Science IS Fun!

We have added something new to my daughter’s 1st grade curriculum thanks to an awesome book we were sent to review!  I loved Asia’s first book, which we shared here and jumped at the chance to receive an advance copy of her next book, The Curious Kid’s Science Book.

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My husband is now the homeschool science teacher around here so I handed him the book and told him to look through it and tell me what he thought.  I also told him to pick any activity to do with our daughter so I could feature it in this post.

He loved the book, and she did too.  She was begging to do it all as she flipped through with him.  The photos alone are enough to draw anyone in! They ended up choosing an experiment that involved seeing which soap would produce the most bubbles. You can find all of the details in the book.

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He set up all of the supplies, all we had around the house.  I get asked about our big blue mat a lot, it’s called a MessMatz and I got it on Zulily.

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Then they got to work!  Watching her throughout the experiment was such a joy.  She absolutely loved every minute and begged for more!

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I took a little video clip of her in action and shared on Instagram here. You can see her BIG smile!

A video posted by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on


We have decided to add this book to Ladybug’s curriculum this year.  They are planning to freely choose experiments together based on her interests. I definitely recommend this book for a unique and refreshing twist on science for kids.  It isn’t your normal textbook style, but more of a launching pad for great ideas all in one place.  It focuses on discovery and exploration and is very child-led.  I love this style of learning and it is honestly very freeing!  The book is geared towards 4-8 year olds, my daughter is 6 so it’s just perfect!

The book is available worldwide. You can get a copy here on Amazon!

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Sparky’s Brain Busters Free App and Fire Prevention Week Resources

Sparky's Brain Busters Free App

{disclaimer ~ we were compensated for this post}

Last year we were introduced to the Sparky apps and website and recently had the chance to review the new Sparky app, Sparky’s Brain Busters.  This is a free app geared towards 3rd-5th grade kids, so I had my son try it out with me!  He’s a bit old for the app but he was challenged by some of the questions!  Even I got a few wrong!

After choosing your game level {Rookies – 3rd, Stars – 4th, or Legends – 5th}, you spin the wheel to get a question based on either Science, Math, Social Studies, Fire Safety or Sparky’s Choice.

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You are then given a question with multiple choice answers. Our favorite question was definitely one that popped up about Minecraft!

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I am very competitive, so I personally enjoyed the challenge feature.  We connected his iPad with my iPhone and played against each other!  As you can see, I WON!!!! You compete both for who got more questions {out of 15} correct AND who answered them faster!

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The Sparky apps are very well done.  I am picky about graphics and features, especially with free apps.  There are so many bad ones out there!  I really like how the Sparky apps are created and this one is no exception!

There are many neat features to this app and it’s FREE so why not try it out! You can see more in the Sparky app trailer here on YouTube.

You can find the app on iTunes 

or on Amazon for Android

Sparky's Brain Busters App

Fire Prevention Week is coming soon {October 4-10, 2015}, it’s a great time to bring some of this fun and free learning into your homeschool or classroom!

There is SO much on the SparkySchoolHouse site for teachers, including this awesome video teaching about the Great Chicago Fire, which features Lauren Tarshis who writes some of my son’s favorite books, the I Survived Series! This video is such a simple and great lesson for kids showing how fires are better prevented now from what we learned from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Need some lesson plans to use during Fire Prevention Week?  Sparky has you covered!  Be sure to see the awesome lessons here, there’s even a section specifically with lessons to go along with their videos, including the Great Chicago Fire video I shared above! You’ll also find free printables and so much more.  This website is a great tool to help us teach our kids about fire prevention!

littleBits Smart Home Kit Review

littleBits Smart Home Kit Review

You may remember our first post featuring the littleBits Deluxe Kit, which we love!  In fact, my oldest son in particular fell in love with littleBits and begged for the Smart Home Kit.  I contacted littleBits to see if they would be interested in another review and they said yes!  We were sent this kit to review in exchange for this blog post and our thoughts about it.

littleBits Smart Home Kit



What exactly is littleBits?

littleBits is a simple way to learn and invent with electronics.  There is a vast module library and the modules snap together with magnets so it’s impossible to make a mistake. The library has over 60 modules and growing. littleBits kits come with individual Bits and detailed, step-by-step instructions for building your very first inventions.

The littleBits system is modular so every Bit works with every other Bit in the library!  There is tons of info on their website!


When the Smart Home Kit arrived, my 13 year old son was thrilled.  The other kids like it too, but this one was mainly for PacMan.

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Even I didn’t really understand why he wanted it so badly, but he explained it to me {well, he tried}.  He had spent loads of time on the littleBits website researching the kits.  He actually begged for the One of Everything Collection, I laughed. The Smart Home Kit was the main kit he wanted and he has had so much fun with it.  It also combines with the Deluxe Kit we already had, so he is now able to create even more!

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His favorite features of the Smart Home Kit are the following…

    Don’t ask me what each of those snazzy things do, I have no clue.  I am so not an electronics gal but am so glad he loves this and knows what each one is and why he loves it!
    One of his projects I snapped some photos of, a timer! he just loves creating and messing with stuff like this.  My husband really likes this too and is so thankful we now own these sets.

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You can purchase the Smart Home Kit here and see all of the other littleBits kits here!  I know there are probably MANY kids out there who would just love something like this as a gift!

Life of Fred Elementary Math Giveaway!

