Win KUNG FU PANDA 3 #PandaInsiders and Have a #PandaNightIn

We warned you! Prepare for a pand-tastic summer adventure as Po – reunited with his long-lost father – journeys to a secret village and meets countless panda friends and family! But when the supernatural villain Kai challenges all the Kung Fu masters across China, Po must discover the teacher within himself and train his clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas! KUNG FU PANDA 3 AWESOME EDITION is now out on Digital HD and Blu-ray™ and DVD.

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My son loved this movie, and we had a great time watching it. He finds Po hilarious, and he has enjoyed all the movies.  We got to get ready for our Panda Party with his friends in style. There was a fun package full of pandas, keychains, reusable teabags, a dumpling book, and more. He was excited to share not only the movie but also the pandas with his best buddies.

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We would like to try our hand at dumpling making, but for this party, we got lazy and just ordered Chinese food. I’ve never made them before, and I have a feeling it will take me a few tries before I really get the hang of it.  My son likes to cook with us, so I think he will have fun figuring it out with me.

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We had some fun Chinese food (including dumplings, of course) while we watched the movie.  Since they are Po’s favorite, we had to get some for our movie night. These are crab and shrimp, which are my son’s favorite. He likes both steamed and fried- have you tried them like this?

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My son also liked all the little pandas eating all the noodles and dumplings in the movie, and wanted himself and his friends to have noodles and dumplings while watching the movie.

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Check out this fun clip from the new movie. The clip, voiced by Po (Jack Black), delves into the history and background of the supernatural villain Kai and the origin of his frightening jade Jombies!

One of you can win a movie of your own.  Please feel free to enter to win using the RC form below. Ends Aug. 12, 2106. Good luck!
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Three mistakes parents can make when it comes to early childhood education

It’s natural for a parent to want the best for their child. A big part of this is making sure they get the education they need. These days more and more emphasis is placed on the importance of early childhood education when it comes to helping a child navigate successfully through their school career. The question is, what mistakes could you be making as a parent, when it comes to the early childhood education of your child?

If you want your child to have the best start then one of the best places for them to get this is in a center for child development. Your child can get expert help, from trained professionals, to enable them to develop their skills and confidence. That’s not all there is to it though. Parental involvement is also a very important feature of early childhood education. The problem is that parents can make mistakes; we are going to take a look at three common ones.

Living through your child

You need to remember that your child is not you and they never will be. You should not expect them to do things in life just because you want them to. You should also not expect them to be good at something just because you were as a child. Early childhood education is partly about helping your child to learn what they are good at and assisting them to develop that skill. This is not going to happen effectively if you are constantly trying to mould your child into being a mini you.

Emphasizing academics

Academics can be very important but they are not the be all and end all; especially not when your child is very young. If you start trying to push academics at your child too soon then you run the risk of putting them off altogether. They could feel overwhelmed. There is also the chance that your child is just not an academic type of person, and they should never be made to feel inadequate because of that. Early childhood education is all about developing your child’s confidence and cognitive skills so that they are more able to deal with the potential academic and lifestyle challenges that lie ahead.

Being over protective

It’s a natural instinct of a parent to be protective. The problem is that some parents have a tendency to be over protective. You may be wondering what this has to do with education but the truth is that a considerable amount of your child’s learning comes from them making mistakes in life. If you are constantly overseeing what your child does and helping them to avoid mistakes, they are not going to learn useful lessons. Obviously, you have to keep an eye on your child, but even young children need to have some level of freedom and responsibility.

All three of these mistakes are commonly made by parents. They are not usually made deliberately but they can be damaging to a child. Think about it, are you making any of these mistakes right now?

Walt Disney Worlds Resorts with Scholastic’s Can’t Wait for School Break collection

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Now that the sun is finally starting to peek its head around the clouds and warm that nip out of the air its time to start thinking about family trips. As with most family trips kids will of course be coming, drat. But fear not human parents, with the help of Scholastic there are many tips to be found to make the most of your trip, either during the school year or just making it through a long car or plane ride.

