up with a solution using props that no one else is using.  I love the anticipation as each player reveals their story.
If you are looking for more obvious educational based games then try Patch' Lauri brand Educational Center Kits for ages 4 & Up that combine quality materials with an organized and convenient storage box.  Check out the variety at:  Educational Center Kits

You can also try Patch's Smethport brand of Get Ready for School games and Language cards.  Check out the variety at:  Educational Games

2)  Besides being fun, what are the benefits of playing board games? 
Board games have so many hidden benefits besides just being fun.  First and foremost they encourage interaction and a chance to learn about each other.   Plato said, “You can discover more about a  person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

I come from a large family and grew up on a farm, so my mother was always busy, but I remember as a child that the thing I loved about storms and losing the power in our house was that then my mother had to slow down and would often sit and play a board game with me.  I love that attention and time to play with my mom.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that playing active games with children is essential to their development. Play allows individuals to learn about themselves and the world; stimulates  mind and body; builds bonds; fosters greater imagination; and supports all states of development.

Other benefits include: turn taking, lessons of fairness, increase vocabulary, open communication lines, learn interesting facts, basic math skills, reveal your personality and kids often learn more about their parents too.  

When families participate in the Million Minute Family Challenge™, the comment I hear most is that it gave their family time to spend together or it was one of the rare moments when their teenagers were actually sitting at a table laughing with parents and younger siblings.  Buzzword was featured in the Play is Forever: Benefits of Intergenerational Play brochure as one of the Recommended Toys and Games as being intergenerational.  They said the game encourages discussion and teamwork.  Another of our hottest selling game this season, What’s Yours Like? encourages creative thinking, improves memory, and hones the skill of organizing thoughts and information.

Also board games have been widely recognized as good tools to keep the mind active in older people and to slow down or prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.

3)  Who invents your games?  Any interesting stories? 
We get hundreds of game inventor submissions every year from people all over  the world. The inventor of Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe™ is an elementary math school teacher and a tutor for students in math and science.  His interaction with kids has been very useful for the development of games.  One day David Feldman noticed a distinguished looking man trying to open a two-pack of saltine crackers.  After struggling with his fingers, the man bit open the package with his teeth.  At this time he thought “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t they make a cracker package you can open with your hands?”  On his way home, the word “Imponderables” popped into his head to describe these conundrums for which we can never find answers.  He started by writing the first of nine books in the Imponderables book series.  A fan suggested that he create a game based on the books and that’s how Malarky® was born.

Others ideas come from our own employees.  For example:  What’s Yours Like? was an idea of one of our employees as it was a something they played  at family gatherings and when we first played it in the office, we couldn’t stop laughing.  

Still other game ideas come from professional inventor groups whose job is to invent games.  For example, Random Games came up with the idea of Toss Up® and Buzzword.  The inventors for these games grew up in rural and suburban Michigan.  One graduated  with a Math degree and was an 8th grade teacher and then a computer programmer when he started coming up with game ideas.  He started Random Games in 1974, but didn’t become a full-time game inventor in 1985.  His educational background has been useful in solving many problems common in game design.  Another of the inventors had a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering.  He is a big fan of “house rules”.

Thanks Beth for answering my questions!  So Literacy can be about having fun and playing games!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Krazy Kidz and Cell Phones

Did you kids get cell phones for Christmas? 

Krazy Kidz and Cell Phones!
(Remember cell phones are a privilege not a right)

Please do not tell me that you are surprised that kidz have their own cell phones! Please do not tell me that you are surprised that parents let kidz have their own cell phones! Our culture allows kidz to be mini adults. So no surprise on the cell phone! Kidz are doing what adults are doing! I think that all this new technology is a good thing! I think that scary things happen because parents do not monitor their kidz! When a parent thinks that a cell phone is right instead of a privilege then trouble happens!

5 tips to HELP manage cell phone usage for your KIDZ!

1- I'm the Parent. I pay the phone bill. I make the rules.

2-The cell phone is a privilege , not a right. You break our rules the phone is put in timeout!

3-Do not answer any phone calls not in your caller ID. As a parent you help them set up their phone contacts. Do not accept blocked ID calls. Those are the calls, pics, txt coming in that will 100% lead to bullying, inappropriate content,etc. I wi
ll check the incoming calls. If you answer calls not in your caller ID...well see rule #1 and #2.

4-You will NOT call anyone not in your caller ID unless you let me know. I will check the bill phone log as well as your outgoing calls. If you call out to people not in your caller ID without checking with me ... well see rule #1, #2 and #3.
5-If you happen to slip and break a rule but tell me before I find out on my own then we will talk about the situation and work with it. We love you and we want to keep you safe. I can't keep you safe if you choose to break the rules.

As the parent we have chosen the right family plan. This is being realistic. If you have a phone you will use it. IF you have text messaging you will use it. If you have a picture phone you will use it. If you have internet options you will use. So as a parent you need to be practical and realistic on how much you have in your budget for cell phones.

If you tell your kids that they only have 200 text messages a month yet you do not help them figure out how to manage that then you are asking for trouble! Remember parents, cells phones are a privilege, not a right.

Teach your kidz how to be responsible just like you need to be responsible!Guess what? There is a company out there to HELP you. Kajeet is the one! They show you how to teach responsibility, set limits on calls and text, keep your kidz safe, find your kidz phone and then give them the freedom to use it. Remember, cell phones are not a right they are a privilege . Check out Kajeet blog! I love the little mascots!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where am I?

