Mommy Mondays: Getting Crafty

Hooray for Pinterest! Even though I think I use it wrong (as in I don’t follow anyone and have exactly 2 boards: arts & crafts ideas and pictures of bed frames I found online while shopping earlier this year and I’m always surprised when I get an email notice that one of these has been repinned…), I have found so many great craft ideas there!

Check out the fingerprint and hand print turkeys Emma and I made as Thanksgiving cards for the grandparents – so cute!

Our next project – and I might even go the extra mile and make it a Christmas arts & crafts play date for a few friends! – is painting these awesome Santa rocks…

Have you done any awesome arts & crafts this year? Lemme’ see!

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Young at Heart

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
–Albert Einstein

All Hands on Deck!

Happy Friday! Since there are so many fun facts about hands, we’ve decided to compile them all into one big interesting post! Read and Enjoy.

Here’s one you might have already experienced: Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!

But did you know that the pink under your fingernails is the blood in your capillaries? You did?

Okay how about this: There are no muscles inside the fingers. The muscles which bend the finger joints are located in the palm and up in the mid forearm, and are connected to the finger bones by tendons, which pull on and move the fingers like the strings of a marionette.

Here’s food for thought: About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of the brain which controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands.

Last but not least, did you know that the wrinkles on the back of the finger knuckles are actually dimples? They mark areas where the skin is attached to the tendon beneath the skin.

Now you’ll know the back of your hand a little better than you did before!

Here’s a Strange Thought

Ever thought of how many miles our nervous system would be if we were to line them up from end to end?

Here’s our Fun Fact of the Day: The human body has 45 miles of nerves.

Forty-three pairs of nerves connect the central nervous system to every part of the body. Twelve pairs go to and from the brain, and 31 go from the spinal cord.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Hands On Learning

Here is a great article our CEO, Rick Woldenberg, found that reinforces what we have always believed: Hands-on learning is (and continues to be) the most effective elementary educational teaching method!

Mommy Mondays: Benefit of the Doubt

I recently read a poll in a parenting magazine asking if parents pay attention to other parents’ “reviews” of teachers. It asked if parents would go so far as to try to have their children moved to other classes if they had heard negative things about the teachers their kids were assigned.

The readers’ responses varied. Some thought it negligent to ignore the negative feedback—why put their kids through a potentially bad experience if they could help it? Others gave the teacher the benefit of the doubt—some teaching styles work better for some kids, so why not give it a try first? If you’d asked me this question last year, when my daughter was heading into kindergarten, there’s no question what I would have said.

[My daughter, Emma. Her daddy is 6’3, with 6’ sisters and a 6’7 brother!]

Flash back…there we were…waiting to see the class list and meet Emma’s teacher. We’d heard such great things about both kindergarten teachers. We’d played for years on the kindergarten playground and peeked through the kindergarten windows at the adorable little chairs and tables. Even the in-class bathroom door was tiny!

What a surprise to learn that one of those two teachers had taken on the school’s new preppy-K class and my daughter was assigned to a new team-teaching pair. At first we were thrilled—two teachers in the classroom! Too good to be true! And it was. What it really meant was that two teachers would split the week. Really? Neither one could commit to a 22-hour work week? Then the other shoe dropped— neither teacher had ever taught kindergarten before. Oh, and that cute little classroom on the cute little playground? Nah, we were down the hall with the big kids. And the tiny bathroom door was replaced with the big girl’s bathroom—across a corridor open to the street.

I did what any good parent would do—I panicked. I tried the principal, to no avail. There would be no relocations; the classes were full. I wasn’t alone: we were all worried—two teachers, two sets of rules, two styles— and in this crucial year, no less! After a few sleepless nights and more conversations than my friends care to remember (oh, and a deposit at the private school down the road, which we really couldn’t afford and whose religious tenets we do not believe), I caved. I mean, what choice did I have?

Well, a year later, I am both thrilled and embarrassed to report that the year could not have gone any better. One teacher was nurturing and sweet. The other was stern, but conducted kitchen science lessons every Friday with edible treat results. I never heard any student or parent complain of trouble adjusting to different styles or routines. In fact, they may have come out more flexible for it. The highlight of my daughter’s year was winning the silent auction at the spring carnival. The prize? Lunch. At Burger King. With her teacher. The stern one.

I am not a go-with-the-flow person, but  man, lesson learned. So when the flurry of phone calls, texts, and emails started rolling in when this year’s class assignments were mailed, I’m happy to report that I closed my ears and went with the flow.

And I’m glad I did. Emma’s new teacher opened this year’s Open House by telling the parents how grateful she was to have a job that she loves so much. Teaching is probably the hardest job in the world (okay, tied with being a mom). Teachers wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I will!

Magic Moves wins 2012 Brilliance Award from Brilliant Sky

Let the music move you!

What a way to start the month off! Our featured product of the month, Magic Moves™, just won a 2012 Brilliance Award from Brilliant Sky! How cool is that?

According to Brilliant Sky Toys & Books, The Brilliance Awards “recognize products that represent the very ideals that Brilliant Sky Toys & Books was founded upon – the importance of quality, the value of open-ended play, and the simple beauty of a child’s fascination and delight.  The products must meet the company’s high standard of offering developmentally sound products for children and must also engage children and encourage the growth of important values, such as self-esteem, patience, tenacity and cultural sensitivity.”

We are so honored to have received this award. Our team couldn’t have done this without you, our fans, in mind.