Category Archives: Review Toys

Fit Made Fun Day

Disclaimer: I recieved free products in order to host the LeapBand, Clif Kid sponsored MommyParties and participate virtually with the National Fit Made Fun Day. All opinions expressed here are my own.”

We had a great time joining in to help beat the Guiness World Record for the National Fit Made Fun Day on Saturday September 6, 2014!

We recieved a party kit with ideas and included were 2 Leap Frog LeapBands for kids to use for activities, and three flavors of Cliff Kid Zbar Protein Bars to enjoy during the event.


We had arranged to have our Fit Made Fun Party at the local park, but we got rained out of our festivities.  I was worried we would miss getting to join in on this National celebration to break the world record of kids all over the USA getting active on the same day.   I thought we would have to reschedule until the following day, and I kept watching the weather.


Finally by late afternoon, things began to dry out some and we were able to have fun games and activities outside in the yard instead of the park.  Better late (in the afternoon) than never!


We activated the LeapBands ahead of the party.  I also printed out several games from with more game ideas, board games, coloring pages, activity cards, and more.

The Leapbands must be registered and activated online ahead of time. The creates access to a dashboard that keeps a cynced record of their activities recorded by the LeapBands.  The process is automatic each time you connect the LeapBands to the computer and allows you to change the settings of when they are active, sleeping, at school, etc if desired, and also recharges the LeapBand so it is full of energy.


The kids couldn’t wait to put on their LeapBands and get busy following along with the instructions for activities.  They earned Joules for each activity they completed.  Later we connected them again to the computer after we were done using them for the day, the Joules they earned and information about their activities was transferred to their computer dashboard.


LeapBand is a wearable activity tracker that talks to kids, keeps track of movement, and records their answers to games.  It is kind of cross between a pedometer, a watch, and an activity gaming console all wrapped up in one.  It encourages kids to get active with 50 preprogramed games and activities for endless hours of fun.  It also has virtual pet pals. They earn points called Joules for moving and being active. They can see the points they earned right on the face of the LeapBand. The more points they earn, they can unlock new levels in the games and also earn rewards for their virtual pet pals.


We had water bottles and Clif Kid Zbar Protein bars on hand for rehydration and energy.  We also made Turkey Pita sandwhiches and had fresh strawberries.  The kid’s favorite snack was the Clif Kid Zbar Protein bars.  They are delicious. We tried the Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, and Peanut Butter.


Our absolute favorite flavor was Peanut Butter. They taste like a cross between a candy bar and a granola bar.


But we honestly liked all the flavors. My personal favorite was the Chocolate Mint.  I was surprised how delicious and satisfying it was. Definitely passed for both kids and adults.


As part of the National Fit Made Fun Party participation with kids nationwide, we spent 10 minutes doing the “Snorkel Dance”, 10 minutes rolling around in the grass making “Grass Angels”,  and 10 minutes playing “Follow The Leader”. We played games like “Frogs on the Lily Pads”,  “Healthy Habits Hunt”, and “Relay Races”. The kids had so much fun doing cartwheels, dancing, and hopping around.

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They made grass angels (like snow angles), did a swim dance, flew around like birds, and before I knew it, they were doing flips upside down on their hands in the grass too.

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They were having so much fun, they decided to take advantage of the little bit of sunlight left in the evening to climb trees and take a nature walk too.

Up the tree with LeapBand.

At the end of the party, everyone received a participation certificate. We had so much fun! We are already looking forward to joining the National Fit Made Fun Day again next year and hope we can help them set the next Guiness World Records!

Disclaimer:  We were provided a party kit with LeapBand and Clif Kid products in exchange for an honest review and for the purpose of facilitating a Fit Made Fun Day party sponsored by LeapFrog and MommyParties.  All opinions expressed are my own honest opinion.

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The Happy’s™ Playdate

I love hosting review parties for mom’s, and telling them about great products that put FUN into their family’s life. We were recently chosen to host a playdate party review of The Happy’s™ and tell mom’s and kids all about these addorable “smart” toys.  

The Happy’s are a smart and addorable robotic pet that chases after it’s own toy treat.  Each pet is soft and cuddly yet it is programed to do special tricks.  It can also interact with toy treats of other pets in the collection.  The Happy’s™ also have a line of interactive toys (like a toy car, skateboard, and more) availabe for each pet too.  My kids love robots in all shapes and sizes, and these realistic toy pets are another fun way for them to learn, and have a great time playing. 

The Happy’s™ were created by Cepia, LLC, the makers of ZhuZhu Pets.   The Happy’s™ are realistic motorized toy plush pets that can run, sit, pounce, spin, make lots of silly sounds, and play and with your kids.  The pets interact with their own special toys and treats, and your kids will have lots of fun playing with them.

The Happy’s™ have 8 pets in the current line.  We recieved 4 pet characters and a chase ball for our review party that included: 

Bentley – Bentley is a golden retriever and comes with the blue Happy Treat bone. His favorite trick is to chase his tail.

Sport – Sport is a goldendoodle (golden retriever crossed with a poodle) and comes with the red Happy Treat bone, and loves chasing balls and does a wiggle trick.

Chance – Chance is a Beagle and loves to explore and comes with an orange Happy Treat bone and will perform a jump trick. 

Mittens – Mittens is a kitty cat and comes with a yellow fish treat and does a “sneak up and pounce” trick.  

Play and Chase Ball – Bright yellow, interactive ball that rolls and wobbles on it’s own and the pets chase after it. 

Here is a short video clip featuring some of the tricks and The Happy’s™:

There are toys, treats, playsets, and more available for each of The Happy’s™ and what works for one will also work for another one with additional tricks and features.  So the more you collect, the more fun you will have.

We were sent a playdate party review kit that included a list of themed ideas for snacks, crafts, and games.  It also included four pets and their treats, one chase ball, 12 batteries (each pet takes 3 batteries and the toy ball takes 2 batteries), craft items to make pet ear headbands, and three packages of Werther’s Origional Carmel Popcorn. 

The kids couldn’t wait to tell family and friends all about this fun party we had planned.  We set the date to coincide with a birthday party too.  

We had a great time setting up The Happy’s™ Party!  We went with a “pet theme” for our food, decorations, and games.
We served the Werther’s Origional Carmel Popcorn in a pet food dish. The kids thought that it was hysterical to eat carmel popcorn “pet” food!  

If we had more time and more pet food trays, we thought about having a “pet” food eating contest with the Werther’s Popcorn in them, like what is usually done with a pie eating contest.  The kids thought up this challenge, and thought they could put their hands behind their back and eat like their pets from the pet trays and whoever finishes first wins the game. Maybe at a future event we can host a competition or something like that.  Is anyone game for a challenge of kids verses adults?

Besides The Happy’s™ toys, fun games, and treats, another super big “pet food” hit at the party were the pet water bowls.  We made them with blue raspberry flavored jello.  So cute!

We made peanut butter cookies for doggy treats (story coming soon).