In our house Dad likes his audio books in the car while Mom can’t stand them, but what if the audio books were more kid centered. With audio books the longest of rides are simply eaten away at with a good story and an enthusiastic reader. Scholastic has a few suggestions for children of all ages and I am sure if Mom, Dad and little one look through the list together they will find at least one story they can all enjoy together.

If audio books aren’t for you there are also tablets for the kids and adults, as well as portable music players and digital games for little kids, big kids and adult kids. With your in flight entertainment figured out its time to wrap your head around school work. What are some ways to keep your kid stimulated and learning while on vacation?

Below are a few tips from Scholastic:

1) Give your teacher the heads up at least a week before hand, they will be happy to keep your child in the know with current school work.

2) Double check supplies, make sure you have pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, etc. Especially if leaving the country or going to a more rural area where office supply stores are not available.

3) Stay in touch, check the class website, email the teacher, etc.

4) Every day is a learning experience if you look and be creative, have your child journal her experiences and feelings (reinforces ELA connections and mindfulness), research the destination (underscores study skills and social studies concepts), bring her own independent reading book for the trip (always a good idea), help calculate mileage and a budget for souvenirs (enhances math connections) are a few suggestions.

5) remember bed time stories, keep the bed time rituals going and read as often as possible. Keep a book log and find topics relevant to your trip. Going to New York City, find a book about it, etc.

6) Bring a tablet or laptop, the internet is a wealth of information for kids and parents from tutorials to video lessons, a topic is just a few clicks away.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all mine.

WIN Highlights Every Day App #HighlightsEveryDay

Highlights magazine has been the most read children’s magazine for years, and has a long history of delivering child friendly, educational, and fun activities month after month.  Since its inception in 1946 by Dr. Garry and Caroline Myers, Highlights was built on the belief that “Children Are the World’s Most Important People™.” Today, every Highlights product is designed to help children become creative, curious, caring, and confident.  Have you seen their newest app, “Highlights Every Day”?  This app is a new way to get Highlights fun to your children.

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The way it works is every day your child will receive a digital “present” from Highlights, which will contain up to 5 pieces of content ranging from original videos and quizzes, engaging fiction and non-fiction, and fun puzzles that build skills and stretch young minds.  Also included are the enjoyable Hidden Pictures puzzle, popularized by Highlights magazine.  This app is not simply a re-hashing of Highlights magazine, but is a way to get safe, trusted, educational content that you expect from Highlights in a new on-the-go, portable format.

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The app now features a free 30 day period to try it out. After this initial trial, there is a monthly fee of $7.99 per month.  This includes new content delivered daily, as well as the ability to revisit any content previously delivered in your child’s collection.  As more digital presents are delivered, your child can save more content and build their own custom place to learn, play, and engage their creative side.

This app is perfect for children of all ages, especially new readers who just want to absorb everything they can.  My son isn’t the best reader (this is something he tends to struggle with), but Highlights Every Day is still engaging, and encourages him because it’s enjoyable and fun.  When you like what you are doing, it’s not a chore, and learning is something one looks forward to.

There are some deals going on you will want to take advantage of.

·        Monthly subscription: $7.99/month (or just 23¢ per day for 5 new daily activities!)

·        Free 30-day trial

About Highlights:

Devoted to providing “Fun with a Purpose,” global family-media brand Highlights for Children, Inc. has helped kids become their best selves for generations. In addition to its flagship magazine (Highlights), the company’s other offerings include a preschool magazine (High Five), a bilingual magazine (High Five Bilingüe), an infant and toddler magazine (Hello), a children’s book company (Highlights Press, which includes Boyds Mills Press), puzzle book clubs and a variety of digital products.

About Fingerprint:

Created in partnership with Fingerprint, Highlights Every Day features classic Highlights “Fun with a Purpose” activities reimagined for the growing digital consumption habits of children. Fingerprint is a global mobile technology company that powers games and curates play-and-learn content to targeted customers around the world through dedicated mobile networks. For more information, visit fingerprintplay.com or facebook.com/FingerprintPlay.

Highlights Every Day is available for iOS 8.0 and higher and Android version 4.4 or higher.

