Something Fun For Summer Smarties

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Prep your kids for school with our FREE, weekly summer worksheets! With plenty of learning to last all summer, we’ll work on shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and so much more. Start the school year right, with a little help from EI! And, if your kiddo loves these pages, check out our complete line of Hot Dots Jr. card sets for an interactive way to encourage little learners.

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Worksheet 1: Short Vowel + Soft C and Soft G — Download here

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Worksheet 2: Long Vowels + Long Vowel Words — Download here

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Worksheet 3: Beginning Consonants — Download here

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Worksheet 4: Practice Digraphs & Long Vowel Phrases — Download here

Toys (and Games!) to Make Your Kids’ Summers Sizzle

Nothing makes summer sizzle like brand new toys and games and we’ve got the hottest lot around! We’ve hand-picked a few of our faves to help your family turn lazy summer days dinto unforgettable adventures.

Toys for Little Kids

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Kids can collect all kinds of critters in the GeoSafari® Jr. Critter Habitat! This watertight, wet/dry habitat features a locking lid with air holes, rotating feeder, and magnification spots to study finds up close. Better here than in your purse, right?

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Your Pete the Cat® loving preschooler will go bonkers for the Pete the Cat® Playfoam® Set! Including 8 fun colors of squishy, squashy Playfoam, a Pete the Cat mold, a skateboard with rolling wheels, cardboard accessories and a Pete the Cat playset backdrop, it’s arts and crafts meets pretend play with maximum fun, minimum mess (Playfoam won’t stick to carpet or clothing).

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Take a moment to rest your eyes as your preschooler assembles and decorates his very own Design & Drill® Robot – all. by. himself. Kids snap on the arms, use the included kid-friendly screwdriver to attach multicolored bolts, decorate with stickers, then… play! Unscrew the bolts and remove the parts and start all over again.

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Replace recess with Magic Moves® and keep kids active all summer! With 90 fun, physical commands, 26 musical tunes, and flashing lights, Magic Moves gets kids up off the couch (or the floor or under the table or who knows where) and moving.

Toys for Big Kids

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Curious kids can take a closer look at nature with the GeoSafari® Handy Microscope. This portable, easy-to-use scope features 40x magnification, built-in collection vial, and belt clip. Good for hours of outdoor investigation (cut to you, reading a mag on the patio).

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Take advantage of the summer sun to power the GeoSafari® Solar Rover! Kids use their hands to block the sun and control a real solar vehicle. Set includes cones for obstacle course challenges.

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While the summer days away with the Nancy B’s Science Club™ Binoculars & Wildlife Activity Journal! These sturdy binocs come with 4x magnification for up close views of nature and a 22-page activity journal is packed with writing, drawing, and science activities. If she loves it, there’s a full line of Nancy B’s Science Club tools and activities to keep her engaged all summer!

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When the sun goes down, the fun comes up, with the GeoSafari® Night Explorer. Check out nighttime nature and discover nocturnal creatures in the dark using this red-light flashlight perfect for secret summer missions.

Toys to Take on Vacation

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Keep little kids busy in the car, on the plane, or on the train with Kanoodle® Jr., a perfectly portable, solo-play, puzzle game. All pieces fit easily into the case and with 60 kid-friendly puzzles to complete, hands – and minds – will be occupied. (Older kids might appreciate their own, pocket-sized Kanoodle, Kanoodle Genius, or Kanoodle Extreme.)

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Outdoor explorers can stay in touch with each other – and with you – with the GeoSafari® Jr. Walkie Talkies! With a range of 300 feet/90 meters, this set of 2 speakerphone-style units is perfect for communicating on camping trips, hikes, and backyard bonanzas.

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Unplug your next road trip with Travel Blurt!® This handy, portable version of best-selling Blurt includes 450 definition clues and a magnetic scoreboard perfect for tracking your family’s boisterously bellowed guesses.

Fun for the Whole Family

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Ready? Set? SMASH! Players choose a challenge card, set up their trajectory, then launch their balls in to the target to win Smash Pong!™ Perfect for filling those after-dinner hours, family barbecues, and more.

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Make this the summer of the stars with a GeoSafari® Omega Refractor Telescope! This powerful, 700 mm refractor scope includes 30x, 60x, 120x, and 200x magnifications so you can explore the universe with one eye tied behind your back.

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Ride the tide to big time summer fun with Surfside Scramble™ Word Game! Players race to line up their letter flops to make as many words as they can, scoring points for the longest word or most words; paddle in last and get wiped out!

Proud to Be Your Parent – Dad Style!

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Last month we featured some of the dedicated moms from our EI team, who shared why it’s such an honor to parent their children. It’s only fair that we turn the tables and feature a few of the EI dads, just in time for Father’s Day!

Read on for some fun parenting tips, tricks, and insights from Product Managers James Tu and Brent Geppert, eCommerce Marketing Strategist Steven Kim, VP of Sales Scott McCabe, and even our illustrious Chairman, Rick Woldenberg.