We sliced veggies and served them with hummus dip for chews, goldfish crackers, dried mango “chews”, different bone shaped pretzles and cheese sticks for bones, meat sticks, and a few more treats.  

We also melted butterscotch chips and poured them into bone molds and had our very own dogbone candy bars, and made “puppy chow” with rice chex (recipes coming soon). 

Every bit of the party food was delicious and most of the items (except the jello) we had had on hand and just pulled them from the fridge or cabinets and put them on fun trays, and gave them a new “pet food” name!  This party was so easy and fun to do!

All of the kids had so much fun playing with The Happy’s™ toys, playing pet themed games, and eating lots of yummy treats.  They had a blast learning how to opperate the different pets and teach them to do tricks. The pets follow an infrared light in the treat when the kids push a button on the treat.  The play and chase ball was a lot of fun to chase around the room too.  It wobbles as it rolls all by itself, and the pets chase after it.

I can think of so many great uses for these toys.  They are really fun to play individually and in a group.  This would also be a great toy to take to our Lego and Robotics meetings and discuss the science of “how it works”. Our kids love to learn how motorized robotic toys work and what makes them so much fun. But you could take them as a prop to a meeting about caring for pets, or even host a fun race, or host playdates with them.

If you need a little “happy” fun at your house, it is quite possible The Happy’s™ will put your kids in a happy mood too.  This is definately a toy we would recommend to all our friends and family for birthdays, holidays, and a great bordom buster, or to shake off the winter “blues”, or anytime.  

The Happy’s™ are available at several major retailers near you, such as Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, and more.  Be sure to look for them in the toy section of your favorite retail store.
Be sure to check out:
More reviews and photos online with the hashtag #thehappys
Teach the kids The Happy’s™ Dance and check out this video


Fun online games, puzzles, coloring pages, videos and more on the Website 

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Pinypon Party and Adventure

Our Pinypon Adventure was so much fun!  My kids say “The party was a so much fun Mommy! Can we do it again?”.  Those words are music to my ears!

Below is the full story of our Pinypon Adventure.
        Pinypon Adventure Plans: Party Plans and Goals, Products, Preparations 
                and Play
        Learning Fun: Fine Motor Skills, Social Skills, Vocabulary, History, and
                Pinypon Adventure Video
        Our Pinypon Party: Fashion Show, Playtime, Caravan, Crafts
        Where To Buy
        And More……

            Pinypon Adventure Plans

Party Plans

Our plans and goals:
We want to host a party with lots of friends and Pinypon toys.
We want to learn to be a good hostess.
We want our adventure to be fun.
We want our adventure to be full of learning.
We want to learn about fashion.
We want to learn to make a video as we learn about the Pinypon toy dolls
and doll accessories.
We want to celebrate being a girl.
We want to share our adventures with other girl friends.


When our Pinypon products arrived, I was so amazed at the variety and quality of these toys. 


We set them all out to look at, and plan our fun adventure.

As a Mommy Parties host, we were sent several Pinypon dolls, two Pinypon Caravans, and two Nenuco Newborn baby dolls to host a review party and giveaway prizes.  Both Pinypon and Nenuco are made by the Famosa toy company. 

We also received party suggestion ideas, coupons, a letter for parents, and Fashion Show certificates for our guests.

The certificates will be a nice keepsake.  We will add our Fashion Show certificate into my daughter’s homeschool portfolio.  She loves to collect certificates of things she has participated in.  These are so pretty and have a place for her name and the details of the fashion show.

Preparations and Play

We shopped for decorations, food, and goodie bag supplies. My kids had a great time with the preparations.  My kids (girls and boys) all helped in making the preparations.  They love hosting parties.


Each goodie bag we made will fit into a larger goodie bag too. 
It’s double fun!  Whoopee! 

Inside the first goodie bag is lip gloss, lip balm rings, fingernail polish, princess click style pencils with foam grips, candy necklace, pixy sticks, sweat tart candies, and two ponytail holders. 

Inside the larger gift bag will be the first goodie bag, plus fashion items the girls choose at the party.   Items the girls will choose at the party include a Pinypon doll, a jewel necklace, bracelets, diamond rings, diamond star wands, and colorful hair braids with jewel clips.  These items will be used in a fashion show, so we made them accessible, then after the show, the girls can place them into the larger pink bag to take home after the party.

We opened some of the Pinypon dolls to get familiar with the product, to make a stop motion video, and to use as part of our decorations on the party tables. 


My daughter loved playing with these dolls!  They are so creative and fun.  You can change the hair, face, upper torso, lower torso, and mix and match what ever you want. 

Each doll comes with lots of fashion accessories like barrets, hairbands, purses, bags, and more.  The head of the doll is hollow and they accessories can store easily inside the head when not in use so you can keep it all together.  Pinypon also has several larger accessories you can buy like a house, and a caravan with many more accessories.

                    Learning Fun

In addition to these toys helping to develop fine motor skills and social skills through play, we expanded the learning fun and made this a great Pinypon Adventure.


What is a learning adventure without learning some new vocabulary?  I just can’t help it, I am a homeschool mom!

Vocabulary Words


History of the Famosa toy company.  They produce over 20 well known brands of toys. They were founded in 1957 in Spain, have main branches in 8 countries including the USA, and are a major toy presence in over 50 countries.  They have a fascinating timeline on their website with lots of great information.  As a homeschool family, we love looking at historical timelines and how the story of it all fits together.

Stop Motion Video

Check out our Pinypon Adventure Movie we made.

               Our Pinypon Party

We sent out email invitations. We had several confirmations, and a couple of cancelations, and I wasn’t positive at first how it was all going to end up. But it turned out perfect! We ended up with a great group of girls and their families, and about 15 people in all attended the party.


My kids helped me set up the tables and decorations before our guests arrived.  We set up the door prizes and goodie bags on one table, a Pinypon play and fashion area at another table, and lots of food on another table.



On the menu was a fashionably fun trail mix, cupcakes, chicken strips, humus with corn chips, sprite, and donuts.  I totally forgot the fruit and vegetable platter.  We served the trail mix and the corn chips in flower shaped pots that matched the desert plates and the center piece flowers on the play table.


Pinypon Fashion Show and Playtime

The girls were so excited when they arrived for the party.  They loved spending time playing together. 

They pulled the dolls apart and traded heads, torsos, hair, and accessories to come up with their own custom fashion doll.


The girls had lots of fun playing with Pinypon dolls and accessories.


After the dolls were ready for the fashion show, the girls got to pick out lots of fashion accessories they could also wear for the fashion show too. 


Then the girls and their dolls had a fashion show.  They walked their dolls down a runway to show off their personal styles.


My daughter was so happy!  She loved every minute of this fun adventure!


Pinypon Caravan and Playtime

Then we gathered around the table again for a fun time of playing with the Pinypon Caravan and all the additional accessories that come with it.  Wow!  All of the girls, and all of the mom’s, were impressed with this van!  It is a special toy that any girl will love playing with.


