Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day with our Sneaky Snacky Word Search!

Ever since the creation of our award-winning Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game®, the folks here at Educational Insights have been a little nutty over squirrels. Can you blame us? Squirrels are cool, crafty, and super cute – and while we appreciate squirrels every day, Squirrel Appreciation Day is a big deal around here. To celebrate, we’ve crafted a super cool squirrel themed word search just for you. There are 12 sneaky snacky hidden words, can you find them all?

Happy hunting, Squirrel-Friends!

[ Click here to download Sneaky Snacky Word Search in PDF format ]

January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day!

0121_squirrel-day-blog

Nuts, you say?

Seriously, according to the National Wildlife Federation, Squirrel Appreciation Day was founded by Christy Hargrove, a North Carolina wildlife rehabilitator, in 2001. It is observed annually on January, 21st.

Here are some fun facts about these clever creatures:

  1. More than 200 different species (kinds) of squirrels live around the world.
  2. From nose to tail, the tiny African pygmy squirrel is 5 inches long – about the size of a post card. The 3-foot long Indian giant squirrel is the size of a 3-year-old child!
  3. Talk about tiny, a newborn squirrel is about an inch long – the size of a paperclip. It’s also born blind and fur-less.
  4. Squirrels have 4 front teeth that never stop growing! Constant gnawing on hard-shelled nuts and acorns is tough on teeth.
  5. Squirrels are omnivores. That’s a fancy word meaning they eat plants and animals, from nuts and seeds to bugs and baby birds.
  6. Squirrels are tricky! They will dig a hole and pretend to bury food to prevent other squirrels and birds from finding their real stash.
  7. If a squirrel flicks its tail at you, it means “go away!” A squirrel uses its tail to communicate. Its tail also helps a squirrel balance on trees and telephone poles and makes a furry blanket in winter.
  8. In addition to being “tail talkers,” squirrels also chatter to each other with clicks and clucks and warn each other of danger with a whistling call.
  9. A better name for flying squirrels would be gliding Flaps of skin connecting their arms and legs to their bodies make a wing-like surface that helps them to coast through the air from tree to tree.
  10. Ground squirrels “kiss” when they see each other. Touching their noses together in greeting.

As charming as they may seem, squirrels do not make good pets, and it’s never a good idea to get too close to a wild animal.

Preschoolers can get an up-close and SAFE look at squirrels with our GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars.

Older kiddos will love viewing squirrel antics through our GeoSafari® Compass Binoculars or Nancy B’s Science Club® Binoculars and Wildlife Activity Journal.

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Make 2017 the Year of the Great Outdoors!

Whether you live in the snow, sleet, or California sunshine, our brand-new line of scientific tools and toys will help your kiddo explore, study, and learn about the nature that’s all around you. Kick the year off right with new outdoor exploration products from Educational Insights, like our:

prod5093_3_lg

GeoSafari® Jr. Bug Vac ‘N’ View – Your kiddo can catch and study incredible insects – without even touching them! Simply switch on the gentle suction to capture a creature – the air holes will keep them safe until you’re ready to release and 4x magnification shows every detail up close!

Critter Habitat

GeoSafari® Jr. Critter Habitat – If your kiddo captured a keeper with the Bug Vac ‘N’ View, they can store and study it safely in the Critter Habitat! Perfect for examining bugs, frogs, fish, rocks leaves, flowers, and more, this critter-friendly container supports dry and wet habitats and even features a unique, rotating feeder.

walkie-talkies

GeoSafari® Jr. Walkie Talkies – Keep track of your junior explorer with this set of two Walkie Talkies with no slip rubber grips, speakerphone feature, and built in sound effects! With a 300+ foot range, these are a great way to keep in touch, indoors and out!

prod5202_2_lg

GeoSafari® SeaScope® – Land, ho! Magnify underwater finds with this 5x scientific scope featuring a built-in LED that helps kids investigate sea life, from sea stars to kelp beds, without getting wet!

Visit Pinterest <link> to see our all of our new ways to play, learn, and get silly in 2017!

Brand New Year, Brand New Ways to Play!

Make 2017 the year of play with our brand-new line of play packed with possibilities, perfect for preschoolers. We’ve got smart toys, co-operative games, and real working scientific tools designed specifically little ones that support key developmental milestones while they play. Check out a few of our favorites, below:

 

wiggle

Wiggle Waggle Whiskers™ – You and your little one will take turns building fences to claim backyard space for your four-legged friends in this preschool strategy game for two, based on the classic game Dots and Boxes. Ages 4-7.

PlayfoamGO

Playfoam® Go! – Now your kiddo can get creative on the go! This set of squishy, squashy, Playfoam comes in a clear carrying case complete with built-in shape molds and color compartments. Perfect for the car, plane, waiting room, restaurant, Playfoam never dries out and won’t stick to carpet or clothing. Ages 3-6.

DD Robot

Design & Drill® Robot – Engineer an afternoon of fun with this DIY building set! First, kids assemble and decorate their own robot; then, they play! Features snap-together pieces, a kid-friendly screwdriver, and colorful bolts, and more. Ages 3-6.

Zoo Crew

Zoo Crew Puppet-on-a-Stick® – Little imaginations run wild with these adorable, zoo-themed Puppets-on-Sticks, perfect for pretend play, puppet shows, and more! Set includes a monkey, lion, giraffe, and elephant with movable mouths. Ages 3-6.

Visit our Pinterest board  to see our all of our new ways to play, learn, and get silly in 2017!

 

Catalog Crazy

f your mailbox is like mine, it’s been clogged with holiday catalogs and mailers since Halloween. Instead of being bummed about the waste, regard it as a bounty of colorful craft materials!

first

Holiday catalogs are a cool, free resource for creative ways to enjoy some learning fun, especially during that LONG school break. Once you’ve flipped through them, try these ways to recycle them.

