Your Baby’s a Big Kid! Major Milestones for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

Your child is transforming into a self-sufficient person with a distinct personality and an amazing intellect. In fact, most eight-year-olds can perform basic multiplication and division! Read on for some more major milestones you can expect to see over these first few years of school. (Important caveat: every child is unique.  If your kiddo is behind on any of the milestones in our infographic, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong —he or she simply may be developing at a different rate!)

Your Sensitive and Silly Six-Year-Old

Transitioning from Kindergarten to first grade is a major step in a child’s life and kids learn a lot this year,like how to count up to 120 and down from 20! Independence is blossoming, but those sweet sixesstill need encouragement from you! Check out our infographic for some key developmental milestones you might expect your little one to achieve this year.

Your Sensitive and Silly Six-Year-Old

Transitioning from Kindergarten to first grade is a major step in a child’s life and kids learn a lot this year, like how to count up to 120 and down from 20! Independence is blossoming, but those sweet sixes still need encouragement from you! Check out our infographic  for some key developmental milestones you might expect your little one to achieve this year.

Your Skill-Sharpening 7-Year-Old

With coordination and motor skills catching up to growing bodies, second graders are fine-tuning their movements and may become more interested in athletics. As their individual learning styles become more defined, so will their preferences for specific subjects at school. No matter their favorite subject, most students are able to do some mental math and solve simple word problems by the end of this year! Find out what else you can expect from your sporty seven-year-old on our infographic!

Your Awesomely-Independent 8-Year-Old

Eight-year-olds’ athletic and academic abilities have advanced by leaps and bounds—they can even do basic multiplication and division! Their emotional intelligence becomes more pronounced as they better understand both themselves and others. They also begin to prefer spending time with friends over hanging out with their parents (sorry, Mom and Dad!). Find out what else you can expect this year on our infographic.

Major Milestones for 6- to 8-Year-Olds Milestones for 6 to 8

The Sweet Smell of Success: A Sneak-Peek Into the Making of Our Award-Winning Flower Power Studio!


It’s Jessie here, Design Manager at EI.  I wear many hats at my job, but what I look forward to most is helping design our award-winning toys. And since I became a mom just last year, I take special pride in creating toys that my daughter will soon enjoy.

Our Design & Drill® line has always been a favorite among preschoolers and their parents. Last year, we decided to create a version designed specifically to appeal to little girls.We wanted to go beyond a simple color change, to create a toy with “girl appeal” through and through.blogimage-1

Brent Geppert, our Design & Drill Product Manager, had created a sculpture of a flower-shaped drill bit that I absolutely loved.  In fact, I was so inspired by that one little bit that I ended up creating a complete, flower-themed version of the toy!

Flower shaped drill bit

First, I turned the traditionally-square Design & Drill base into a flower shape with a large center and enough holes to drill beautiful patterns. Keeping the design symmetrical was important, so that the toy could fold into a handy storage and carrying case. An adorable butterfly clasp seemed like the perfect closure.

Flower shaped base

Everyone loved the design, but I knew we could do more to make this the perfect construction-meets-creativity toy for girls. The team thought about how we could push the design further by adding jewels or stickers… but nothing felt quite special enough.  We eventually landed on creating “designer plates” that could be drilled into the board, and I went to work illustrating six shapes that would add the perfect touch to any girl’s creation.


Once we were sure we’d maxed out our flower power potential, we sent 2D designs to our factory so they could create 3D files and renderings. Brent and I reviewed them and made lots of tiny changes until everything was perfect.


The first sample we see from our factory is called a “hand sample” and it’s always exciting to receive! Brent and I tested all the parts and pieces of the hand-made Flower Power Studio sample, made some final changes, and gave the factory the go-ahead to make a “first shot”. We use our “first shots” to review colors, textures, finish, and functionality of our toys before they go into production.


Once Flower Power Studio went into production, I started work on the packaging, directing the photo shoot (it didn’t take much direction—our models loved the toy!) and designing all of the artwork.Flower Power Studio

Of all the toys I’ve worked on, Design & Drill Flower Power Studio is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a great example of the excellent results that happen when a creative product developer, Brent, and a passionate designer, me!, put their heads together. When it won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award and was featured on TV and in magazines everywhere, Brent and I gave each other a high-five and said “that’s OUR Flower Power Studio!”

Check out the final product!


Make Your OWN Magnet!

Considered the father of electromagnetism, British scientist  Michael Faraday furthered the field of magnetism by leaps and bounds. Although his math skills were barely at the algebraic level, his understanding of electromagnetism and electrochemistry led to big-time scientific breakthroughs in the early 1800’s. Oh, did we mention that he moonlighted as a chemist, discovering Benzene and inventing the Bunsen burner, among other amazing accomplishments?


You can perform Faraday’s famous induction experiment at home with your kids, and introduce them to the magic of magnets and the amazing mysteries that can be solved by scientific exploration. It’s easiest than you might think:so go on, give it a try….

First, ask your kids if they think there’s a way to make a non-magnetic object, like a nail, magnetic.

Next, gather the following supplies:

  • 1 Iron nail – roughly 3″ long
  • 3’ Thin coated copper wire
  • New D battery
  • Needle-nosed pliers or wire stripper
  • Tape
  • Several paper clips or other metal objects

Photo Courtesy

Now, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Leaving about 5″loose at the starting end, wrap the wire around the nail, being careful not to overlap anywhere.
  2. Leaving 8″ loose at the other end of the nail,cut the wire.
  3. Use a wire stripper to peel back the plastic coating from both ends of the wire (many needle-nose pliers have a built-in wire stripper). You’ll only need to peel off about an inch of plastic from the wire – just enough to expose it and enable it to make contact with the ends of the battery.
  4. Tape one end of the wire to one end of your battery and the other end to the other end of the battery. Be careful – the battery can get hot!
  5. Point your nail toward the pile of paper clips – it should pick them up!