The Pinypon Caravan has a working bathtub/shower/hot tub/swimming pool, a kitchen with a sink, cabinets, a fridge with shelves, a table, a hammock lounge chair, food, dishes, a slide, boat, skate board/surf boards, and so much more. It is a mobile house/camper/vacation
resort all in one. The Pinypon dolls can ride up front and drive the Caravan. One entire side and the back fold down to access everything in side. A window above the sink opens up too. It is very cute!

At one point I counted 8 hands and 5 dolls in the van all playing at the same time.  It is a very fun toy and greatly expands the imagination and play with the Pinypon dolls.


I had a cute arts and crafts hat project to do and show off in the fashion show, and a jewel flower project kit for the kids they could later hang on their wall. But I ran out of time to do both of these projects. I sent the fashion jewel flower project kits home with each of the girls in their goodie bags to complete at home later.


On the door prize table were Pinypon dolls still in the package, and we played a short game with them. I had written a number on the bottom of each Pinypon doll package. The girls were given a number and they had to find the doll with the matching number, and the goodie bag with the matching number.  They were so excited to receive their doll.

At the end of our party, we drew numbers for door prizes.  One winning number, held by a very happy girl, received the Pinypon Caravan.

Another excited girl won the Nenuco Newborn baby doll. 

Plus all the girls went home with their very own Pinypon doll and bags of goodies too.  This was definitely a wonderful party and an adventure to remember.

                    Where To Buy 
                More Information

Pinypon toys are made for girls and boys ages 4 and up.  Their website encourages girls and boys to play with these, and there are several boy doll figures, so it is not just girls.  Not intended for children 3 and under due to lots of small parts presents a choking hazard.  

Pinypon has lots of themes and accessories for their dolls.  There are way to many dolls to mention here, so be sure to check out their website and see the variety and what would work for you to send as gifts for that special girl in your life.  Also, there are some special theme dolls and fun kits too.  Besides fashion theme, there is a travel theme, apartment, shopping mall, hotel, make-up, sweetheart romance, pets, flower bags, mermaids, and more.

Pinypon dolls retail for $4.99 and up.  The Pinypon Caravan and doll set retails for $19.99  Nenuco New Born baby dolls retail for $12.99 and up for different ones. Additional coupons and specials are available on the Pinypon Facebook page.

You can find the Pinypon and Nenuco Famosa products available at Amazon and available at Toys-R-Us and other fine retailers.

Find out more about Pinypon and Nenuco toys at these sites:



Did you know you can contact Pinypon with comments and suggestions and just to say hello?  I plan to send them a few suggestions for their wonderful toy line. We love all the themes they have developed, and the fashion theme they sent us for the party.  We love the ability to change around items with these Pinypon dolls. But I would also love to see more of these great dolls in the future with more special themes.

I would love to ask Pinypon to create a line of boy dolls with boy themes to add to the collection (they have some boy dolls).  I know for sure my boys and many of their friends would love to play with them. They are so fun to take apart and rebuild. My 12 year old and 10 year old sons helped make the Pinypon Adventure movie video we posted in this story, so I know boys like playing with these dolls and the Caravan. The boys would like to know if the arms of the dolls could be posable too. They like to make them do different poses.

Additional themes I think would be successful for boys and girls both would be:
A camping theme with a camper, boat, bonfire, fishing gear, and grill.
A hunting theme with camo, a deer stand, camp out items, and woodland animals.
A castle theme with knights and chariots, a king, queen, princes, and prince.
A doctor, nurse, hospital theme.
A veterinarian theme.
A community helpers theme.
A construction theme.
A family generations theme with grandparents, parents, and children.
A kids/families around the world theme with costumes from different countries.
A school house theme.
and more.

Who knows, maybe Pinypon will like a suggestion and come out with lots more fun doll themes and accessory ideas! We hope so.

       And More…………

This Pinypon Adventure Party was “just for girls”, so we also set up a separate area for boys to have their own adventure building with Legos.  We had 8 boys (5 big boys and 3 little boys) who came along with their sisters to our party.  They had so much fun creating their own projects and learning with our building challenge kits from our Lego and Robotics Academy club.  They worked in two teams to make some awesome creations and shared them with us after the Pinypon Adventure was over. 

My sons enjoyed watching the Pinypon Adventure Party, and they loved helping prepare for the party, decorating, and watching it all “play out”.  They are becoming great hosts as they learn to set up parties for the community through their 4H club, the learning adventures and workshops we have done, and the Mommy Parties I am involved in.  My sons told me they had the best day ever today!  Wow, what a compliment!

We really love playing with Pinypon!  Overall, I think this has been a great Pinypon Adventure!  We have sure enjoyed it!  Thank you MomSelect, Mommy Parties, and Famosa/Pinypon/Nenuco. 

Disclaimer: By publishing this post, I received free products as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. All opinions are my own.

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Hearts For Hearts Party and Clean Water Workshop

Got a minute to lend your ear?  I have got a story to tell you.  I was recently given the opportunity to host a Hearts for Hearts Girls Party.  My objective was to review this product, invite several girls to this party to discuss the Hearts for Hearts Girls doll line, talk about the charity World Vision, and share in some great party fun together. 

The Plan

I commenced to planning the party.  I was sent two dolls, some bracelets, pretend passports, and a list with suggested party games and finger food ideas to host the party with.  But as I put the party plans together, it soon became apparent that boys were interested in this party too. 

I spoke to several girls about coming to a doll party, including my neighbors and my own daughter.  They were thrilled!  Several families I spoke with had both daughters and sons.  The boys were a little jealous that the girls were going to have a party and boys were not invited.  All the children agreed they would like to participate and requested that boys be included as well as girls.  So we expanded the party into a learning workshop.  I sent out invitations by email to all our friends and both girls and boys accepted. 

Then I got really busy gathering up additional materials such as art supplies (permanent markers, stickers, construction paper, scissors, crayons, glue, hot glue, pipe cleaners, recyclable),  a globe of the world, two Green Science Clean Water science kits, extra sand, charcoal, pea gravel, filters, containers, 6 brightly colored 1 gallon buckets, 1 five gallon bucket, 4 gallons of drinking water, four different coloring pages printed back to back, and lots of supplies, plates, cups, rice, lentils, rolling pin, crock pot, electric skillet, etc.  I secured the shelter at the local park to host the party/workshop.  

This party/workshop turned out to be AWESOME!  It lasted four hours and included a meal too.  I am so glad we did this. Check out what these awesome kids did to learn about Hearts for Hearts, World Vision, and Clean Water.

Hearts For Hearts & World Vision Charity Organization

World Vision is a charity organization that does a huge outreach in developing countries around the world. They have many programs like sponsoring a child, micro loans for start up business, building houses and schools, food, medical care, and more.  World Vision also has a program called the Clean Water Project, and puts wells in villages so safe clean water is accessible to everyone.