You can win a gift bag of reading and puzzle fun from Highlights (value=$50).  Please feel free to enter the RC form to win.  Ends June 17, 2016.  Good luck!
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12 Days of Christmas with Teacher Peach @TeacherPeach123

Disclosure- I received the below in order to facilitate this post.  All opinions are my own and honest.  For more information, please see “I Disclose”.

If you are looking for a great gift for teachers, look no further then Teacher Peach.  Visit the website http://www.teacherpeach.com/ and check out all the options they have for the teachers in your life- they have pre-made gift sets, bags, and ideas galore that are not only cute but also useful. Because, honestly, your teacher doesn’t need or want another mug, I promise.

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You can look at this link to all featured Holiday gifts and see what you like best for your teacher (or teachers).  There are also chances to win giveaways as well, so make sure you enter while you are browsing.  You never know!

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My son has several teachers we need to get gifts for, so this is a great site for us. It can be hard to figure out just what to get, because you don’t want to give something useless.  Like many classes, we contribute to a gift card for the main teacher, but we’d like to give her a little something as well, she is a real….well, I’d say doll, but in this case, let’s say she’s a peach, ha.  Not to mention the classroom aide, and his tutor.

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This would also be a good place to shop for any parent who is a home-schoooler.  Functional, useful, and to let them know they are appreciated for all the hard work they do as well.

From bags, to notebooks, to cute kits, even teddy bears and pet outfits (how fun is that?), there is something for every educator.  Check out http://www.teacherpeach.com/ and see what they have.  You can get all your teacher-related shopping done in one place, and even enter to win a fun contest.

Happy holidays from me and mine to you and yours!

Great Gifts For Your Kids

The cold and eventful festive days are coming up quickly, which means lots of fun events for adults but long stuffy days indoors for kids! Being stuck inside during holidays can be boring, making your little ones cranky.

Let me introduce to you some creative solutions to beat the hard-to-cure holiday cabin fever! Cooper and Kid–creatively curated kits designed especially for kids to have fun while learning. Squirrel King–craft kits that transform a child’s reality into an imaginative world of colorful squirrels and the homes they live in. And last but not least, Zoonicorns–the unique combination of unicorns and zebras into adventurous plush toys, with a creative children’s book to bring the characters to life.

STEM learning kits

Cooper and Kid is all about making dad cool again and doing what matters most–bonding with the kids! Cooper & Kid has everything a dad needs in the winter for educational fun (think STEM) with his kids! Each Cooper Kit is fun-in-a-box with endless hours of amusement…no more mindless TV shows! Each kit contains a huge box of fun, with themed projects, toys, books and ideas that dads and kids will truly enjoy. Together they can build rocket ships, take off with sky lanterns or explore the world of butterflies — there is so much to create and discover!

An activity book guides dads through the theme and the contents of the box for hours of fun. Plus, the shipping box turns into a toy too! Sign up for the Cooper & Kid subscription online and every three months a Cooper kit is delivered to dad at home. The subscription price is $65 per quarter.

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The fun, unique and ingenious Squirrel King kits are a swirl of intellect, engineering and creativity delivered with a hands-on approach that inspires a thirst for knowledge. Designed for ages 8 and up, the Build with Stickers kits combine two things kids love — stickers and building. Each colorful kit includes novel stickering techniques — no glue involved — and all the materials for children to build, create and explore, making awesome toys in the process…and making those rainy days educational and fun! With Build with Stickers kits, STEM (science, technology, education and math) principles are explored in an age-appropriate manner.

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The new Build with Stickers Kits are available on the Squirrel King Craft website and at select retail stores, priced from $5.99 to $7.99. The original Squirrel King Craft kit is also available on the website and in over 200 stores across the country, and in a range of choices for $9.99 to $69.99.
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Zoonicorns are enriching youth with life adventures™ and creating wonderful imaginative worlds.  My son really enjoyed the book and the plush zoonicorn- something to cuddle and a friend to take to bed later and give him good dreams, just like the young animal in the story.  He thought that was fun.  As my child often has bad dreams, this was comforting to him.   The book was cute, with an easy to follow story and adorable illustrations.  I would recommend this to any parents with young children of either gender.

