4 Ways to Celebrate National Punctuation Day!

National Punctuation Day is September 24th, and we’re ready to celebrate! Punctuation puns and grammar jokes aside, solid writing skills help strengthens kids’ reading comprehension and communication skills, among other benefits, period.

Here are a few ideas for play on Punctuation Day.

Play

This game puts a language arts twist on a popular outdoor game. Red Light, Green Light does more than just teach kids when to stop and go. Instead of using colors, change the rules of the game to involve punctuation marks. For instance, hold up a sign with a period for “stop,” or wave an exclamation point for “hop.” See the step-by-step guide here.

Explore  

Heading out with the family? Designate your kids as punctuation patrols and have them inspect restaurant menus, signs, billboards and the like. From finding errors to learning grammar rules, this is an educational spin on the classic I-Spy …

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Early Childhood Learning Starts at Birth, in the Home

At Smart E. Pants Academy, we’re firm believers in the importance of early childhood education. After all, learning begins at birth, and some research even shows it can happen in the womb. We know that a solid foundation is critical to achieving success in school, but we must also consider how the early stages of life can affect our now-students as adults.

In a new report, Katharine B. Stevens explores the long-term implications of poor early childhood education. While proper schooling is essential, Stevens’ research proves that the most crucial learning takes place years before kids even enter the classroom.

Case in point: research found that the developmental gap between higher- and lower-income children can be seen as early as nine months old. The disparity only grows as the child does, and by 18 months, lower-income toddlers can be up to a few months …

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Goodbye, Summer Slide: 5 Educational Everyday Activities

Summertime and the living’s easy! Now that students have settled into the break, we must make a conscious effort to prevent them from going down the summer slide. Not to be confused with the fan-favorite vessel for splashing into the pool, summer slide refers to the learning loss kids experience during the months when they’re out of school. Studies show they can lose as much as two months of learning in this short period.

Don’t let your children’s hard work go to waste. Instead, incorporate educational twists in everyday activities–all without harshing that carefree summer vibe.

Here’s how to keep kids learning when they are…

…Taking a long (or short!) car trip: Animal Name Game

The first player names an animal, then the next person names an animal that starts with the last letter of the previously named animal. There’s just one rule–no repeating animal names–to keep it …

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Fourth of July Cooking & Crafts

Whether you’re hosting a BBQ block party or keeping things low key, get the whole family involved in your July 4th party prep. These fun, not to mention helpful, activities will keep everyone busy and entertained until it’s time to watch the fireworks.

Set the table

A patriotic tablescape is just an art project away. Use thick sheets of white or beige construction paper, and have kids stamp them up using different shaped sponges dipped in red or blue paint. Leave a window of plenty of time for them to dry.

Have paint leftover? Grab a few plastic forks and have kids create their own firework display.

Get cooking

Have your little sous chefs decorate a cake to look like an American flag using fresh (and healthy!) strawberries and blueberries. Angel food cake is a classic summer dessert that’s both delicious and easy to make. …

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Learning to Love Animals and Music

May is a busy month for many reasons. The school year is winding down, and the pre-summer excitement is setting in. But before we’re off for Memorial Day, there’s still lots to learn. This month, we’re exploring two of our favorite things: animals and music!

Check out two great learning opportunities kids of all ages can enjoy at home with friends and family.

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Be Kind to Animals Week: May 7-13

This special week has been observed for over a century, and encourages everything from education to adoption. It also highlights the importance of teaching kids how to be kind and compassionate to all different types of animals. Check out a few fun activities below, and visit the …

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10 Ways to Celebrate the Week of the Young Child

Did you know that 85% of brain growth happens by the time a child turns three years old? How about the fact that children learn up to 12,000 new words a year because of reading? (Children’s Movement Florida).

Children start developing important functions in the first few years of their lives. In that vein, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrates early learning with The Week of the Young Child. This year’s special week starts on Monday, April 24 through Friday, April 28. Don’t miss this great opportunity to focus on your young kids’ early learning and development!

In addition to NAEYC’s awesome suggestions, we’ve put together a list of fun ideas and activities for enjoying each day of the week.

Music Monday

Music helps children develop literacy, language and math skills

Invite friends over and have a dance party at home. …

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Easy & Educational St. Patrick’s Day Craft

Lucky you! With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we’ve got a DIY four-leaf clover craft your kids will love. This fun activity allows children to use small motor skills as well as math and language arts lessons in a creative way. Our clover craft is fun for playing with friends and family, so grab the gang!

Half the fun is in making the game pieces, so let’s get started.

What you’ll need:

Green construction paper, scissors, a pencil and a marker

How to cut the clovers out:

Fold a green sheet of construction paper in half. Starting at the top creased edge of the paper, take the pencil and draw half of the clover – two leaves and the stem. Cut the shape out and unfold the paper. Cut as many clovers out as there are letters in each person’s name. Use the marker to spell out every player’s …

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Healthy Hearts for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

Hearts are the iconic shape for February, and not just because of Valentine’s Day. February marks American Heart Month, with efforts across the US to raise awareness for heart disease as well as the avoidable habits that can keep illness at bay. It’s a great time to check in on your family’s health and educate kids on the lifestyle factors that determine their wellbeing.

From food choices to being active, incorporating a few healthy habits in everyday life will keep their hearts in good shape way past Valentine’s Day.

Healthy food habits start at home, so it’s important for kids to be in the kitchen. Cooking together is a great method for teaching kids about nutrition and opening their appetites to new foods. The American Heart Association offers Simple Cooking with Heart for Kids, which is an awesome resource with recipes as well as talking points for parents.

Sitting …

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How to Prep for Upcoming Standardized Tests

With a month of the year already behind us, we’re thinking about the acronyms of the future. March kicks off test dates for the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) and the SAT, meaning that students of all ages will be buckling down to study and prepare over the next few weeks. Whether your child is advancing to the next grade level or applying to college, preparing for these tests is crucial to their academic success.

We know this can be overwhelming for both students and parents, so we offer a comprehensive program for test prep. Read on to learn more about how we can help, plus a few tips that apply to every type of exam.

The Smart E. Pants Academy Test Prep program takes roughly 30 hours to complete, and is tailored specifically to the individual test. Our proven approach is simple: we teach students how to take

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Take A Brain Break

Winter break is a great time to pause and reflect on the first half of the school year. Talking with kids about goals, achievements and even disappointments is crucial for helping them make progress and stay motivated. The weeks off from school also give students time to revitalize and prepare for the upcoming semesters.

On that note, taking a break is key for giving the brain time to refocus, learn and form memories. Employing brain breaks in everyday studying helps students understand and retain material; just a few minutes and a little movement increases brain function. Read on to learn more about brain breaks and how they can help your child, both at school and at home.

What are brain breaks?

Brain breaks are planned changes during lessons. The break can be something as simple as stretching or practicing mindful breathing for a few minutes. Physical movement, like moving to …

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