World Vision has partnered with Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls by Playmate Toys, to reach our youth of today and help them see they can make a positive difference in people’s lives. Hearts for Hearts dolls are beautiful life like dolls fashioned after real girls from various countries around the world. The dolls are dressed in authentic clothing and accessories from their culture.

You can read about the dolls and the real girls stories and diaries on the website  
Currently, there are 8 different dolls available:
            Nahji from India and her language is Hindi
            Zelia from Brazil and her language is Portuguese
            Dell from the USA and her language is English
            Lilian from Belarus and her language is Belarusian
            Tipi from Laos and her language is Lao
            Consuelo from Mexico and her language is Spanish
            Rahel from Ethiopia and her language is Amharic
            Lauryce from New Orleans and her language is Creole.

Each doll also comes with a story book explaining the life of the real little girl the doll was inspired by. Each of these real life girls are doing something amazing to help their community overcome the lack of basic needs like clean water, sanitation, housing, education, poverty, and more, and their inspiring story is in the book.  Each time a doll is purchased, proceeds are sent to World Vision to further the humanitarian projects in the country the doll featured.

There is a lot of great information for kids on the website.  There are some interactive computer games too .

These dolls are a great inspiration for kids and adults.  They are adorable to play with.  They are a beautiful collectors item too.  They would make a wonderful gift to a special child in your life, a classroom, and a sunday school room too.  These would be so nice to have in quiet play areas in offices too, such as a realtor office or dentist office.  It would be awesome to teach cultural awareness classes with these dolls.  I would love to have the whole set as they are very special dolls with a wonderful message of courage and love for the needs of others. 

The Need For Clean Water

Did you know that less than 1% of the entire world’s water water is available for drinking and accessible to people?  1%.  Think about that for a minute.  The other 99% of water is filled with salt, or is frozen, or is deep underground.  Does this amaze you?  It amazed me as I researched this topic.

Wow, less than 1% of the earth’s water is accessible surface water in the form of lakes, rivers, and streams.  All other water is either too salty to use in the ocean, frozen in glaciers, or stored in underground aquifers. Though the USA and many developed countries have access to clean water (because of an abundance of natural and man-made lakes, rivers and streams, and technology to purify polluted water, desalinate salt water and access underground water), the majority of people on the earth do not have easy access.

Many people on earth have to struggle to access clean safe water.  Many go to extreme measures to acquire water.  Some folks walk several hours a day to a location that may have water that is disease carrying, and get a bucket of water and walk back home for several more hours and repeat this every day. The water may be so dirty, that they are often sick with parasites, virus, bacteria, and many die from these conditions. 

If only 1% of the water is available to use, how do people get enough water to drink, bathe, cook, clean, water their animals, water their crops,
and other things we need water for?

Every day at least 3,000 children die from diarrhea as a direct consequence of a lack of safe water source.  What?  You thought children die from a horrific accident, or some invisible mosquito carrying disease?  Well, some do die from these, but the biggest killer of children is a lack of safe drinking water.

As a Christian, this weights heavy on my heart.  Jesus felt it was so important to offer a cup of water in “his name” and refers to this in the scriptures.  Yet, thousands of children and adults are dying because there is no access to a cup of clean water.

Hearts For Hearts Party & Clean Water Workshop

This whole issue of “Clean Water” became the mission of our party / workshop.  We had 16 kids (nine girls, and seven boys), 6 moms, and 2 babies attend.  This was such a great group of kids / families all together.  This was my favorite party / learning workshop I have hosted all year.  I love talking about cultures, geography, and science.

One of the dolls I was sent was Naji from India. She is absolutely beautiful in representing her ethnic and cultural background. We chose to focuss our workshop around this doll and on the need for clean water in rural villages in India.  

First of all, the kids listened to me describe the need for clean, safe, potable water in the world.  Then we compared how they access and use water at home on a daily basis, and how kids in developing countries such as India use water. 

We talked about how they get their water each day in the USA.  We started off by having the kids identify all the ways they acquire and use water each day:
            shower / bathe
            make food
            wash dishes
            wash clothes
            flush toilet
            wash hands
            brush teeth

They also identified other groups in the USA who need water for specific tasks:
            farmers to water crops and water livestock
            producers who make products that use water during the manufacturing process
            farmers to wash produce before selling it to the public or to the stores
            water power plants
            doctors and hospitals need water to clean their instruments and prevent 
            the spread of disease
            cars need water to cool the engine, etc.

Then we talked about how a child in a village in India may have to wake up and walk several miles to fetch a bucket of dirty water to bring back and use for drinking, preparing food, washing dishes, washing clothes, bathing, etc.  She may have to make several trips to get enough water for the day.  It may take her several hours and she might not be able to go to school because she is too busy fetching water for her family’s needs so they can survive.  The water could make her or her family sick with diarrhea and parasites.  But they must have water, so she continues on despite the risk.

Make It Relevant:

Learning is living it! Exploring life with hands on experiences my kids and I can relate too.  I teach in a very hands on way.  I wanted to convey to the kids some aspects of what life is like with difficult to access water resources.  I wanted to make it relevant for them and enrich their learning experience.


We divided the kids into three teams.  Each team was given a bucket and a small dipping cup.  They had to walk a long ways (per the kids) from the picnic shelter to the public bathrooms to get to a location where water was accessibleThis activity represented a child in a village in India walking several miles to fetch water from a local watering hole or stream.


Then they needed a way to collect the water.  There water was available from a small sink.  Their buckets would not fit under the faucet.  They had to use their small cup to fill their buckets with water from the bathroom sink.  It took a long time to gather enough water to fill their buckets.

Then carry the full bucket all the way back to the shelter.  The water was very special and they were given instructions to be very careful not to spill it.  This activity represented a child in an Indian village carrying the water several miles back home to their house in their village for their family to use.


One team was able to make it back with a full bucket, without spilling a drop, and the other two teams spilt just a little along the way.  But over all, all three teams returned with their bucket of water intact.

Science Experiment:


Next, the teams made their bucket of water into a yucky mess with sticks, coffee grounds, dirt, trash, rocks, and hair.  This represented the polluted water that many children must use in developing countries as they have no other resource than the filthy water in the local lake or water hole that animals and people all use.  

We examined a clean water filtration experiment from a Green Science Clean Water kit and learned the various parts of a basic filtering system.  See the picture above: gravel, sand, charcoal, and a filtering membrane (this is a coffee filter, but you could use layers of cloth, cotton, or other materials).

Then the three teams built their own filtering systems to try to clean the polluted water to make it usable again.  Each team was given a pop bottle cut in half, a screen, rubber band, a filter, charcoal, sand, and gravel to create their own water filtration systems.  


They carefully scooped up their polluted water from their supply buckets, carried the polluted water to the table, and slowly poured it into their team’s filtering system.  They were amazed at how each layer of the filter removed debrie and contaminants.

