Bridge the Gap: Indoor Fun!

If you find yourself inside this summer and you need to burn off some energy, here are some great recommendations that we have to get your kids moving and active inside.

One thing that I used to do with my boys is that we would do a blanket fort! You get some cushions, you get some blankets, put them over the back of a chair, and make some tunnels. It was a lot of fun. They loved it! Another thing you can do is play indoor volleyball with a balloon! Just blow up a balloon about this size and try to keep it up in the air and the goal is to try and keep it from hitting the ground. It’s a lot of fun. Also, you can do freeze dance! Get your favorite music and play freeze dance. Kids love dancing and it’s a great way to keep them really active.

If you want other ideas, we have something called Magic Moves. Now, this is great. It has 90 physical commands and it also has matching music. It’ll even expand their vocabulary with words like “prowl” and “soar”. Let’s not forget games! Board games are a great way to spend a summer afternoon with your little ones. We recommend BBQ Blitz and Sneaky, Snacky, Squirrel!

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Bridge the Gap: Pretend and Play!


Summer days can get kind of long when you’ve got little ones around, so if you’re like me, you’re going to want to get your kids outside and active. You might take them to the park to the playground, to the museum, but if you find yourself in need of some indoor activities, we have some suggestions.
Imaginative play is a great way to spend a summer afternoon with your kids. One way to do imaginative play is a puppet show. What’s great about puppet shows is that it builds self-expression, creativity and even problem solving. So, if you don’t have puppets, you can make your own. Here’s one I made out of a simple lunch sack. Or if you want to do something a little more advanced, grab an old sock and make a sock puppet!
If you’re not feeling that adventurous, that’s okay. We highly recommend Puppet on a Stick! These guys are great. Kids love them. They’re great to do a story, read a book, or duck behind the couch to do an instant puppet show. We think they’re great, we think your kids will love them too!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our recommendations for summer activities with your kids, we hope you have a creative and happy summer!

Bridge the Gap: Fun Summer Math Ideas

Hi, I’m Nancy Balter. I am the math and science product developer here at Educational Insights. I was a math and science teacher for 11 years, and I’m also the mother of two young children.

Unfortunately, research suggests that kids lose up to two and a half months worth of math skills over the summer. This is probably because math doesn’t slip as easy into summer activities as, say, reading or science exploration. So, we have some ideas for what you can do to help with this problem and even perhaps give your kids a leg up in math over the summer.

1) One thing that you could do is make homemade flashcards. For younger kids, you could make flashcards with say, two circles and the numeral two, so that kids can learn the numbers. For older kids, you can have them work on their addition, their subtraction, their multiplication, and their division.

At Educational Insights, we’ve taken flashcards one step further—after all this is summer and it should be fun—so we have a set of interactive flashcards that actually provide your children with feedback as they work their way through the flashcards.

For the younger kids, we have Ace the talking, teaching dog, and now we also have a cat! The kids use them with the flashcards. They use the pen, they select the answer, they touch it to the dot, and it gives them feedback with flashing lights and interactive phrases to let them know if they’re right or wrong. For older kids, we also have a Hot Dots pen that looks like this. We have interactive flashcards, for example, in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and kids can even work on word problems. We have a word problem card sets as well.

2) Our electronic games are also a great way to practice key math skills over the summer. For example, Math Slam is great way to practice addition and subtraction. Math Shark you can use to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, and percentages. These are a great way to pass the time in the car, on long road trips, and on airplane flights.

3) Games are another a great way to slip math practice into your summer routine. Lots of parents just make up their own. For example, you can grab a ruler and measure things around the house or at the park. I used to have my students actually measure their bedroom and their bed and their desk and then actually create a bedroom blue print. For younger kids, you can trace your foot or trace their foot and then cut it out and measure things by feet.

Of course, Educational Insights has a measurement game. We also have math games focused on fractions and this year we even have a cool Rockin’ Math game which is focused on a variety of key third grade math skills.

I hope you’ve been inspired by these summer math activities, if you have a great idea for a way to practice math with your kids over the summer, I would love to hear about it. You can shoot me an email at Nancy@educationalinsights.com.

Bridge the Gap: Fun Summer Reading Activities

Reading and writing is obviously critical for school success, and there are lots of fun ways that you can work with your children so that they retain what they’ve learned in those areas over the summer and maybe even get a head start on the next school year!

So read, read, read with your children. Your child can read in the car, read at the doctor’s office, at the dentist’s office, take a book to the park, there are lots of fun places where you can sort of change up the scenery and read with your child. Lots of libraries have wonderful summer reading programs that you can enjoy with your child.

When we think of reading with children, we mostly think about reading books and magazines, but there are lots of other opportunities to practice reading with your child by reading environmental print. Using it is great practice for kids and their reading skills. So, if you’re at the grocery store, pick up a cereal box and read the back. Some of them are really funny actually. When you’re at a restaurant, have your child read the menu and make their selection from it. When you’re in the car, read road signs. There are lots of fun places where you can sort of change up the scenery and read with your child.

I hope you get an opportunity in your summer to use some of these ideas. If you do or if you have other suggestions, please feel free to email me at Marcia@educationalinsights.com. I look forward to reading them!

Bridge the Gap: Get Crafty!

We highly recommend doing some arts and crafts with your kids. It builds self-esteem, creativity, and even fine motor skills.

So, one great indoor craft activity is making homemade sculpting dough with your kids. Its great! You guys can do the recipe together, you can measure it out, and its really simple. It’s just flour, salt, water, and a little food coloring.

If you’re not feeling that adventurous, we highly recommend Play Foam! It’s ready to go right outside of the packaging. It’s super easy to make squishy squashy shapes with or even simple sculptures. It’ll never dry out and its pretty much mess free. We love it and we think your kids will love it too!

Bridge the Gap: Fun Summer Science Ideas!


Hey! Nancy here again, EI’s science product developer, and I’m here with some fun ways to slip science into your summer.

Summer is a great time to explore science with your child because nature’s all around you and its easy to get outside. So one thing we recommend that you to do is to go on a texture walk! You can walk around and find leaves and bark and explore the texture, and then you can get some crayons and some paper and do a rubbing. Another thing you can do is go on a nature treasure hunt, so you can make a list with your child of things you might find, and if they can write, actually this is great writing practice they can list the things they’re going to find on the treasure hunt and go out and try to find them. When you do, use a magnifying glass to observe them up close.

Summer is great time to observe longer-term science processes such as growth and decomposition since kids are home all summer anyway. If you have a clear container, you can grow plants in it. If you use water instead of soil, it’s a great way to get an up-close view of the roots that are growing. You can also break down things in the clear container. You can put an apple core for example or a banana peel in the clear container with some soil and watch it decompose within several weeks.For those of you who prefer a ready made kit, our compost bin and our hydroponics lab make growing and decomposing plants very simple and there’s no smell.

Taking a trip to the shore or to the beach? You can take a glass mason jar with you, kids can take a scoop and the water in the glass will naturally magnify what they see. Kids can take a closer look and see if they caught any plankton or fish.Another thing you can use is our plankton net. You can use this in the water. It has a jar at the bottom and it will collect plankton. The jar can be sealed and it has magnifying lenses on it. It comes with a chart so you can actually identify the plankton that you’ve caught.
The sea scope is another cool object to take with you to any body of water. You can stay dry while observing underwater life, and it actually as a flashlight on it so you can illuminate the view.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these summer science ideas and that you get out and start exploring!