How To Create A Positive Learning Environment with Lakeshore Learning!
This post was created in partnership with Lakeshore Learning! Though I received compensation in the form of the educational products mentioned below, all thoughts are enthusiastically and unequivocally mine. Thank you so much for supporting the brands who help LMS thrive!
I'm not sure when it happened, but pretty early on, I gravitated toward reading and history, and actively avoided science and math. With the former, there were allowances for differences of opinion or discussion; the latter, however, seemed so rigid and exacting. Looking back, I wish I'd been more open to the beauty of those subjects, rather than being intimidated by their differences.
Now that I have my own children, I'm determined to encourage their love of learning all subjects because it's a great big world out there, and I don't want to impose my limitations on them. We definitely try to foster this environment year-round, but longer summer days allow us to spend more time together, thus creating more opportunities to engage. Without the hustle and bustle of the school year, our little family has more time swimming, hiking, playing at the park, and, yes, learning about science and math (and avoiding the dreaded Summer Learning Loss).
One of the ways we're able to make education fun is by using toys and games from Lakeshore Learning to keep our kids excited and inspired. My husband and I were already fans and customers of the company, so when we were offered the opportunity to select several items for the kids, we jumped at the chance! The hardest part was narrowing down our favorites to three, but with a bit of time, we made our choices: Mold & Play Sensory Sand, Create-A-Chain Reaction STEM Kit, and the Truth or Myth? Science Kit. Each selection perfectly suits our kids' interests and needs, and I'm so glad to share a bit of each with you today! My hope—especially if you're someone who is intimidated by STEM subjects like me!—is that by sharing our family's experiences, you'll feel more comfortable jumping onto the Summer Learning train with your kids and discovering more about the world right alongside them. Your efforts will be rewarded, I promise! Research shows encouraging early skills in STEM provides kids with the support they need for future educational pursuits.
Just about every year since we've been married, we've made our way to a beach. It's one of our favorite places to spend time together, relax, and enjoy each other's company. Since moving to Denver, however, we haven't been able to resume our annual tradition; instead, we were able to bring a bit of the beach to the kids!
I was skeptical at first, but this sand perfectly mimics the look and feel of actual wet sand, making it perfect for making sandcastles, animals and just about any other creation. The set comes with 2.2 lbs. of kinetic sensory sand, 10 plastic tools, and a handy storage tray. The tray doesn't have a lid, so I suggest finding one or using the box to corral everything. I'd recommend playing with this outside, but we've let the boys use it at the kitchen table and the mess wasn't too bad at all. With all the benefits of playing with sand, it was worth it!
The great thing about this kit is it can be made as simple or intricate as your child wants it to be. It comes with instructions for various levels of difficulty, but there's plenty of room for creativity! As a parent, it's been really fun to see the different contraptions the boys make together and individually. The same pieces can look drastically different, depending on who is doing the constructing! At 2, our daughter isn't quite ready to build her own chain reaction, but she loves watching her brothers work.
Truth Or Myth? Science Kit
Full disclosure: What you see below isn't everything included in the kit; the kids were so excited to start doing experiments that they tore open the box before I could snap a pic! This is what happens when you create an environment that encourages learning (and my husband and I couldn't be happier)!
Thankfully, I was able to capture one of their favorite experiments on camera! I chose the Egg Drop because it's fun, simple to do, and practically mess-free; if you're nervous about conducting experiments, this is a great one to try first!
By using the parachute and egg holder, the boys hypothesized that the egg would not break after being thrown up in the air and landing on the ground. To test the theory, each boy had the opportunity to give the egg a healthy toss.
You know what? The boys were right! It took five or six healthy throws for the egg to crack just a little. During the experiment we were able to discuss gravity, the effects of wind, the possibility of dropping the egg from a higher height, and more! FYI, the kit comes with a booklet of experiment ideas, instructions, and explanations to help. As a recovering science-phobe, that definitely made me feel more comfortable talking with the kids about what we learned!
I can't tell you how much fun my husband and I have been having with the kids and these kits! When we come home from work, the boys can't wait to tell us what they learned that day; seeing the joy and excitement on their faces has been an absolute blessing. Thanks again to Lakeshore Learning for making our summer fun and educational—we're beyond grateful!
For more of our boys' reactions to their shiny new toys, watch this quick 5-minute video! Instead of giving them all the toys at once, my husband and I decided to spread 'em out over the course of several days. I swear the boys thought Christmas had come early!