This science experiment helped the kids understand how to remove pollution from contaminated water.  The water would still need to be sanitized before using for human consumption.  If people in developing countries had access to materials to build adequate filtering and sanitizing systems, they can turn bad water into useful water for human needs.

Count The Cost:

Do dig a basic well for a few families, costs about $5000 -$12,000 depending on where in the world it is drilled.

To dig a deeper 900ft well for a village with a storage tank can cost as much as $30,000 or more.

If you would like to know more about how a well is constructed, please see the description on wikipedia about water wells.

Costs to build a water treatment facility can vary widely depending on the extent of the processing systems built and the number of people it will serve.  I researched small facilities with costs of about $3 million dollars, to average size $30 million dollars, to larger facilities costing $300 million dollars and more.  

Coloring Pages:

The kids were given coloring pages that included geography, technology, engineering, and science to further their learning.    I love to further the STEM Initiative with kids(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  These were great coloring pages with an educational message!

One page explained how water is drawn from a lake, filtered, transported, cleaned and sanitized, stored, and then accessible to homes through various piping and sewer systems.  This page comes from a mini book with Thirstin, a small character that teaches kids about water.

Another page explained how underground water is available in a water aquifer, and can be accessed through a well then piped into a home.  This page is also from the Thirstin mini book.

 The next coloring page was a world map with places to label seven continents, by Crayola.

And the final coloring page was a map of India, made by Homeschool Creations.

Giving Banks Craft:

Next the kids decorated giving banks.  The purpose of the giving bank is to help save up their loose change to send to World Vision Clean Water Projects.  Parents were sent a link in an email to know where to send their donations.  

Each child used a container with a screw type lid (such as a peanut butter jar, ovalteen jar, grated parmesan cheese jar, etc.)  This was a good way to recycle these containers.  The kids will be able to reach their hand in to count their savings with the screw type lid and large opening. Counting their savings is a great way to practice math and life skills and help them keep track of their giving goals.


Kids could decorate their banks however they wanted.  We had various art supplies available on the tables.  Some drew scenes and messages on construction paper, then glued it to the jars. 


Others drew right onto their jars.  Many used various different stickers to create their masterpiece.  Some used special scissors to cut shapes of paper. 

Some used a hot glue gun to attach different items such as bottle caps, toilet paper tubes, and jewels, to their jars and make their creations stand out. 

This was a very creative and open time for the kids to express themselves.
We ended up with banks that looked amazing.  Some were decorated to look like water in lakes and rivers. 

Some were animals such as pigs, birds, and dinosaurs.  Some of the creations were very personal for the kids.  One looked like a river and a person was collecting gold from the water.  One looked like a well for a village.  One was a sign with a message about giving to help others. 

Counting Coins:

When the kids were done decorating their banks, I gave each one 25 pennies to get started saving money in their giving bank.  They had fun counting the coins and hearing them drop into their banks.

Fellowship & Meal….and a Cooking Lesson!

After designing our giving banks, we ate a meal together.  I invited all of the moms to bring something to share for our meal.  We had a great selection to fill our plates and stomachs with including sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, chips, dips, and more.


Keeping with a focus on India, I brought dahl, rice, and chapattis to share, and another mom brought raita.  This would make a complete meal in India.  I learned to make these dishes while living in college among students from India.  My best friend was from New Deli, India.  We met at an International Christian Fellowship meeting through a missionary, and we spent five years together doing everything and sharing our lives, and her way of life became a huge influence on me. 



I will post more about the recipes for these dishes, and about my life living among Indian and other international students in future stories.  I will come back and link up the recipes here in case you would like to make these dishes too.  Basically dahl is a mixture of red lentils, sauted onions, spices, and water cooked together.  The rice is a mixture of 1/2 Jasmine rice, and 1/2 Basmatti rice, water, sea salt, and ghee (clarified butter).  The raita is a mixture of plain yogurt, cucumber, herbs, and sea salt.  The chapattis (bread from India) are a mixture of flour, water, milk, sea salt, oil and cooked on a hot skillet.

I brought the dough for the chapattis and taught the kids how to make them.  They loved this!  The kids pinched off a walnut sized piece of dough, roll it into a ball with their hands, then roll it out into a thin circle with a rolling pin.  They learned to turn the dough each time they rolled the pin over it so it would keep a nice circle shape. 


Then they placed their chapatti onto a very hot electric skillet being careful not to get burned
.  It took about two or three minutes, and then they flipped the chapatti like a pancake over to the other side.  The chapatti was done when it got small brown spots on both sides.  It tastes like a tortilla and is kind of a cross between a tortilla and pitta bread.  It is delicious and a lot of fun to make!


The kids also played on the playground, and enjoyed each other’s fellowship playing games and talking together.


More Party Fun:

Each of the children received a pretend passport.


The first page includes a place to draw a picture of themselves, and write down some personal information and what country they are from.

Inside the passport are colorful pages with the eight different dolls listed, their names, country, language, and how to say hello in their language.   Then there is a place to put a stamp or sticker on each page after the children learn to say hello in that language. 

Each kid who attended the party / workshop received a Hearts for Hearts Girls bracelet to remind them of the fun we had together today, but more importantly to remind them of other kids in the world who need clean water and other basic needs and that together we can help make a difference.

We also held a raffle drawing for a door prize.  The winner could have their choice of prizes.  The kids had so much fun picking out their prize. 

All of the kids wished they could have won a clean water science kit and a doll.  I wish I had one of each prize to give to each kid who came today, but that wasn’t possible on my budget.

All of the kids went home with a coupon their families can use to buy a Hearts for Hearts Girls doll at a discount.  These dolls are wonderful to play with and enjoy.  They are very well made, posable, and have authentic clothing and accessories.  Everyone will love playing with them.  These coupons are a great way to buy them for a birthday or holiday gift, or just for fun, at a discount. 

Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls are available at Toys R Us,, and the Hearts for Hearts Girls website.  Keep your eyes open as they will soon be in more stores too.  Proceeds from sales of Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls goes back to World Vision to support various projects to help people with basic needs to better life for all of mankind.  This is a great charitable cause to support and teach your children about.

Please read the World Vision website if you would like to offer support or learn more about the Clean Water Projects.  You can connect with Hearts for Hearts Girls on Facebook and on the Hearts for Hearts website.

Disclaimer:  Special thanks to Hearts for Hearts Girls and Mommy Parties for giving me this review party opportunity. I received the Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls and bracelets mentioned in this story in exchange for hosting this party and writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and also of those who attended the workshop.  

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Giant Soft Dinosaurs

Are your kids in love with dinosaurs?  Mine sure are!

At our house,  Mr. T Rex (Tyrannosaurs Rex) is always on the prowl.  He eats everyone in his path!  No one is safe.

Even if you can fly, and mind your own business up in the trees, Mr. T Rex can pull you down and make a meal of you. 

He loves to eat fingers too.

 This creature tops all the predators in the whole animal kingdom.  BEWARE!