Hey Blogger friends!
Just letting you know that I'm still around! You can find me posting over at Scraps of Life, my other blog!
I have a Wednesday Homeschool/Educational Link Up! I will also be reviewing Homeschool Curriculum at that blog, too! If you have a product that you want review just send me a message!

I"m keeping this blog up because of all the resources and links that I have gathered here. I don't have a spot for them on my other blog.  The right side bar is FULL of links that I use for homeschooling.

Stop over!  Just click the Scraps of Life button!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free America History The Story of US DVD offer

I just got this information from a History Channel Update!

School principals, register for your school's free AMERICA The Story of US DVD!*

America The Story of US — premiering on HISTORY™ April 25 at 9pm/8c — is a six week event that provides a fascinating look at the stories of the people, events, and innovations that forged our nation. It will provide you with an unprecedented opportunity to bring our nation's history to life for your students. This 12-hour series will be supported by educational materials tied to curriculum standards and is copyright cleared for Fair Use in the classroom by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities.
* HISTORY is offering America The Story of US on DVD to every school in the United States. School must be an accredited public, private or home school, for grades K-12 and college. In order to receive your school's DVD, your school principal (grades K-12) or Dean of Students (college) should fill out the request form below. HISTORY strictly limits one request per school. DVD requests must be made prior to July 1, 2010. DVD's will be mailed around August 2010 and free shipping is included in this offer. 

Click to get offers:

Free American History: The Story of US DVD
Daily History Updates on Twitter
Daily History Updates on Facebook

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Katie & Kimble Series by Linda Thieman honored with Mom's Choice Awards *Giveaway*


Mom’s Choice Awards® Names the Katie & Kimble Series by Linda Thieman among the Best in Family-friendly Media

The Mom’s Choice Awards® has named the Katie & Kimble (A Ghost Story) series by Iowa author Linda Thieman among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. The MCA is an annual competition known for establishing the benchmark of excellence in these areas.

When the great flu pandemic struck America’s shores in 1918, it took with it an estimated 675,000 men, women and children.

In her imaginative first book in the award-winning chapter book series, Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story, author Linda Thieman follows one of the young victims, named Kimble, and her nine-year-old friend, Katie, who just moved into Kimble’s old house.

Though ghostly in its viewpoint, the story does not fit into its genre’s stereotype. Rather, Thieman’s ghost is a funny, adventuresome little girl who not only helps Katie, but receives help from her friend in return.

Written to inspire the 7- to 10-year-old set, Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story is an educational adventure for the parental set, too, giving insight into the worldwide pandemic, Kimble’s Jewish customs, and even a bit about the supernatural.

Parents, educators, librarians and retailers rely on MCA evaluations when selecting quality materials for children and families. The Mom’s Choice Awards® seal helps families and educators navigate the vast array of products and services and make informed decisions.

MCA judges are bound by a strict code of ethics which ensures expert and objective analysis free from any manufacturer association. The evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five identical samples of a product. Entries are matched to judges in the MCA database. Judges perform a thorough analysis and submit a detailed assessment. Results are compiled and submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final approval.

The end result is a list of the best in family-friendly media, products and services that parents and educators can feel confident in using.

Other past Mom’s Choice Awards® recipients have included Meredith Vieira, Founder of Club Mom and Today Show Co-Host (Celebrity Mom of the Year) and O, The Oprah Magazine (Magazine of the Year).

Thieman graduated from Storm Lake Community High School and received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa. She now resides in Sioux City, Iowa.

For more information on the awards program and the honorees, visit MomsChoiceAwards

For more information on the Katie & Kimble series, visit

I'm a very excited mom today! My daughter, Emily, loves this book series.  What a thrill to have already read this book series and then hear of it honored Award! 

Thanks to the author, Linda Thieman, she is offering the two books for a giveaway on my blog! Come enter and get a set your set for that someone special!  Don't let the "ghost story" scare you away from wanting these books for your 5-10 year olds.  Kimble is not a scary ghost! She is more of a kindred spirit to Katie and helps her on a quest that is very engaging and heartfelt.
How to Enter: (leave separate comments for each entry)

Visit the Katie & Kimble Blog and have a look around. Then come back here and make a comment on something from her blog. This is your entry to the giveaway.

BONUS entries
1) Follow @LindaThieman on twitter for 5 entries

2) Tweet this blog post up to twice a day for 2 entries each
"Come win Katie & Kimble" honored by Mom's Choice Award @susieqtpies"

3)  Click each of the above pictures of Katie & Kimble to read more from my blog about the books. Comment on those blog post and come back here and get 5 entries per comment!
4) Follow my blog on Google Friend connect and Networked blogs 1 entry each

5) Follow me on twitter @susieqtpies 2 entries

6) Go to my other blog, Scraps of Life and follow on Google friend connect, Networked blogs and fan on Facebook (all in left side bar) Get 2 entries per each one! 

7) Go enter FEDDIE GIRL BOOK GIVEAWAY on my Scraps of Life blog
Leave a message there and come back here and claim your 10 BONUS ENTRIES!!!! 

GIVEAWAY is for US and Canada. Must be at least 18 to enter. 
Ends February 22.

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