Rick Woldenberg – Chairman
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Father to three adult children, Stephen, Ben, and Elana, as well as to two teams of employees at Educational Insights and its parent company, Learning Resources, Rick has always put family first. He’s thrilled that his son Stephen will join the company full time after finishing business school, marking four generations in the family business, but wishes more than anything that his children find happiness and satisfaction in whatever they pursue. He advises new parents to appreciate their families and to never, ever ration hugs! Our leader feels blessed to have a great family with strong values and a sense of direction. We feel very lucky to work and learn with someone like Rick!

Scott McCabe – VP of Sales
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Although the time he spends away from Connor, age 17, and Kyle, age 14, when he’s presenting EI’s newest toys and games to retailers across the country is tough on Scott, his work enables him to give his boys experiences that he hopes will show them the amazing things they can accomplish in life. The boys (and their friends) thought Scott’s toy sample room was pretty cool when they were younger, but now that they’re teens they wish Scott worked for Apple or Xbox. Scott’s best parenting advice is to teach your kids how to find the answers they need on their own, so maybe he can teach them how to find jobs at their dream companies!

Steven Kim – eCommerce Marketing Strategist
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There’s an old saying about parenting – “The days are long but the years are short.” Steven, dad to Kaitlyn, 3, and Elizabeth, 8 months, agrees. Adjusting to new experiences, sorting through endless parenting advice, and losing time to himself is all worth it, though, when Steven sees his girls learn something new or overcome a barrier on their own. From rolling over to roller skating, watching his girls grow is a constant joy. Steven knows firsthand how fast the years go by, and advises new parents to cherish every moment of every day.

James Tu – Product Manager
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Although James wishes there were more hours in the day so that he could spend more time with his daughter Maya, age 5, and son Elliott, age 3, he says his kids love that he works in toy design. James likes that his kids know that their toys are designed by real people and hopes that they’ll be inspired to create things for other people, potentially affecting the world they live in, too. All of his hard work is rewarded when he gets an unexpected hug or kiss or sees that “Aha!” moment when he’s teaching them something new.

Brent Geppert – Product Manager
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Although he sometimes has trouble remembering their names (just kidding), Brent is truly grateful to be a part of his sons Evan, age 13, and Kyle, age 11, lives. He works tirelessly to adjust his parenting to their evolving stages of life, but watching his boys develop their own interests and abilities, excel in sports and school, and become their own people makes it all worthwhile. Plus, his boys are the only ones who truly appreciate Brent’s awesome breakfast burritos.

 

Together Time Gardening

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The sun is shining, the birds are chirping – it’s time to get out in the garden again! Gardening’s not just good for your soul – it’s good for your kids’ souls, too. Kids can help water, weed, plant, and harvest and spending time together, outside, is therapeutic and oh-so healthy! Gardening also teaches things like patience, nurturing, and responsibility. This year, include your kiddos in the fun with the simple together-time gardening ideas below:

Butterfly Blossoms
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Itty bitties love insects! Encourage your kids’ love of gardening by planting flowers that attract beautiful butterflies to your yard. Butterflies love to munch on nectar-rich plants like wildflowers and choose to lay their eggs on plants like dill, fennel, and milkweed. The plants butterflies love vary from region to region – a quick online search will tell you what to plant. No matter what you choose, be sure to avoid pesticides and to plant in a sheltered area that will hide caterpillars and butterflies from predators. A water feature or even small puddles will attract butterflies to your garden – they get thirsty, too! Visit your plants every day, checking for butterflies laying eggs, caterpillars, and cocoons. If you’re very lucky, you might even catch a fresh butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

Worm Hunt
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Another note on the creepy crawlies – worms! Worms are squiggly, wiggly, and wonderful. They help our plants root and thrive, they recycle food scraps into compost, and, best of all, most kids love them. Take some time out of your gardening duties to host an earthworm hunt! They love dark, damp places, so check under rocks and logs, turning the dry top layer of soil carefully with a small shovel. Hold them and admire them, then place them back in the damp soil, covering them with a layer of top soil so they don’t dry out.

Hanging Garden
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If you’re short on backyard space or just looking for a fun, self-contained project, try a vertical bottle garden! Start by cutting a rectangle of plastic out of one side of a clean, empty soda bottle. Punch a small hole on the same side as the opening, near the base of the bottle, and a few small holes on the underside, opposite the rectangular opening. Then, with the cap on, place a shallow layer of gravel or pebbles, followed by a layer of soil. Plant anything from small, leafy veggies to herbs and hang, stringing twine from the hole on one end and just below the cap on the other. Pick a sunny spot and watch your vertical garden grow!

Garden Labels
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Add a touch of arts and crafts to your outdoor gardening fun with handmade labels! Your kids can write each plant’s name in marker on a craft stick or collect small rocks and paint the name of the plant – and a picture of the final product – on the rocks. Let your kids place the labels in the appropriate spots, helping them learn what’s what in the garden.

Hydroponics
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Gardening doesn’t have to take place outside and it doesn’t even have to require dirt! Teach your kids about the amazing properties of hydroponics with a kit like the GeoSafari® Hydroponics Kit. Hydroponics involves the growing of plants in water, which provides a crystal clear, magnified view of the entire root structure. Keep your rooted plants in the kitchen or near another light source and check on their growth daily.

For more fun ideas about gardening with your kids, visit our Pinterest page (don’t forget to follow us!). Do your kids garden with you? What’s their favorite part? Let us know in the comments below.