Of course, the choice is up to you.  You can tempt him if you want to at your own risk!

It is quite possible, he may not eat you.  He may eat the grass after he becomes educated about the dangers of eating meat, learns that his cholesterol is too high, and finds his true “inner self” and becomes at peace with his environment and everyone around him, that he might say “goodbye” to his meat eating ways.


Not in my house, if Mr. T Rex smells flesh, fear, or smells life blood beating through your veins… you better run……you better hide…..Mr.T Rex is coming and you are going to loose!  Unless you are Baby’zilla that is.

We just love playing with dinosaurs! And this set of Giant Soft Dinosaurs from Discount School Supply makes the learning adventure even more fun.  They come in a set of 4  and include a Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurs Rex, and Apatosaurus.   They retail for $69.99 and are currently on sale for $54.99 through Discount School Supply.

These dinosaurs are so realistic looking.  You can see and feel the details on their skin, claws, horns, teeth, eyes, nose, and tails.  It is like feeling a real reptile.  They are solid but soft, and they are made of soft foam so they won’t break if dropped and they don’t hurt too bad if you get accidently whacked (or eaten) by them.

We are getting ready to do a Dinosaur Unit Study, and these Giant Soft Dinosaurs are going to be such a great hands on addition to our learning adventure.  But we have been having lots of fun with imaginative play with them too.

Check out this “Dinosaur Destruction” Marble Run the kids created one rainy day.  It rained and rained all day long.  My 12 year old son gathered up a bunch of track, the dinosaurs, and a few cars, trains, and other toys and made a scene of dinosaurs attacking everything as the marble rolls down the track.


And during another fun day we were playing with these dinosaurs and the kids decided to set up a wrestling match between the dinosaurs.  But things really got interesting when the baby crawled into the action.  So we had a showdown with Giant Baby’zilla VS Giant Soft Dinosaurs.  Big brother refereed. Baby’zilla (our baby) won and “smacked down” every dinosaur!

And be sure to read how we used these Giant Soft Dinosaurs in our Dinosaurs In July theme we did for our 4H Legos and Robotics Academy club.


I would recommend these dinosaurs for classrooms, homes, day cares, sunday schools, doctors offices, dentist offices, realtors offices, car dealerships, and anywhere you have a play area set up for kids. They can be used in groups, or individually for quiet time play.  They are a great addition to any learning adventure.

                                Essential School Supplies! 
Discount School Supply has thousands of wonderful learning toys and supplies.  They are a great resource for homeschools, classrooms, day cares, churches, offices, and more.  They also offer free shipping on in-stock orders over $79.  


Disclaimer: I received the product mentioned above for the purpose of writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and or my children’s honest opinion and experiences regarding this product.

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Brilliant Builders Build It Workshop

Oh my goodness!  This is a fun project you just got to try out with your own kids, school, church group, or your club!!!

Building with this set is a fun way to learn about Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology. Plus, it is just FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors from Discount School Supply is a construction set of 705 pieces and comes with blueprint instructions to build 5 completely different projects.  But don’t stop with just 5 projects, the amount of projects you could build with these construction kits is endless.

When I say build a project, I mean BUILD A PROJECT!  These construction sets build projects that are SUPER-SIZED!  Whether you build your project indoors or outside, you will need a large area of floor space to work.

Though it comes in a box, I bought plastic totes to carry my sets in. These totes make it easy to keep track of all my pieces. The boxes were thin and kind of fall apart from the weight of all the construction pieces, and I was sure I would loose some if I didn’t switch them to a sturdy tote.

We have two sets and will be using these in building competitions in some of our upcoming  Lego and Robotics Academy 4H club meetings.  We hold a building competition during our monthly meetings and this will be a wonderful item to add into our learning about math and construction engineering.  I am especially looking forward to learning about load bearing walls and building houses and bridges with these sets as the kids learn about this area of construction engineering.

This summer our 4H club is hosting several Build It Workshops.  Today’s Build It Workshop theme was Brilliant Builders.  How cool, the workshop and the construction set have the same name!  The totes were very handy for the kids to carry, help me load and unload, and to transport our construction sets to the workshop.

At the workshop, we divided the kids into two teams.  Each team had their own table and a large area of floor space to work with.  We laid out their blueprints and construction sets on their table.

They began by discussing a few construction terms, like blueprints, elevations, load-bearing wall, angles, connections, and materials used in various forms of construction (ie. lumber, brick, concrete, stone, nails, glue, glass, and other building projects).   We looked outside and identified various things on different elevations, such as houses, the picnic shelter, the building we were meeting in, the parking area, the playground, and the baseball field.  We discussed how blueprints often have a page for the elevation and foundation, then a page for the structure, and a page for the various other things happening such as plumbing, electrical, windows and doors, finish work etc.  I will be providing a set of blueprints for the children to look at during our next meeting. 

Next the kids looked at their building plans and began separating the connectors that came in the kit.  The first step in building their project required them to count how many of the 8 inch pieces and how many of the connectors were needed to create the foundation of the structure.

Then they started building their foundation.  They had to keep counting as they worked to be sure to get the right amount so their structure would take on the correct size and shape.

There was some freedom in choosing the colors of their project.  The kits come with RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE, and YELLOW pieces.  One team designed a color coded plan for the different levels in their project, and the other team used all of the colors randomly on all of the levels.  Each team forged ahead, connecting, counting, planning, and building.

It was really exciting to see their structures begin to take shape.

Meticulously they added piece after piece creating levels that rose their projects higher and higher into the air.

Taking their time to make sure all the pieces were completely connected was a very important step.   The connections had a counter force from the curve of the structure putting pressure against them.  The connections also had to bear the weight of the new levels added on top. 


After the first four levels were constructed, the kids had to measure and cut smaller pieces according to the building plans.

The blue prints showed various size pieces of whole, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 sizes.  The kids placed their desired piece they wanted to cut on the measuring line, marked the desired length with a pencil, and then cut it with heavy duty scissors.  I brought my poultry shears along for this job.  This is very thick plastic so you want a heavy duty cutting scissors to cut through it without damaging it.

We had all the kids take turns measuring and cutting.

The shorter length pieces gave new dimension to the design.  It created new shapes and brought the curves in tighter.

After building for a while the kids took a break, got something to drink, and played on the swings outside for a bit.  Then it was back to building some more.  For fun, the kids measured how high their structure was. 

Their 4 levels came to 25 and 1/2 inches. That is progress!

Just 6 more levels to go and a few fun additions to create the details of the structure. Can you guess what they are building?


The local parks and recreation workers stopped in to see what we were building today.  They are very supportive of our 4H club and our projects.  I just love it when the guys stop and chat with the kids for a few minutes.  Having adults show interest in what they are learning is a real encouragement for the kids.

My oldest son, age 12, put a lot of thought into building this sculpture.  He planned out the color scheme.  He cut parts to length and counted out what his teamates needed to continue connecting all the pieces.