Picking up paperclips
Photo Courtesy

Amazing, right? Here’s how it works:

Most magnets are permanent, meaning they are always magnetic (think about the ones on your fridge). This is because of the way their molecules are arranged. Electromagnets, however, are only magnetic when electricity, like what you provided with your battery, is flowing. When electricity is attached to a non-magnetic metal object, the molecules in the object are rearranged so that they are attracted to other metals—in other words, they become magnetic—until the electrical supply is cut off. For this reason, it’s extremely important to keep the wires of an electromagnet away from any electrical outlets.

Congratulations—you just made an electromagnet! Michael Faraday would be proud.



Celebrate STEM-tember with Nancy B.! 5 Fun – and FREE! – At-Home Science Activities

Nancy B At-Home Science Experiments

Hi There!

Nancy B. here, of Nancy B.’s Science Club™, with some fun ways to help your family celebrate STEM-tember. I hope you enjoy these hands-on experiments and activities and that your kids are inspired to seek out even more scientific adventures.

Please let me know what you’ve learned in the comments section below – I can’t wait to hear the results of your scientific explorations!

Nancy B.

  1.  Egg-citing! Get kids egg-cited about science, and explore the concepts of molecules and air pressure with this amazing, at-home egg-speriment!

YouTube / EducationalInsights – via Iframely

  1. Bubbling Lava – In a Bottle! Learn about chemical reactions and carbon dioxide with this bubbly twist on a classic experiment! And if your kids enjoy this cool chemistry activity, they’ll blow their tops for the Nancy B’s Science Club™Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab & Kitchen Experiments Journal.

Download PDF– Pages 16-17 from Kitchen Chemistry JournalBubblingLavainaBottle_Page_1BubblingLavainaBottle_Page_2

  1. Color Changing Coolness!Be a chemist for a day, and discover the colorful differences between acids, bases, and neutrals with this fun at-home experiment.

YouTube / EducationalInsights – via Iframely

  1. Fall Fun! Adopt a tree, learn why leaves change colors, and study the various ways seeds spread with this fun autumn activity! If your little ones go bonkers for botany, try the Nancy B’s Science Club™ Nature Keeper &Tree Diary!

Download – Page 17-18 of Nature Press Journal

  1. Salt Water Surprise! Have some fun with this floating egg experiment, and learn how objects float differently in fresh- and saltwater.

YouTube / EducationalInsights – via Iframely

If you enjoyed these activities, you’ll love the Nancy B’s Science Club™! Check out my full line of scientific tools and activity journals including my MoonScope™, Microscope, AquaScope™, Stir-It-Up Chemistry Lab, and more, today! Happy STEM-tember!

5 MORE STEM-inistsYou Should Know, But Probably Don’t!

In researching women who have made significant contributions to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, we found too many to fit in one blog! Below, enjoy part two of our STEM-inist series, highlighting five more historic and modern-day women we should all know about.

  1. Mary Anning(1799-1847)
    This famous female dinosaur hunter began her career in paleontology at age 11, when she recovered the bones of the first known Ichthyosaurus! Mary didn’t have much formal schooling, but she did manage to teach herself enough anatomy, geology, and scientific illustration to become one of the most renowned paleontologists of her time. If your tween digs dinosaurs, check out Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon, the story of Mary’s life and work, then chip away at one of our Dino Digs.

 Mary Anning
Mary Anning, photo courtesy of wordpress

  1. Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)
    Bombs away! One of the world’s first movie stars, Heddy was more than an on-screen bombshell. She and a co-inventor developed a technology that allowed the Navy to control torpedoes from afar! Although the Navy declined to use her patented spread-spectrum technology, it made an only-in-the-movies comeback many years later. Lamarr’s technology was used in secure military communications for many years and is still used in modern day wireless technology like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

 Hedy Lamarr
Hedy  Lamarr, photo courtesy of MGM

  1. Linda Cureton (1959-Present)
    3, 2, 1… Blast off! From 2009 until 2013, Linda was the Chief Information Officer at NASA. She was in charge of all of the technology enabling NASA engineers to work… on earth and in space! In addition to providing leadership and advising some of the most brilliant scientific minds of our time, Linda, a fan of social media and prolific blogger, also launched the NASA CIO blog. Before NASA, Linda served as the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the Deputy Assistant Director at the Office of Science and Technology, where her work helped to reduce violent crime, among other things.

 Linda Cureton
Linda Cureton, photo courtesy of

  1. Ada Lovelace (1816-1852)
    Although she died before the first computer came into existence, mathematician and writer Ada is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer. Working with Charles Babbage on his “Analytical Engine,” Ada furthered his numeric concept by suggesting that computers could be used for far more than just number-crunching—they could be used to compose music, work in words, or compute just about any process based on logical symbols.We honor her every year on 10/13—Ada Lovelace Day!

 Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace, photo courtesy of  Science Photo Library

  1. Olive Dennis (1885-1957)
    Do you ride the rails? If so, you can thank Olive for keeping you comfortable! A civil engineer with an undergraduate degree from Cornell (the second woman to achieve this degree) and master’s degrees in math and astronomy from Columbia University, Olive eventually became the engineer of service for B&O Railroad. There, she designed creature comforts including passenger-controlled windows, air conditioning in the train cars, dimmed lighting, reclining seats, and other features that still allow train passengers to travel in style today.

Olive Dennis
Olive Dennis, photo courtesy of  Goucher College

Do you have a favorite STEM-inist? Share her name in the comments below!