> Bless Their Hearts Mom: How to Keep Kids Occupied and Learning Over the Summer!
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to Keep Kids Occupied and Learning Over the Summer!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these books, free of charge,from Consortium Book Sales and DK Books, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them,  all opinions are my own.

i'm bored button

Today I have not 1, but 2 excellent books for keeping the kids occupied,
and LEARNING over the Summer!

The Big Book of Nature Activities cover

The Big Book of Nature Activities

Get out! Seasonal activities, information, stories, games and observations to foster engagement with the natural world!

The Big Book of Nature Activities sample 1

The average child can identify over one thousand corporate logos, but only ten native plants or animals—a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from nature. Soaring levels of obesity, high rates of ADHD, feelings of stress and social awkwardness, and "Nature Deficit Disorder" are further unintended consequences of a childhood spent primarily indoors.

The Big Book of Nature Activities sample 2
The Big Book of Nature Activities is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features:

Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling, and the judicious use of digital technology Ideas, games, and activities grounded in what's happening in nature each season Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America.

The Big Book of Nature Activities sample 3

Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders , The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun.


I love how this book doesn't disavow how we use technology so much these days, but instead, makes a strong point for combining the two and showing kids the beauty of nature, by using technology instead of guide books, to help them along the way. This is really great as you can see from the above samples, that show were kids can find the info they need to identify the things they SEE around them! AHA. not only are they using those brains for cognitive research, they are learning! Sneaky, sneaky! The book is also situated by seasons, so that it can actually last ALL year long, with new projects and things to see/do! You may find your kids going through the book by themselves too!Many of the activities (see pix above as well) can also be done any time of the year, and are great for Summer projects. 

make lab cover

Maker Lab

maker lab sample 1Perfect for the next generation of MythbustersMaker Lab is a science experiment that uses household items and shows kids that science is fun.Build, create, invent, and discover 28 awesome experiments and activities with Maker Lab.

Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution and supporting STEAM education initiatives, Maker Labhas 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors’ wheels turning and make science pure fun.

maker lab sample 2Explaining science through photographs and facts that carefully detail the “why” and “how” of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context, each activity is appropriate for kids ages 8-12 years old and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, make bath fizzies, construct a solar system, make an eggshell geode, and more.


maker lab sample 3This is a fun book for kids who like hands on experiments. The only caveat is that most require 24-48 hours to complete, as the kids make part of the project, then have to allow the science to occur. The science is spelled out for them in the book as well, in case they aren't sure of the WHY behind what they discovered in their scientific experiment. The instructions are VERY clear and 9-12 year olds would have no problem handling post of the experiments by themselves. I like how the instructions are laid out like a recipe- kids are told what they are making and what it will show them, then states what is needed for the experiment, and shows exactly what will be needed (like sample above on the right). Then the instructions are very clear, with close up photos, that allow even the younger kids to understand the steps (like the above photo on left).  The instructions let kids know what they should be seeing, and then goes through the science of what happened, thus enforcing what was learned (see left). Which makes for some really great educational learning, that kids really don't realize they are doing!

Both of these books would be great with a basket of supplies, to give to your kids the first day of Summer Vacation and tell them, that's their 'I'm Bored' box! They'll be having so much fun, they won't realize they are LEARNING along the way and keeping away Summer brain drain!

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