Super Story Starters

super-story-starters

Fuel your kiddos’ creativity and communication skills with stimulating story starter cards.

You’ll Need

  • Catalogs
  • Index cards
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Encourage children to find interesting images of people, animals, places, and situations to cut out and glue onto the index cards. Let the cards dry and, if necessary, set them under some heavy books overnight to flatten.

Time to Play

  1. Stack the cards face down. Have someone draw a card to start the story telling. Take turns drawing cards and adding to the story.
  2. As the story is being told, line up the cards in chronological order so that everyone can remember the sequence of events.
  3. Foster language development by modeling rich vocabulary and descriptive language that appeals to the five senses. (Once upon a time, there was a man with a fantastic power. He could fly like a bird. One day, he zoomed up into the sky. There were puffy, white clouds all around him…)

TIP: For younger or more inexperienced story tellers, choose just a few cards, arrange them face up, and use them as inspiration for a cooperative story.

Psst…They’re Learning        

As kids play with the cards, they’ll sharpen their sequencing skills and their understanding of cause and effect, build their listening and speaking skills, and share thoughts and feelings.

Picture This!

picture-this

Promote children’s drawing with simple finish-the-picture prompts.

You’ll Need:

  • Plain white paper
  • Catalogs
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

Cut out small to medium-sized, action-oriented pictures from catalogs. Mount one picture on each sheet of paper, making sure there is plenty of room for your child to add to the picture. Provide drawing materials and invite your child to add details to finish the picture. Children might also want to add a title or caption to their drawings.

TIP: Vary your placement of the pictures (middle, bottom, corner) so that your child has a different spatial challenge each time.

Psst…They’re Learning

As children draw, they are exercising the fine-motor skills needed for handwriting.

Awesome Alphabet Books

alphabet-book

Bring the alphabet to life with personalized alphabet books that kids create themselves.

You’ll Need

  • Catalogs
  • Paper
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons

Staple paper together so that you have a 26-page book plus cover. Write, or have children write, each letter in its uppercase and lowercase form. Then have them search through catalogs to find pictures that begin with each letter and glue them on the appropriate pages. One or two letters a session is plenty for early learners!

Psst…They’re Learning

As kids create and use their books, they are establishing letter-sound relationships, a critical pre-reading skill.

Custom Collages

custom-collage

Inspire imagination with collages based on your child’s passions.

You’ll Need

  • Catalogs
  • Card stock or manila folder
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Cut the card stock into a shape such as a heart, a picture frame, or even your child’s initials. Encourage your child to cut out small pictures of items that he or she likes such as: foods, objects, colors, sports, places, animals, anything that has meaning to them. Then have them glue them – mosaic-style – on the shape.

TIP: Younger children will find it easier to glue their pictures on a simple rectangular piece of paper.

Psst…They’re Learning

As kids create their collages, they are building self-esteem and developing spatial reasoning skills.

“I Spy” Games

i-spy-games

Cuddle up with a catalog to play this familiar game!

Choose a catalog with lots of pictures on each spread. Describe a picture without naming it. Clues might include: color, shape, size, sound it makes, function, and so on: “I spy something blue. It has two wheels and a horn.” To make the game challenging, give clues that might apply to several objects at first. Take turns being detective, giving your child the opportunity to describe a secret object.

Psst…They’re Learning

As kids play these games, they increase their listening comprehension and expressive language skills and hone their observation abilities.

Paper Chains

paper-chains

Hang colorful paper chains from walls, ceilings, even on the tree for fast, simple, holiday decorating.

You’ll Need

  • Catalogs
  • Scissors
  • Tape, small hand-held stapler, glue stick

Cut rectangular strips about an inch wide from catalogs. Tape, staple, or glue the ends of the paper strip together to form a loop or ring. Thread another strip of paper through the center of the first ring and secure with tape, stapes, etc. Keep adding links until the chain is the desired length.

TIP: Alternate the catalog rings with solid-colored construction paper rings to create patterns.

Psst…They’re Learning

As children create paper chains, they are building fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination as well as creating and completing patterns, an important beginning math skill.

Wonderful Weaving

paper-weaving

Transform holiday staples, from cards to placemats, with whimsical weaving.

You’ll need:     

  • Paper (construction paper or card stock)
  • Strips of paper (1/2” to 1”) cut from catalog pages
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue

Time to Weave

  1. Create a “loom” on the back of your sheet of paper. (You will need to prepare the loom for young children.)
  2. Mark two horizontal lines a half-inch from the top and a half-inch from the bottom of your sheet.
  3. Then mark vertical lines between the two. The vertical lines should be the same distance apart as the width of the paper strips.
  4. Cut along the vertical lines with a scissor or craft knife, leaving the half-inch border at top and bottom intact.
  5. Have your child start at the first slit, weaving a catalog strip under and over until they have gone all the way across.
  6. Start the next row of weaving with the strip of paper beginning over and under.
  7. Continue alternating starting position of each strip until you have reached the bottom of the loom.

To turn your child’s work into a greeting card or wall art, make a paper or cardboard frame for it. This hides the edges and reduces the amount of finishing required. To do this, cut a shape from the middle of a piece of card, and place it over the woven paper, so the weaving shows through the hole. The frame doesn’t have to be rectangular, and you can mount the woven piece at any angle – experiment to find an effect you like.

Psst…They’re Learning

As children weave, they exercise fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

STILL HAVE SOME CATALOGS LEFT?

Here are two quick ways to use them up:

  • Shred pages to create perfect packing material for shipping gifts to loved ones.
  • Wrap small gift boxes or tape several pages together for “patchwork” wrapping paper.