Life of Fred Giveaway

Educents is the first online marketplace forEducents educational products. In just 2 years we’ve saved homeschoolers & parents over $20 million on much-needed educational products and resources for their students. We hope we can help you discover and save BIG on all the educational products you deserve! Discover thousands of educational items at the absolute BEST price available all at your finger tips!

Click here to browse and discover all our affordable deals.

One of the amazing deals featured at Educents is Life of Fred Math. Up until about 2 years ago I had never even looked at Life of Fred, and had no clue what all the fuss was about.  I bought 4 of the elementary math books to use with Krash last year as a supplemental review and we fell in love! 

We are now using the same books with Ladybug this year, as more of a main math program for 1st grade. Educents kindly sent us the remaining books in the series for this review, since we only owned the first 4 books of the series. The photo below shows all 10 of the elementary math books.

Dr. Schmidt recommends that all students up to 4th grade start with Apples and work their way through the entire elementary series.  Krash is in 4th grade this year and finishing up the series this year {we hope}.  Ladybug is in 1st grade and just started!

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These books looked strange to me at first. Take a peek. Does this look like a math book to you?

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Not really, huh?  But it is math. presented in a engaging, purposeful and silly way.  Our entire family now really enjoys Life of Fred math! The strangeness is what has really drawn us in.  The characters are quirky, the stories are funny, and the math is practical.

Want a deeper peek?  Scroll down to the product description section on this page and there’s a link to see inside of each book!  There’s also a great overview video!

We just started with Ladybug and I captured a bit of learning with her Dad during her first week. They sit together like this most days and will use a dry erase board to complete the problems at the end of each chapter.

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Here’s a video I made showing them in action.  It’s about 6 minutes long, giving you a peek into chapters 1 & 2 from Apples.


For more added fun, invite your dog!

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Life of Fred  Video


The creator of the series, Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt is a former high school teacher and college professor who created the character Fred Gauss to give students real-world examples of how to use what they are learning. Kids love these adventure-focused and engaging stories. With 10 different Life of Fred books, they will have never-ending fun while developing their math skills. This giveaway features the full Elementary Math Series, a $139.90 value – but the educational experience is truly priceless!

Click here to find out more about the Life of Fred books, and click here to read even more.

Click here to read about how an inspiring homeschooler uses the Life of Fred books in her lessons.

Giveaway is over.

littleBits ~ Review and Giveaway

littleBits Electronics Review

I have always been intimidated by electronics.  When littleBits contacted me about sponsoring our blog and having us review a kit I was a bit apprehensive mostly due to my silly fears.  My husband was exactly opposite and was SO excited about the opportunity! I am so glad we listened to him and weren’t guided by my fear of electronics because this kit is just incredible and my kids absolutely love it.

We were sent the Deluxe Kit for review, which has everything you see below. This is the kit you can enter to WIN at the end of this post!

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What exactly is littleBits?

littleBits is a simple way to learn and invent with electronics.  There is a vast module library and the modules snap together with magnets so it’s impossible to make a mistake. The library has over 60 modules and growing. Every module works with every other in millions of combinations, you’ll never run out of things to make.

I must be really honesty with you.  Since this kit has a higher price tag, we “hid” it from the boys, only allowing them to get it down when they asked.  This was a BIG mistake.  After about a month I was a bit hesitant to write our review and asked my husband for his thoughts.  I was concerned that the boys didn’t seem drawn to it and we concluded that possibly that was our fault for hiding it.  We didn’t intentionally keep it out of their sight, but had it in my husband’s office.  Out of sight, out of mind.  The boys had just forgotten we had it. 

After that realization, we put the kit out on the table, gave some guidelines for free exploration and then just left it.  Someone has had their hands in this kit almost every moment since then.

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Our kids are 6, 9 and 13.  Our younger daughter loved watching and interacting with things the older kids built, but she doesn’t build with it yet.  The age recommendation is 8 and up and I agree with that. 


Our 9 Year Old’s Creations…

Krash just turned 9 and could follow the guide by himself and learned the basics quickly. He is our guide book follower.  He has always been this way and proved it again.  After some teaching from Daddy, we let him loose and soon he was coming in to show us what he had created all following the guide book.

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He made the spin and shake sign project…

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My favorite was definitely the handshake buzzer!

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See him get his little sister here in this video!


The last creation I caught on camera before writing this was the tickler. 

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He used it to dust the table.

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A 13 Year Old’s Creations…

My 13 year old is the more free spirited creator.  He ignores most guide books and just wants to figure it out on his own.  He created his own things, only referring to the guide book if necessary {very little}. 

This is his drawing machine.  He added Legos in to create a vehicle that would draw lines.

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See the drawing machine in action here!


The pom pom tosser

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Here’s the pom pom tosser in action


Final thoughts…

I am SO thankful we were offered this kit to review.  My boys are now both begging for additional kits so they can build more. As a parent, the price is hard to swallow if I’m being honest. I have never looked into small electronics like this for my kids, so although the price tag seems a bit high to me, it may be totally normal for something like this. However, the creativity I have seen and the idea that my kids very well may not fear electronics like I have is worth it. I love that both of my boys can use this now and my daughter will be able to use it soon. It’s a long term investment.


The Giveaway!

littleBits is giving one of our readers a Deluxe Kit, just like we were given for our review!

This is the biggest kit littleBits makes with 18 powerful modules. Whether you’re a professional designer or just getting started with electronics, Deluxe Kit gives you the flexibility you need to make big, powerful projects. No soldering, wiring, or programming required!

littleBits Review and Giveaway

Enter to win using Rafflecopter below, US address only. Giveaway ends June 6, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway