Use 3D Puzzles to Teach About Real World Locations

3D puzzles offer many different kinds of benefits to both children and adults. They will find that these puzzles offer educational, mental, and physical benefits to their lives. Children can learn much about their world by putting together a three dimensional puzzle. They can learn the basic structure of animals, transportation machines, and even landmarks and buildings. Discover how you can use 3D puzzles to teach about real world locations, improve brain function, and more!

3D Puzzle

3D Puzzles Cement Classroom Learning

Geography is a subject most children learn in school. Every student learns history. Both of those subjects have ties with landmarks and buildings. For instance, when a child is learning about Rome in the classroom it can be very beneficial to put together a 3D puzzle of the Coliseum. As the put together the structure, they will reinforce what they learned in the classroom about Roman architecture. If the puzzle is to scale, they will begin to understand how many people the structure could fit inside and therefore how important Gladiators were to Roman culture. As the puzzle is being put together, consider discussing the life of the Gladiators, who benefited, why people enjoyed this entertainment, and so on. In short, 3D puzzles are a hands on way to cement what a child learns during lecture and also helps to enhance the logic building centers in the brain.

3D Puzzles Enhance Logic Centers in the Brain

3D puzzles will challenge a person’s ability to solve problems in a greater way then a 2D puzzle can. A 3D puzzle deals with more space, more dimensions, and is therefore more complicated. Therefore, doing a 3D puzzle helps anyone who does them by increasing the logic centers of the brain. The problem solving skills are challenged and strengthened. Plus, these puzzles aid in increasing concentration and therefore help people learn how to think things through beyond the puzzle.

3D Puzzles Increase Other Skills

Putting a puzzle together is a rather complicated process that requires many skills. As we’ve already mentioned, puzzles help to stimulate the logic centers of the brain. Problem solving skills are improved, as is the ability for an individual to concentrate. Furthermore, people who do puzzles benefit from refining their fine motor skills. Putting a puzzle together requires some rather dexterous hand and finger movements. In the same vein, hand-eye coordination may be improved in both children and seniors that do 3D puzzles. In fact, there is some evidence to support that doing puzzles can help to stimulate the mind and may improve the memory in senior citizens.

Check Out Some Great Puzzles!

Check out some great puzzles! We really like 3D puzzles that help to engage our brains around real-world locations such as:

  • The Earth Puzzleball by Ravensburger 3D. How much real-world can you get than the globe? Putting together this puzzle is sure to help improve your geography skills.
  • Put together the Brooklyn Bridge when you’re in a New York state of mind, or perhaps the entire NYC skyline.
  • Connect with a US monument as you put together the Mount Rushmore 3-D Sculpture Puzzle by Milton Bradley.

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Four Meals For Under $10

These days we have to be budget conscious. We all work to scrimp and save. We pinch our pennies in one area so that we can splurge or relax in another. Fiscal responsibility is important. This is why it is important to have some recipes for budget meals up our sleeves. Try these four meals for under $10 and you will save money while feeling rich with flavor.

Meals For Under $10

1. Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Roast chicken with potatoes and butternut squash is an easy dinner, that is it is easy on your wallet easy to make and easy to eat. In fact, we think that this is a cheap meal that is perfect for when you have guests over. This simple supper is $1.62 per serving and includes items you probably already have in your pantry including, garlic, dried sage, red potatoes and butter. Purchase a butternut squash and a roasting chicken and you are good to go! Round out the meal with a salad and maybe some rolls or serve as-is.

2. Turkey Sausage Ragu Over Creamy Polenta

If you are looking for something a little different, or perhaps a gluten-free meal, look no further. This turkey sausage Ragu over creamy polenta recipe will help to shake up your weeknight meal routine. Plus, it is made up of several items you probably have in your pantry such as marinara sauce and polenta. If you don’t usually keep polenta in stock, it is rather inexpensive to buy. If the fresh herbs that this recipe calls for are too expensive this week, it is totally ok to substitute dried or freeze dried herbs in for the fresh stuff. Also, we like to add frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained to this recipe alongside the marinara sauce—it adds a nice and inexpensive nutritional punch.

3. Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce

This pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce recipe is so decadent that you’d never figure that it only costs $2.45 per serving. You’ll save even more if you find the tenderloin or mushrooms on sale. Plus, you probably have many of the other recipe ingredients on hand such as salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, chicken broth, and perhaps even crème fraiche or sour cream. We recommend serving this dish with a side of grits or rice to help soak up the yummy mushroom sauce.

4. Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles

Save yourself money and nutrition by making your own versions of take out food you love. For instance, instead of ordering in Chinese food, try making this Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles recipe instead. It can technically be made with any long noodle such as rice sticks or linguine—although Chinese egg noodles cannot truly ever be replaced due to their texture and flavor. We’d suggest that if you limit omit the chili paste to cut down on the heat in the dish, to add a little bit of fresh or ground ginger. Also, sesame seeds always make a great addition to any stir fry.

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Four Fun Crafts You Can Do With Construction Paper

Kids and adults alike love crafting. In fact, crafting together can be a wonderful bonding activity. Set aside some time one afternoon this week and help your child strengthen their hand-eye coordination skills as well as their finger dexterity by working on one of these fun crafts. Plus, all of these craft ideas make great decorations or toys. Discover four fun crafts you can do with construction paper with the special child in your life today! Learn how to make swirly flowers, paper blocks, and more!

Swirly Paper Flowers

These Swirly Paper Flowers are a great craft to do with children, plus the final product is beautiful. This is an especially fun project to do right after reading Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, which is a great story and was a winner of the American Book Award. The flowers you make look a lot like the flowers, the lupines, in the story. It is also a great project to do in the spring to herald in the upcoming new flowers. Of course, a bouquet of these flowers would make a wonderful centerpiece to keep the gloom of winter at bay too, so make this craft whenever the mood strikes.

Construction Paper and Glue Chalkboards

Chalkboard paint is all the rage these days. Yet sometimes, finding something to paint on, getting your table set up for messy paint, and so forth, can be quite the production. Instead, try making these little chalkboards out of construction paper and glue. It is a great little craft to do because it is practical and inexpensive. Once your chalkboards are complete, sit down with your child and help them practice their letters and numbers. These little chalkboards are also great to help your child play with and learn math.

Paper crafts

Construction Paper Cubes

If you have a future engineer, architects, artist, carpenter, or a kid who simply loves to build things, try making these construction paper cubes. This is a very creative project that helps kids learn how three dimensional objects are made from two dimensional objects. Furthermore, it is a very flexible project that you can customize with a little bit of math. Make several cubes and then build something with those cubes. Allow the cube you make to be the base for a paper sculpture. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this project.

Paper Doll Chains

Paper doll chains are a great way to help your child decorate their room You can simply make the dolls with construction paper and tape them up on the wall. However, you can get really creative with these dolls. These dolls can be turned into their favorite fictional character, soldiers, police men, princesses, aliens, and/or whatever else your child wants them to be. Furthermore, you can have your kids make the dolls look like each other, their friends, or other family members. Change the template around a little bit and you can make paper chains that look like cats, dogs, trees, or anything else you can come up with. This is a great and simple project that allows for a lot of creativity.

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Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

The first eighteen years of your child’s life can be some of the hardest, though we are mostly referring to the school days ahead. Almost every child will experience disciplinary problems at school whether they have started the problem, or are simply the innocent victim. Getting to the bottom of these disciplinary problems is very important, especially if you want them to succeed in life. That said, let’s talk a bit about potential problems and how you can address them both at home, and at school.

Getting to the Bottom of It

Something very important for you to understand is that children do not often cause problems at school simply for the sake of it. Normally there is an underlying problem, something that needs to be addressed, and eventually be sorted out. If your child is having disciplinary problems, sit down with them, talk to them, and try to get their side of the story. As they say, in any situation there are three sides to the story: yours, theirs, and the truth. The same applies to your child. The last thing you want, is for your child to believe you are not on their side, making an enemy of them is never advised.

Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

Speak with the Teachers

There is nothing worse than being absent from your child’s education, and to avoid this it is strongly recommended that you touch based with their teachers regularly. Find out how your child is doing, what can be improved upon, and most importantly, what you can do at home.

Reinforce Punishments at Home

This might seem harsh, and it can be exhausting, but one of the best things you can do for your child is implement a ‘trouble at school, trouble at home’ policy. With this policy you will enforce the idea that school is something to be taken seriously, and that you fully support the actions of those placed in authority.

Investigate

Finally, make sure that you DO in fact support the disciplinary action being handed down by the school. Talk to your child, investigate the actions, and of course make sure that it is something you can live with. If it is not, you need to say something, speak with other parents, and try to make improvements. You do have power as a parent – never forget that.

Schooling is an important part of a child’s life, and disciplinary actions are something that will help to shape their behavior in the future. Keep a close eye on the situation at all times, and make sure that you have a decent grasp on what is happening in their day to day life, even if they don’t always realize you’re looking quite that closely.

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A Quick Guide to Toothpick Crafts

Any parent of a child under the age of 8 understands the prevalence of toothpicks in their day to day life. It's amusing, really, how these tiny craft sticks wind up everywhere – under couch cushions, in air vents, behind the refrigerator. They're an unquestionable staple for any little crafter, that's for sure. As a parent, you'll want to have access to a toothpick craft guide, so to speak, that you can reference whenever you need to entertain during craft time.

Pairs Well with Food...

Lacking in the adhesive department – no glue or tape lying around? Spring for food. Toothpicks make everything more fun, and food as at the top of that list. Make a house out of marshmallows, or gumdrops for a great learning experiences (depending on the age, skill level and intensity of the exercise), and will keep children occupied for a while. At its simplest, you can entertain a young child for hours creating 1 or 2 dimensional shapes. In a more complex way, you can introduce older children to facets of engineering and encourage them to strategically create their own free standing structures.

Toothpick Crafts

Great for Fine Motor Development

Your child will think it's all fun and games, but you'll have the quiet understanding that they're working hard on their pincher grasp. Take any object that's puncturable (styrofoam, or a rice crispy treat works great), and show them how to create a porcupine by pressing the toothpicks down into the center.

Helpful When Studying Chemistry

Most middle schoolers are all too familiar with just how boring chemistry can be. It's true – certain molecules look a certain way and have a certain name, and that's important! A fun way to help your kids learn these scientific facts? Use grapes and toothpicks to have them create the shapes of each molecule, and pair with a notecard of facts to memorize all the while. Create a matching activity where you pair your notecards with your toothpick molecules the night before a big test! 

Fun When Implementing in Art

Did you know that you can “paint” with a toothpick? It's actually different than painting with a brush; rather, you'll use your toothpick to pull paint off a page, leaving a trace white line in its wake. It's a different kind of painting that most every child enjoys, and it only takes a few toothpicks to create a really cool painting!

Lesson learned? If you've got toothpicks on hand, your opportunities for arts, crafts and entertainment are nearly endless.

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Four Vegetarian Meals your Family will Love

One of the greatest misconceptions in cooking, at least at home, is that you cannot cook a good meal without using meat. If you are trying to cut the meat out, then learning to make vegetarian meals is definitely a must, but what happens when your family loves meat and you absolutely need to convince them that vegetarian meals are the better way? Don’t worry, there are several vegetarian dishes that are just as good as a fresh ground hamburger or a juicy steam, and we are going to cover four of them.

Veggie Burgers

Vegetarian Pizza

Pizza is a staple of the food world, and no one can argue that. The best part about it, other than the fact that it can be absolutely delicious, is that it doesn’t cost very much to make. Other than mixing some ingredients in a bowl and hoping for the best, a pizza really is one of the best ways to get all of the vitamins and nutrients you need in one item.

A vegetarian pizza can consist of any number of items. If you know how to cook a pizza, then you’re already halfway there. Most of the ingredients you need can be obtained at your local grocery store, from the frozen crust, to the marinara sauce, the cheese, and even the vegetables. The best part about a pizza, even a vegetarian pizza, is that you can make it either very simple, or very complex. You can even make your own crust if you don’t fancy using a frozen one. It doesn’t matter who you are or what type of family you have, pizza is always a people pleaser.

Chili

Honestly, when isn’t chili a great meal idea? It is great any time of the year, though especially in the cold winter months. This is another food however that suffers under the misconception that it absolutely must contain meat in order to be worth anything. Such an assumption is not only insulting to the chili dish itself, but also robs you of a number of different culinary opportunities.

Making a vegetarian chili simply involves using various ingredients, such as canned black beans, bell peppers, tomato sauce, or chili powder (or all of them ) in lieu of meat. It’s all in how you flavor it! In addition to that, you can use white beans if you wish to create a white chili. Don’t forget the cheese and sour cream; you’re going to need it!

Quesadillas

These are always a popular treat in Mexican restaurants, but they can be just as fun made at home. They only use a few basic ingredients which include:

  • Flour Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Vegetables
  • Spread

The spread, of course, can be virtually anything you want, and once you have made your quesadilla you can either cook it on the stove or in a press, depending upon what you happen to have on hand. Remember to keep the cheese away from the edges of the tortillas as it could drip while you are cooking. Also remember that you can make your quesadillas either entirely with cheese, or you can go so far as to add vegetables, bell peppers, or anything you want, so long as you leave the meat out of it.

Veggie Burgers

Let’s be honest, this is what you came here for. Who doesn’t love a nice, juicy hamburger without the ham? We know we do! Veggie burgers can be made from a number o different items including:

  • Black Beans
  • White Beans
  • Potatoes

This is a very short list, and you must understand that they can be made from any vegetable that can be mashed up. Something to note however, is that you must use a binder such as egg whites, breadcrumbs, or farina. While you might bind them properly, they are a bit more delicate than the real thing, so be very careful when you are cooking them.

These are only a few of the meal ideas that you can use to treat your family to the best of the vegetarian world. Explore more recipes and get your family ready for an entirely new culinary life!

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Preventing Lice in Children’s Hair

The school year is in full swing, and almost halfway over. Chances are, your kids have brought home everything from happy crafts and loads of homework to germs and sickness. Hopefully you haven't been faced with an outbreak of lice; if you have, you know just how big of a pain it can be. Lice are miserable. The itching and scratching is incessant and inconsolable until they're dead and gone; trust us, if you haven't dealt with it, you'll want to take every precaution in preventing it. Here's what you'll need to do to prevent lice in your child's hair.

Preventing Lice in Children's Hair

Discourage Sharing

It may sound like the complete opposite of what you're trying to teach your child, but it's vital to the health of her head without lice. Lice are transferred by contact, so keeping your child's personal space separate from the rest of her class is key. Label her belongings, specifically clothes, coats, hats, and hair accessories, and teach her that she's never to share them without speaking first with an adult; nor is she to take someone else's stuff. Have a talk with her teacher and ask her to prevent the children from sharing these items (she likely will already).

Keep it All Clean

Lice are simply microscopic bugs that are attracted to dirt and oil and live life laying eggs in their “dens”. For that reason, lice are more prominent in places where dirt and grime run rampant (think inner city slums). You better believe that lice are more likely to find a home in an unclean toboggan rather than a clean one, and once they lay their eggs, they spread like wildfire. For that reason, make a habit of washing clothes, hats, gloves, scarves regularly, and keeping your home clean.

Mayonnaise Will Do the Trick

If you've seen your child scratching a bit, but you're not convinced that lice is the culprit, take an extra precaution before you dismiss it all together: cover her head in mayonnaise. In extreme cases where head lice has become a major problem, mayonnaise may not do the trick (you'll want to spring for a chemical applicant like Rit), but mayo is perfect for the beginnings of an outbreak. Mayonnaise is thick, it's heavy, and it will suffocate the life out of each louse that's trying to take up residence and lay eggs in the hair. Allow the mayonnaise to set for an hour before rinsing it out and then gently combing through with a very fine comb to pull out any nits (egg sacks) and lice carcasses.

Cut it Short

If you're still pretty paranoid about your child contracting lice, keep their hair short. Long hair touches more, so it's much more likely to come away with an infestation than, say, shoulder length hair on a girl, or buzzed hair for a boy. It's extreme, but eliminating a lice “den” all together will definitely do the trick.

Take the proactive steps necessary to prevent your child from being a victim of a dreaded lice infestation. They will thank you (and you will thank yourself) in the long run.

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Play Versus Work – What’s the Right Balance?

When it comes to parenting and loving our families in the right way, striking a balance is usually necessary: grace and discipline, play and work – extremes in either category are usually not productive. Who's to know what's right? While every parent, child and family are different, there are a few general guidelines that will help you in deciding what's the right balance for your family.

Play Versus Work – What's the Right Balance?

What Age are You Dealing With?

The first thing you need to realize when you're considering what's appropriate for your circumstance is that what's appropriate now won't be three years from now. As children grow and develop, they naturally are able to take on more responsibility. Sometimes responsibility is thrust on to them a little earlier than feels right, so that's when you need to use your judgement.

With that being said – how old is your child, and what “work” are they dealing with? Homework is one you've likely faced, or will face very soon: teachers send it home and kids fight it. Nowadays, it starts as early as kindergarten; it piles on year after year, and by the time the child is in fifth grade, he's come to dread the after school hours because it simply means more school.

Some things to bear in mind: studies show that homework doesn't increase any chance of post-secondary schooling success when it's completed up through fifth grade. If we're being honest, the most important thing for kids in the elementary years is reading and playing outside. Sure, if homework is implemented, it's important from a character building standpoint to have it done correctly. Consistent assignments for young ones, though? Too much work, not enough play. Your child will walk away from the experience with an extreme distaste for responsibility, and that's not what you want.

Do You Practice What You Preach?

The kids are going to naturally follow your example, so you need to set a healthy one. Do you complain about work? Do they even see you working? Do you work too much? All of these things should be considered. A workaholic may find that their child puts too much pressure on themselves; a lazy man may find that their child complains about work. Look in the mirror and understand that your child's habits are often a reflection on you. If you want to see your child work hard  without complaining and play hard without a care, you need to do those things as well.

Always Err on the Side of Grace

At the end of the day, no one is perfect. There are going to be times where you simply don't know what to do: your third grader's teacher has sent home one hundred math problems for the third night in a row, and you can see it in his eyes that he's about to dig his heels in and shut down to the whole concept of homework. What's worse? You agree with him, not the teacher: it's just too much for a child. Know that when you feel this way, it's okay to go with your gut and would actually be a great lesson learned for both your child and his teacher. Advocating for him and showing him grace is something that he needs to see early on, more than he needs to do that third homework sheet. It'll prove that you're on his side, and it will validate his feelings more than simply making him do the work. It'll also give you the opportunity to show him the correct way to address a problem, as you bring it up to his teacher. If there's ever a question – show grace.

As we stated before, there's no hard and fast rule about finding the perfect balance. It's mostly just about making an assessment based on age and situation, practicing what you preach, and then going with your gut.

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Dealing with Teething In Infants

Infants around the age of 6 months will begin teething, where the first set of teeth (primary teeth) start making their way through the gums. This can be a painful and irritating process and may result in your infant being more fussy than usual. The bottom teeth will usually come in before the top teeth and you may notice that your child starts reacting and showing symptoms a week or so before the tooth actually comes through the gum.

What To Watch For

There are a few things to watch for if your child is in the teething process. For starters, your infant will start chewing on fingers and even toys or furniture items to help push the tooth through. You may also notice that your child is resistant to chewing foods, as their mouths hurt. With this in mind, you will want to give your child soft and cool foods to help ease the discomfort.

Drooling is very common while your infant is teething, and you may notice that your child’s skin gets irritated or a rash may develop on their face or chin. This is completely normal. Yet, if you believe that your infant has severe symptoms or your baby does not get better, you will want to call your doctor immediately.

Dealing with Teething In Infants

What Can You Do To Help Your Baby During the Teething Process?

Get Suitable Chewing Toys

Having the right toys for your baby to chew on is essential. There are so many things on the market from teething rings to toys that you put in the freezer that they can chew on and more. The amount of toys on the market is endless and you want to make sure that they are FDA approved and your baby is not at risk for choking or at risk for any other injuries.

Medication

There are a few pain relievers that you can give to your baby if the symptoms are unbearable, yet you want to be sure that the medication you get is suitable for your child’s age. Make sure that you don’t give your baby aspirin!

Don’t use Oragel or any Numbing Gel

Some parents believe that numbing the gums is the best thing to do for their baby, as it will provide instant relief for your child and therefore will save you from a few hours of fuss. However, the FDA warns against using this trick as numbing can make it more difficult for your baby to swallow and therefore puts them at risk. While there are oragel and numbing gels on the market for infants, be very cautious using these sorts of medications to help your baby with the teething process.

Here are some tips and tricks to dealing with a teething infant. Having the teething toys truly is essential. And, while they may be expensive, it is totally worth the money when your baby is less fussy and happier. Be sure to look at the labels if you are going to give your child medication and be cautious of using any sort of gel.

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Use Community Events to Occupy Your Children

Many communities host a variety of events for the children that reside in the town or city. Yet, there seems to be a lot of resistance to attending these events in many communities and their is no common reason or explanation. Some towns go above and beyond and host events that both the children and the parents enjoy, however these are usually the tight knit smaller communities that enjoy spending time with each other. Here are a few reasons as to why you should use the community events to occupy your children and to get involved with your community.

Community Events Are Usually Not expensive

Most community events are free, so it will not cost you anything to attend the meeting. However, some events do cost some money. Like, if there is a community dinner, it may be a few dollars a plate. Yet, the money is going to good use as there is usually not any profit from these (they are only charging you the cost of the food) or if there is profit it is going towards something the community wants or needs.

Going to Community Events Will Help to Socialize your Children

For some children that are homeschooled or for your children that do attend traditional school, attending community events will help to get your child socialized with his or her peers. This will help your child to build stronger bonds and relationships with those in his or her age group.

Use Community Events to Occupy Your Children

Gets You Involved in The Community

Most families end up being so busy with their day-to-day activities that they never really venture out and get active within their communities. Yes, sure they will say hi to a neighbor here or there, or go for a walk down the street and wave to the people they see, but they never really participate in the community itself. Going to community events will allow you to become part of the community, while also teaching your children what it means to live within a community and how to get involved. For example, most communities have a clean up day for earth day where everyone is involved and they go around the town or city and pick up the trash and possibly plant trees. If you participate in these community events, you will be able to visit the tree you planted or build memories within your community that you will have forever.

Community events are great for children of all ages. Whether you are just trying to get your child out of the house and off the computer or away from his or her video games, being active within the community and attending community events will give your child a social life that will help to keep them active. Check out your local communities events calendar and if you are interested in a specific event or you would like to take part, reach out to the organizer and find out how you can plan or organize the event-- they are always looking for volunteers!

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