Fairy-tale Zoonicorns are enchanting creatures that pop up in the dreams of young zoo animals. Zoonicorns are unique, plush toys for children that a combine an exotic animal (zebra) and a mythical creature (unicorn). The Zoonicorn herd is ready for adventure in the enchanting world of your youngster’s imagination and keep them occupied for hours on end.

Super-soft Valeo is the leader of the Zoonicorn pack, who likes to pal around with animal friends like African giraffes. Shy and gentle Promithea is a good friend who can be trusted to keep your little one’s secrets. Playful Ene likes to catch forty winks before bouncing to life to rumble and tumble with. Outgoing Aliel loves to speed around and will challenge any kid to keep up with her.

Each Zoonicorn is $9.99 or you can get the entire family plus children’s book for $49.91

Learning with Understood

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If more of us actually knew the signs of learning and attention disorders, I do not think that so many children would go undiagnosed every single year. It is so sad that we as a community are so uneducated about what those signs are. One in five children struggles with issues related to reading, math, writing, focus, organization and behavioral issues, yet many children with learning and attention issues do not have a diagnosis.

If you are a parent, a friend or family member who thinks that a child might be going through learning and attention disorders, you are not alone in this. There are five learning and attention issues that are most common:

  • ADHD: More Than Moving Fast
  • Dyslexia: The Best-Known Learning Issue
  • Dyscalculia: More Than Math Anxiety
  • Dysgraphia: Wrestling With Writing
  • Dyspraxia: Trouble With Motor Skills

With the right diagnosis, parents and teachers are better able to understand what their children are going through. This leads to a better understanding of the help that they need in order to be successful. When a child is able to fully understand and overcome whatever struggles they are facing, they will finally feel normal. They will have a higher self-esteem and feel more in line with their peers. This is a BIG deal!

Understood.org provides helpful resources for parents and students with learning and attention issues as well as for parents wondering if their child may have an undiagnosed learning and attention issues. Hopefully you have not been feeling completely without help in what you are going through, but if you have, you are certainly not alone! Understood.org is a free, one-stop, easy-to-use online resource. And the sooner you get help for your child, or a child you think is in need, the sooner they can get on the track to success.

Understood was created by a coalition of 15 nonprofits, and its content and tools were informed by a survey of more than 2,200 parents of children with learning and attention issues. Understood offers free daily access to experts through chats and webinars, a safe online community that encourages parents to reach out to and learn from each other and a suite of specially designed, first-of-their-kind tools .

Whether you have worked with your child on dealing with this struggle for years or this is something new for you, Understood has resources for everyone to learn how to help these kiddos with whatever challenges they face. The You & Your Family section helps families with practical solutions and advice for social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

If you think your child might have a challenge with learning, please do not wait. Every second counts.

Learn With Oliver- Language Learning Online

Languages go hand in hand with traveling. Whether you are visiting another country, or just an area outside of your own town, you never know who you are going to meet and what language they are going to speak. Learning a different language helps you to broaden your horizons.  With the world getting smaller and more diverse, it’s really becoming essential that everyone know at least a second language.

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There are a lot of ways to learn a new language, but many are time consuming and costly. If you are like me, you don’t have time to go to classes and want a way to learn online.

Learn with Oliver might be a perfect solution. Learn with Oliver is an online language learning site. They currently offer Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Thai.

They also offer a way for people to learn English. For people who are looking to learn English but currently speak Chinese, German, Korean, Russian, French, or Portuguese, Learn with Oliver is an online option as well.

What makes Learn with Oliver a great option is that there are 2 memberships. The basic membership is free forever. That means you get to work on learning a new language without having to worry about an outrageous cost. There is also a premium membership that gives you added features that can make learning a language easier and faster. At only $8 a month or $84 for the year, you get the ability to add notes to your flash cards, enter your own words and sentences, use a sound feature, and get fast essay correction.

If you don’t know a second language, now is the time. A cool new “thing” will only last so long, and it’s appeal even less long.  You know how it is.  But, a second language is forever, and is a great skill for your resume, college application, and makes you more employable.  It also opens up a world to you that was previously closed.  Go ahead and see what you think- there is nothing to lose.  Visit Learn With Oliver and see what you think.