The next two levels of rings were larger than the first six rings.  These stuck out past the whole structure.

Each step requires thought and concentration.

The top of our structures were much more challenging than the bottom. Fitting pieces of various sizes together was a big challenge. For each level of rings, the circles got smaller and smaller by connecting long pieces with shorter pieces.

As we approached the finish line, the kids got very silly.


Finally, after two and a 1/2 hours, time was up, and it was complete.  Well, at least one was complete.  We ran out of time to completely finish the second structure.  We decided to call it quits at that point.  It was hot in the building (no airconditioning), and the kids were all hungry and ready to call it a day.

The kids were very happy with their structures.  This was a SUPER SIZED FUN project to build.  The finished structure was a little over 6 feet tall. 

This Build It Workshop helped further the STEM initiative with these kids.  They are learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  In addition to learning during the workshop, each child will receive a packet of learning materials to take home, with lesson plans, science, math, art, and more to further what they have learned today.  Be sure to check out our other stories from our 4H Lego and Robotics Academy and 4H Build It Workshops to learn more. 

These rocket ships took 2 1/2 hours to build, but only took a few minutes to take down and put away.  Though the connections are strong, when you release a few of the lower connections, the structure easily comes down.  It looked like a tornado had hit.  In construction terms, this makes it easy to understand how a tall building can crumble when you damage or remove some of the supports in the walls; the weight of the building causes it to collapse.

The kids loved this part.  If it didn’t take so long to build, they would want to repeat the take down part again and again.


Our Brilliant Builder Straws and Connectors kits came with plans to build this rocket ship, a mansion house, the Golden Gate Bridge, a hot air balloon,  and the Eiffel Tower.  You can find directions to build several more projects with these construction sets on the Roylco (manufacturer) website.


The Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors 705 piece kit retails for $42.99 and is on sale for $38.92    The Brilliant Builders Straws and Connectors 230 piece kit retails for $16.99 and is on sale for $13.99   Both are available from Discount School Supply.  

Discount School Supply also has thousands of other products ready to meet your homeschool needs. Check out – Save Up to 70% Off Retail Every Day! Click Here!  Be sure to stop in at Discount School Supply and find out all the amazing products they have to offer.  Another great deal is that they offer free shipping on in-stock orders of $79 or more. They have a wonderful customer service department to help answer your questions too.

The Brilliant Builders Straw and Connectors construction sets are designed for children ages 4 and up.  But this is fun for kids of all ages and adults too.  This product will be fun for familys and groups to play with.  But even more fun to add into math, engineering, and science learning, use in unit studies, and creative art projects too. 

We loved building with this construction set and we are looking forward to using it again and again. In addition to our 4H Club meetings and workshops, our kids will be constructing with this set in our homeschool too.  I definately recommend this product for your home and your school!

Disclaimer:  I received the product mentioned above in exchange for writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my honest opinion.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time

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Chunky Link-A-Shape

The Chunky Link-A-Shape learning toy is a wonderful addition to our tot-school and pre-school activities.  It is a part of our daily routine for the past few weeks now.  My kids just love building with it.

It is easy to add it to our workboxes for fun learning exploration, counting, sorting, and creative play.

This learning toy is from Discount School Supply.  They are a leader in supplying teachers, homeschools, sunday schools, preschools, daycares, and more with wonderful learning toys, classroom supplies, curriculum, classroom furniture and more.  I have been using their online store for the past six years or so and I love all the amazing products they have to offer. 

The Chunky Link-A-Shape has many great qualities:

  • Colorful foam shapes have a printed surface on one side and a smooth surface on the other side, and provide both a visual and tactile experience.
  • Interesting and unique shapes for the very young child.
  • The foam pieces are soft and flexible.
  • Helps develop eye-hand coordination and fine and gross motor skills.
  • Great for learning sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Ages 2 years and up.  Kids of various ages will have fun playing with these.
  • For boys and girls.
  • Largest foam piece measures 4″L, smallest foam piece measures 3″D
  • 32 pieces
  • 4 colors and 4 patterns to encourage play.
  • Easy to stack or link together.
  • Use as an early learning math manipulatives set for counting, sorting, and making patterns.
  • Ideal for imaginative play.
  • Fits conveniently into workboxes, baskets, buckets, activity bags, or storage bins.
  • Safe for independent play.
  • Ideal for a quiet time activity.
  • Hands on learning.
  • Great for constructive or architectural play.

Here my son is sorting and matching shapes and colors.   He is also practicing counting sets of twos.  1 + 1 = 2.    Information for mom, there are 4 different shapes in 4 different colors, and 2 of each shape in each color.  4 x 4 x 2 = 32 exciting pieces to play with.

Here my 3 and 5 year old’s are sharing pieces and making sculptures.  My daughter wanted all the pink pieces, and my son was not going to give up any of his pieces he built his tower with, not even the pink ones.

Here is a tree sculpture made with two colors, brown for the tree trunk and tree roots, and yellow-green for the branches and leaves.

Corral reef structure.

By far, his favorite game to play with them at this time is to line them on their ends like dominos and starting at one end, knock one over and they fall in slow motion and each one knocks the next one down and so on.  He gets such a kick out of watching them fall.  He will line them up over and over and do it again and again.

Big brothers wanted to do the domino effect too.  It was hard for little brother and sister to share this fun toy with the others, but they did.  All six of my children have spent time playing with the Chunky Link-A-Shape learning toy and enjoy it.  I savor the quiet time while they are keeping busy!

I know the product says it is for ages two and up. But the baby expressed interest in holding the puzzle shapes too.  They are sturdy but soft and he enjoyed the texture and feel of them.  He was very excited to get to play with them too.

We will be taking this toy with us in our quiet activity bag when we leave the house.  Being made out of foam, it doesn’t make a sound, yet it is so interesting and fun to play with.  This is a keeper!

I made a video of the kids playing with the Chunky Link-A-Shape one afternoon.  My three year old son had fallen on the driveway and bumped his forehead.  I didn’t want him to go outside and run for a couple of days while his “bump” was healing. 

This toy came to the rescue!  It provided a safe, but fun and creative activity for him to build with and stay entertained.  Thank you Chunky Link-A-Shape for taking his mind off of not getting to go outside for a few days.  I would definitely recommend having this toy on hand for those times in life when your little one has to stay indoors due to an injury or illness.

Our Opinion (based on a 5 star rating):


Quality: 5 Stars
Very well made with quality materials.

Price: 5 Stars

Ease Of Use: 5 Stars
Very easy to use in various settings.

Adaptable: 5 Stars
Easy to adapt to various skill levels.

Faith Based: 5 Stars
It is nuetral and can be incorporated into faith based activities if desired.

The Chunky Link-A-Shape is on sale for $18.95 at Discount School Supply.  This would make a great gift, a useful learning toy for your school room, and a fun addition to your playroom too.  I would also recommend this product for Dentist offices, Dr. offices, libraries, realtor offices, grandma and grandpa’s house, and anywhere quiet play is needed to keep kids quiet, but entertained.

