Win an Exclusive Copy of Shelby’s Snack Shack!

The holiday season is in full swing and to commemorate this special time, we’re giving Facebook fans an exclusive opportunity to win a copy of our newest product, Shelby’s Snack Shack™ Game– the sister game to our best selling Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel™ Game. Shelby’s Snack Shack™ Game is a number and counting bone-anza! It’s the perfect game for preschoolers and pug lovers everywhere, ages 4 and up.

To enter the contest, simply:

1. Click on this link: : Team Shelby!

2. “Like” Shelby’s page (the actual pug this game is modeled after!)

3. Share the contest post with family and friends to be eligible to win!

And that’s it! Shelby’s Snack Shack™ isn’t available to the public until January 2013, so hurry on and enter to claim this very special prize! Contest ends Friday, December 7th, 2012 at MIDNIGHT PST! Good Luck!

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Working on Gross Motor Skills

Although Children’s health month is coming to an end soon, it doesn’t mean that the fun should stop! We highly encourage that you continue to get your kids active and working on those gross motor skills!

What are gross motor skills?  Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body that are used for walking, running, sitting, crawling and other activities.

They develop over a relatively short period of time, with most of the development occurring during childhood. Encouraging gross motor skills simply requires a safe, open play space, peers to interact with and some adult supervision.

There are a number of activities parents can have children do to help develop gross motor skills. These include:

  • Activities that encourage balancing (jump rope, hop scotch)
  • Activities that develop hand-eye or foot-eye coordination (baseball, football, soccer—anything that involves catching, kicking or throwing a ball)
  • Hopping with a small object in-between their knees and jumping forwards, backwards and sideways.

Put your Thinking Crown on!

Nancy Balter is our math and science product developer here at Educational Insights. She was a math and science teacher for 11 years, and she’s also the mother of two young children. Here’s a great at-home-learning activity she plays with her kids at home!

My son is in preschool and not many kids learn their shapes before entering Kindergarten. To remedy this, I play a fun shapes game with my 3.5-year-old son. Not only does it help him learn shapes, but it also helps him with critical-thinking skills because he must use the process of elimination to deduce the answer. This game is a fun and simple, yet educationally valuable activity that will help younger kids get ahead of the game!

The description below is for a 4-player game (and therefore uses four shapes). If you’re playing with a different number of people, simply adjust the number of shapes.

You Will Need

  • 4 pieces of paper, approximately 1.5 inches on a side
  • a strip of paper, approximately 1.5 inches x 6 inches
  • a marker
  • tape

Before Playing

Use the marker to draw a different shape on each of the four pieces of paper.

Draw all four of those same shapes on the strip of paper.

How To Play

1. Using tape, stick a shape on each player’s forehead. A player should not see which shape he/she has

2. Allow players to look around and see what’s on everyone else’s forehead.

3. One at a time, ask each player to figure out what is on his/her own forehead. Players can consult the strip of paper with all four shapes. (Sometimes I help my son by asking him to tell me the shape on each person’s head and I cover that shape with my finger has he says it.


4. Once everyone has guessed what is on his/her forehead, players can pull off the piece of paper and take a look.

Change the game by changing the shapes (hexagon, crescent, rectangle, oval, etc.). You can also play this game with other attributes, such as colors, numbers, or letters.

If you want to get really fancy (and make your child feel like royalty), put the shapes onto crowns with Velcro®. You can use giant plastic gems for shapes. Make a scepter (with a Velcro® strip) to hold the four shapes. Here’s how mine looks:

In the photo you can see that I added some paper ‘gold’ coins to give to those who guess correctly. (However, I’ve generally found I don’t need those. My son is simply pleased to guess correctly, without needing the gold coin reward.)

I also put a strip of Velcro® on the back of the scepter which holds any extra shapes that I’m not using for that particular game.

We play this game every so often and it’s a lot of fun for the whole family. My son especially likes it when we include his 1.5-year-old sister in the game. Hilariously, she happily leaves the paper taped to her forehead while we play. Although if we use the crown version, she pulls the crown off her head—and then tries to pull the crowns off our heads too!

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!

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!