Discount School Supply offers free delivery on in-stock orders that total $79 or more.  That’s a great deal.  Click on the link below to find lots more great deals at Discount School Supply!


Disclaimer:  I received the product mentioned above in exchange for my honest opinion.  All views expressed are the honest opinions of myself and my family.

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Scruble Cube

Have you heard of the Scruble Cube?

It is a handheld spelling and puzzle game that is very challenging!

My oldest son is eleven, and though he is great with puzzles, he is not a strong speller.  We are looking forward to this game helping him improve his spelling skills.

It is a great homeschool product to encourage spelling, math, logic, and language skills.   
From their website “Scruble Cube’s activities will sharpen student’s minds and their creativity. Our lesson Plans are aligned with Common Core Standards.”   Scruble offers free lesson plans for download at

Scruble Cube has also won several awards.


I’ll be honest, upon first glance, this product can be a bit intimidating.    It is a cube and is covered in 96  letters and movable squares. 

Because of how we are taught to read words, organize letters, and organize information, the letters make no sense at first and it takes your brain some getting use to how it looks with what seems to be random letters.

One helpful way to think of this game is that it has some of the features of the game of Scrabble, but a big difference is the Scruble Cube is holding your tiles and your game board all in the palm of your hand. 



The goal is to move your letters around the cube to spell a word.  Each of the letters are assigned points, and each time a word covers more than one face of the cube, you earn additional bonus points.

The game also comes with a scoring tablet and an hour glass timer.  You can time yourself or compete against time, or teams, and improve your skills.

Before attempting anything, we thrurough reviewed all the product instructions and the getting started guide.   First practiced spelling a simple four letter word (milk) on two faces, learning how to move, or arrange, the tiles. 

Scruble states that if you can spell a three letter word, you can play this game, however it is recommended for ages 8 and older.

Skill areas reinforced using the Scruble Cube (as stated on their website):

Academic Skills
Mathematics Trial & Error
Vowel Awareness
Word Building with Rimes
Math Facts
Research Skills
Mechanical Skills
Vocabulary Development

Life Skills
Team Work
Problem Solving Skills
Listening Skills
Oral Communications
Strategic Thinking
Higher Level Thinking

This game is fun and addicting.  We plan to get dad in on the action soon too.  He loves logic and puzzles as much as our son does, and these two can challenge each other in some fun games with the Scruble Cube.

Scruble Cube is available at Toys R Us, Meijer, Barnes and Noble and  Scruble Cube.  It retails for $ 24.95   This would make a great gift for Christmas, birthdays, and teacher/coach appreciation, as well as a great addition to your classroom or homeschool. 



I strive to write honest product reviews that help enrich homeschooling and family life. 
I also serve on the 2011-2012 TOS Crew for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. 

I was sent this product for free from Scruble Cube, in exchange for offering an honest review. 

If you would like to read other TOS Crew member reviews of the Scruble Cube  and many more great educational products, please click on the photo link here.


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Robots and Birthdays

My oldest son turned 11 this past week.   It seems like just yesterday that he was a newborn baby in my arms.  My whole life has centered around him and his siblings every since the day I first laid eyes on this baby boy eleven years ago.

He loves everything about robots and space.   For his birthday, we bought him a telescope and the Lego Master Builder Academy (MBA) kits.  One of the kits discusses the process of building robots, and one of the kits in the series builds space ships.  The Lego MBA is being shipped and will be here in a few days.  Lego only started shipping this new product in June, and though we pre-ordered it before his birthday, we knew it would not arrive in time.  He also was going to go out of town to Indiana to visit a cousin graduating high school.   So we plan to have a birthday party for him next week, and enjoy his be-lated gifts.  We are also planning to take him to a science museum to learn more about robots in space next weekend.    

Another exciting development is starting a lego club with several local homeschool boys and girls who all plan to go through the MBA kits too.  My son is excited about this new adventure, and the fun will last for the entire upcoming year as we study these subjects with the club.  You can read stories about the Lego and Robotics Academy 4H Club posted on this website.  We will also do a space unit study and a robot unit study to enhance what he is learning.

A while back, I had gotten him a STRUXX  Robotics building kit.  It builds 4 different robotic models.  He looked it over one afternoon, chose the model he wanted to build, and started to build it.  But about 30 minutes into the process of sorting his pieces and becoming familiar with the building manual, he quit.  That was just not like him at all.  He is normally very patient and loves to learn new and complicated things.  But on this day, he was frustrated and set it aside for several months.  I guess it was more challenge than he was up to at the time.  He first thought one of the key parts was missing, and after searching for it for a half-hour or so, he lost heart and he just gave up.

This week, for his birthday, he pulled it out again and built the entire 625+ piece robot in just under 6 hours.  Its main components of the structure are the long rods and small ball and socket joints that make up the whole body.  The actual motor comes pre-assembled, so it is just a matter of attaching it.  There is a pulley system to be attached also, which the motor moves to operate the movement of the head.  There is also a control center to be attached on the head which sends a remote signal to the motor to turn the head and controls a pre-recorded growl of a dinosaur and other sound effects, and controls the eyes lighting up.

Once he broke it down into manageable sections (head, tail, legs and feet, hands, body), he made quick progress of the building kit.

This is a wonderful product for following a sequence of steps to get a desired outcome.  It was also great for eye hand coordination, matching and recognition of pieces, logic, and reading.   I love providing him with hands on opportunities like this.  Kits like this are great for making learning fun.

He had to follow the blue prints in the manual exactly to build each component.

As he completed one set of steps, he would set that section aside and begin the next set of steps.  His confidence grew with each section he completed.

He set his own goal with this, and wanted to complete it before Dad got home from work.  I never imagined he would do this project all in one day.

After he built the different body parts, he joined them together.  He was thrilled when it was time to put the head on this monster.

But this part took more strength and was more awkward than he had planned.  As you hold it up, it has to snap into the ball and socket joints exactly.  The head was slightly complicated to attache, and he felt some pressure to get it right, as it is what the robotics operate and must be correctly matched up.

Next came the process of hooking up the robotic components to the dinosaur structure.  You can see how serious he was in learning how this mechanism worked and hooking it up correctly to the structure and to the pulley system that operates the movements.

“Be afraid, be very afraid.”  This is a monster! 
It can growl, turn its head, chomp its teeth, and its eyes light up to be very scary.

Thankfully, Daddy got home just in time to save us all from being eaten by this ferocious monster T-Rex. 

Dad was very proud of our son’s accomplishment too.  Our boy is really growing up.

Happy 11th birthday little man.  You did a great job building this robotic dinosaur and I can’t wait to see what you will build next.  You are a great helper, you are smart, and handsome too.  Most importantly, you love Jesus.   Daddy and I are very proud of the wonderful young man you are.  We love you.

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